When one thinks professional development for science teachers, a robotics tour typically doesn’t come to mind.
However, that’s exactly what Coachella Valley Unified School District middle and high school teachers recently did.
Part of a California initiative known as Project Prototype designed to prepare local students for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, the teachers toured the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs to learn about medical robots and how advanced technology is used in the hospitals. They hoped to take away ideas for class projects and inspiration to encourage their students toward such careers.
“One thing we have to do is figure out how to get our kids excited about science, how to actually solve a problem, see how medical professions solve problems,” says Clinton Wyatt, a teacher at Raymond Cree Middle School, quoted in an article published recently in The Desert Sun.
Learning about medical robots is one of many ways teachers can help their students engage in science both in school and career. According to sixth-grade teacher Megan Fri, her job is not just teaching students about what’s available now but preparing them for health care in the future—a field of ever-changing devices with increasing digital and telemedicine involvement.
Project Prototype is a partnership among three school districts (Coachella Valley, Desert Sands, and Palm Springs Unified); California State University, San Bernardino; University of California Riverside’s Bourne School of Engineering; College of the Desert; and the K-12 Alliance project at WestEd.
The K-12 Alliance is celebrating its 23rd year of providing high-quality professional development in science and mathematics in California and on a national level. The project has impacted more than 6000 schools, 175,000 teachers, and millions of K-12 students.