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Booklet helps guide STEM instructors in new UGA center

  |   Kristen B. Morales   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   Research,   Students and Faculty

When faculty begin using the classrooms and labs in the University of Georgia's new Science Learning Center next fall, they will have a handy booklet to help them in designing their STEM-related courses.

The booklet, "Creating Active Learning Environments in Undergraduate STEM Courses," was written by several College of Education mathematics and science education graduate students, and faculty from the College of Education and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The authors wanted to create something that will go along with the modern facility now under construction on Carlton Street.

The authors are Julie Luft, Athletic Association Professor of Science and Mathematics Education, and graduate students Robert Idsardi and David Myers in the College of Education's Department of Mathematics and Science Education, along with fellow faculty members Mustafa Erol (now with Bozok University) and Paula Lemons, an associate professor in UGA's department of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Along with a general overview of STEM-related learning, the booklet suggests a variety of ways to teach these subjects. The term "active learning" refers to methods of teaching that promote time for student thinking and working during class, and the booklet gives instructions ideas for how this may be done.

For example, in a traditional classroom, students receive information from the teacher and there is little opportunity to contemplate or examine the information. But the new booklet offers ideas about how to create lessons that embrace the opportunity for students to reflect and respond to questions, and receive feedback. The booklet also uses charts and diagrams to show examples of active learning, techniques teachers can use and real-life examples.

The booklet was produced in partnership with the Athletic Association Professorship in the College of Education's mathematics and science education department, the Center for Teaching and Learning and UGA's emerging SEER Group (Scientists Engaged in Educational Research). It will be available to all faculty and instructors who want to engage in active learning instruction, and who plan to use the new Science Learning Center, a $44.7 million building that houses 33 labs, two 280-seat lecture halls and two 72-seat classrooms built to specifically support an active learning model.

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