TSA is the only student organization dedicated to meeting the needs of Technology Teachers and students. Currently, more than 45 New Jersey schools and 6,500 students participate in activities designed to develop leadership skills and technological literacy. To view the NJ TSA website, click here.
Building Computer Science Education Capacity in NJ
Funded by The Martinson Family Foundation and based at the College of New Jersey, this three-year project aims to increase the number of educators teaching computer science in the state of New Jersey by offering free professional development.
While the demand for computer science jobs remains high, the number of students graduating with a degree in CS is exceptionally low. In 2014, only 891 students graduated with a CS degree in New Jersey, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Of the 422 high schools in the state, only 170 offered the AP Computer Science course in 2014-2015. Currently, the New Jersey legislature is considering Bill No. 2873, which would require each public high school in New Jersey to offer a computer science course by the 2018-2019 school year. The new AP Computer Science Principles course and exam is being launched in the 2016-2017 school year. Additionally, both the Next Generation Science Standards (Practice 5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking) and New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standard 8.2, Strand E (Computational Thinking) require teachers to incorporate computational thinking into their curricula.
Engineering by Design™ is a non-profit, standards-based, comprehensive, national curriculum model for STEM education. Developed by ITEEA’s STEM Center for Teaching & Learning, EbD™ was developed using research on factors that underlie effective teaching and learning of STEM disciplines. EbD™ is correlated to the Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEA), the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM), and Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS).
Other national STEM curriculum models, such as Project Lead the Way, can be restrictive regarding what students can take their courses; only the top science and math students are eligible. EbD™ provides opportunities for students of all ability levels to increase achievement in STEM areas, regardless of gender or ethnic origin. Moreover, one of EbD™’s greatest advantages is its cost effectiveness. For what a single school would pay to purchase Project Lead the Way curriculum, every middle and high school in NJ can have access to any EbD™ course, resource, assessment and training.
The activities within the EbD™ curriculum are flexible and can be adapted to any lab or classroom, from modest to elaborate, and using any range of materials, from inexpensive or recycled to sophisticated and new. EbD™ activities can be aligned to pre-existing curricular themes within a STEM program or academy. Teachers even have the option of substituting their own activities within EbD™ units, as long as those teacher-developed activities meet the same benchmarks as the EbD™ activities.
There are currently 22 states that have joined the EbD™ Consortium, offering its curriculum and resources for free to every school in their state. Coincidentally, most of the Consortium States happen to have the highest membership for the Technology Student Association (TSA). NJ is currently eighth in the nation for TSA membership. The top seven TSA states are currently part of the EbD™ Consortium. Additionally, EbD™ is currently exploring a partnership with National TSA to develop companion curricular materials to the National TSA Competitive Events Guide. Implementation of EbD™ in a school could potentially help facilitate increased TSA membership.
All EbD™ curricular materials, resources and assessments are available on a unique, web-based, professional learning community where teachers all over the country collaborate, share resources, post student work samples and dedicate themselves to improving their instruction.
Future Engineers Summer Camp, Funded by PSE&G
The proposed Future Engineers of Trenton Summer Camp makes STEM areas interesting and dynamic to students by engaging them in real-world, problem solving activities that nurture their curiosity and innovation, increasing both their achievement and engagement in STEM subject matter.
While “STEM” is often thought of as any of its four constituent subjects (S, T, E or M), “integrative-STEM,” is an extremely powerful method of connecting all four disciplines cohesively into powerful, real-life lessons and activities. The technology and engineering components of STEM play a vital role in integrating all four content areas through active, open-ended, design-based learning experiences. Such experiences lead to a deeper learning about STEM (and non-STEM) subjects while also exciting students due to the realities or “contexts” inherent in the activities. Integrative-STEM activities are central to the missions of both The College of New Jersey’s (TCNJ) Center for Excellence in STEM Education and the Department of Technological Studies, both housed in TCNJ’s School of Engineering.