During the Week of October 2, 2017, the Center for STEM Education played host to 25 educators from Argentina. The group, part of the Argentina Educators Training Program (AETP), spent a week on The University of Texas at Austin campus taking part in professional development seminars. The AETP is part of a grant from the Argentina Ministry of Education, the American Councils for International Education, and the Argentina Fulbright Commission to the UT International Office and the Center for STEM Education. During the visit, Assistant Director Dr. Todd Hutner acted as liaison and coordinated professional development activities.
The professional development seminars, led by Dr. Hutner, focused on Project-Based Instruction (PBI). PBI is an instructional approach to integrating multiple subjects into one unit. PBI activities begin with the demonstration of a lesson, followed by participants developing their own units based on the original lesson. Throughout the week the introduction of additional techniques expanded on the initial lessons for creating effective PBI units and focused on ways to improve students’ learning via the PBI approach.
Along with hands-on professional development, representatives of the College of Education, Round Rock ISD, and Austin ISD engaged AETP participants during talks on a variety of topics. Dr. Elizabeth Swanson from the Meadows Center, spoke on effective approaches for working with students with special needs and Ashley Murphy, a graduate student in the STEM Education program, discussed ways to make student thinking visible. David Osman, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation at Round Rock ISD, spoke about using data to make instructional decisions and Nicholas Dellas, from Austin ISD, shared how technology can be used to enhance student learning.
The week long professional development is part of a broader cultural and educational experience for educators from Argentina, who will be in Austin for three weeks. During the remainder of the program, the educators will shadow counterparts in bilingual education in Austin ISD schools and participate in cultural excursions throughout Austin. The AETP participants selected to take part this program, including 13 school principals and 12 classroom teachers, were drawn from across Argentina.
The Center for STEM Education would like to thank our colleagues in the UT International Office, including Dr. Teri Albrecht, Angela Branigan, Adnana Mulalic Vikalo, Zach Simon, and Joshua Monthai, for helping make the AETP week at UT a positive experience for our Argentinian guests.