CSU Dominguez Hills, CAMS High School Awarded HP Catalyst Initiative Grant

A proposal submitted by California State University, Dominguez Hills in collaboration with the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS), a magnet high school located on the university campus, was one of only 30 from 11 countries to be approved to participate in HP’s Catalyst Initiative, a global social innovation program designed to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education worldwide.

As an HP Catalyst Initiative recipient, CSU Dominguez Hills and CAMS will become a member of the HP Catalyst Initiative’s Pedagogy 3.0 Consortium, which includes institutions from a number of countries working toward a similar goal of creating new models of teacher preparation that will better equip teachers to facilitate 21 century learning experiences for students. The others in the consortium include Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, Germany; Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya; Learning Games Network in Cambridge Mass.; the University of Exeter in Exeter, United Kingdom; and the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education in Bristol, United Kingdom.

With the grant, the School of Education at CSU Dominguez Hills and CAMS will develop the Virtual Exchange Program: Connecting, Collaborating and Constructing STEM+ Learning to address the persistent challenge of helping students connect the dots between what they’re learning in STEM classes with other disciplines, as well as between school and their lives. The program will accomplish this through training of aspiring and current teachers to become interdisciplinary leaders, thereby influencing systemic change in the overall learning environment in their schools and districts. The CSU Dominguez Hills-CAMS team of professors and teachers will also be collaborating with schools in India on this project to promote bidirectional learning that enriches the teaching experience in both countries.

Using the technologically advanced equipment supplied by HP through the Catalyst Initiative, the program will mobilize educational professionals across disciplines and countries to develop a way of teaching that is multicultural, inherently interdisciplinary and that encourages students to be both creative and analytical. A yearly series of six professional development sessions will take place over the two-year project period, which will be videoed and archived on the Internet and provide an online community and resource center for collaboration between CSUDH, CAMS and schools in India. The HP grant has provided CSUDH/CAMS project staff with Elite Tablet PCs, mobile workstations, mini-notebooks for CAMS students, a server, a virtual room for webinars, and staff development funding.

“We’re excited about the impact this initiative and network of consortia will have in the long term,” said Dr. Janice Filer, CAMS principal. “It’s fundamental that we get funding from companies like HP to be able to empower students to collaborate globally and deliver the kinds of projects that provide K-12/postsecondary alignment opportunities that will shape the way education and ultimately society evolves.”

For more information about the Virtual Exchange Program, contact Principal Filer at (310) 243-2025 or Dr. Leena Furtado, associate professor of graduate education, CSUDH, at (310) 243-2743

As part of the Catalyst Initiative program, HP is donating $6 million to 35 educational institutions, including CSU Dominguez Hills and CAMS, across five consortia that will use the award to explore innovations in STEM+ learning and teaching. This builds on the Obama Administration’s “Educate to Innovate” coalition designed to improve national outcomes in STEM subject matters.

Program Details:

— The HP Catalyst Initiative creates five global consortia in 2010, each focusing on a specific innovation theme for transforming STEM education. The five themes span: approaches to teacher preparation, online education, using technology to measure learning outcomes, and engaging students in global, collaborative learning experiences.

— Member organizations were selected through an open and competitive global call for proposals. Eligibility was based on two principal criteria: status as an accredited educational institution (that is, schools, colleges, universities, as well as nonprofit or nongovernmental educational organizations) and country of location. Eligible countries for 2010 included Brazil, China, Eqypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.