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Icon for: Dave Miller


University of Rochester, K-12 Digital Consortium

Developing STEM Master Teachers to Lead Digital Conversion in K-12 Schools

NSF Awards: 1758243

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Adult learners

Click here for full project description.

Changing STEM teaching in K-12 schools has proven to be very challenging, even when it involves practices or curricula proven more conducive to student learning.  How can we leverage the potential of K12-university partnerships, especially when combined with the power of disruptive technologies, to foster more transformative and lasting instructional innovations? 

This question motivated our Developing STEM Master Teachers to Lead Digital Conversion in K-12 Schools project, designed to prepare a cadre of “digitally-rich master teachers” to be catalysts for STEM instructional innovations as part of NSF’s Noyce program.  To maximize their future impact on systemic reform, participants are teachers from six high-need districts within the K-12 Digital Consortium - a partnership between the Center for Learning in the Digital Age at the University of Rochester, local BOCES, and school districts committed to improving student learning by leveraging technology. 

We chose to focus our video on highlighting the synergy between the Consortium and our Noyce project.  As shared by various project participants, the Consortium has been instrumental to recruit excellent candidates for the role of “digitally-rich master teacher,” and will provide unique opportunities for dissemination as well as institutional support as these master-teachers-in-training begin to implement what they are learning.  Lessons learned from the Noyce MTF project, in turn, will benefit all districts in the Consortium.  We hope our experience will spark additional sharing and discussion about what it takes to foster effective K12-university partnerships that can support transformational innovations in STEM education.


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Discussion from the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase (12 posts)
  • Icon for: Dave Miller

    Dave Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2019 | 05:37 p.m.

    Our video features our experience with a very special K12-university partnership that has proven instrumental to implement systemic change – but the video just touches the surface about what we experienced and learned. 

    We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have about this partnership – or any other aspects of our Noyce MTF project.

    We are also eager to hear about YOUR thoughts as well as experiences with K12-university partnerships, especially as they relate to the following questions:     

    • What have you experienced as some of the concrete benefits of K12-university partnerships toward fostering innovation?
    • What challenges have you encountered when engaging in K12-university partnerships? How did you address these challenges?
    • What lessons learned can you share about what it takes to create effective K12-university partnerships?
    • What lessons learned can you share about what it takes to sustain and leverage effective K12-university partnerships?

    Thanks! And looking forward to your thoughts and forthcoming conversation!

  • Icon for: Molly Stuhlsatz

    Molly Stuhlsatz

    Research Scientist
    May 13, 2019 | 03:17 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project!  I’d be interested to hear more about the long-term goals of the consortium. Do you have research or evaluation questions that will provide evidence of the impact of your work?

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    May 13, 2019 | 06:57 p.m.

    This entry is in response to Molly's question. As a member of the founding team of the K-12 Digital Consortium, I'd like to address your question.

    Since our Consortium is a grass-root effort supported by no grant or external funding, we did not have the requirement nor the resources to conduct a formal evaluation.  I'd be very interested in learning more about your experience on this regard, as I strongly believe in the value that an evaluation can add to a project, yet in the past I found it very difficult to find funding to conduct them.

    That said, we are very interested in and committed to measuring the extent to which we are able to fulfill our mission of “Supporting Western New York K-12 schools  in leveraging digital technologies to enhance student learning and better prepare tomorrow’s workforce”, and also the extent to which we are able to put into practice our core strategies, identified as:

    • Promote the sharing of information and lessons learned across districts
    • Provide information about professional learning opportunities and other support services
    • Facilitate access to valuable resources
    • Create networking opportunities to promote collaborations
    • Act as a catalyst to attract funding to support regional efforts
    • Support districts interested in getting started

    In addition to traditional measure such as number of district members, attendance to Consortium events, funding we help secure, we are also interested in leveraging data about the Consortium website’s use.  We are currently in the process of building some sections of this website as a vehicle to virtually share lessons learned and information about valuable resources (the “Sharing” and “Resources” sections that are currently just sketched at http://k12digital.org/), so it will be especially interesting to see who contributes to these sections and how they are used.

    Please share any additional idea and past experiences you may have about measuring the success of K12-university partnerships – we want to learn from you!        

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Molly Stuhlsatz
  • Icon for: Molly Phillips

    Molly Phillips

    iDigBio Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator
    May 14, 2019 | 08:57 a.m.

    I love the idea of building a Consortium around incorporating technology in the classroom. K-12 STEM teachers is big audience with very diverse needs. What were all the grades and subjects taught by the participants in the Consortium? Did you find your program attracted or served a certain subset of K-12 teachers best? Thanks so much for sharing your program.

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    May 14, 2019 | 11:44 a.m.

    Thank you for your interest in our program, Molly.  Your post gives us the opportunity to clarify some important distinctions between our NSF-funded Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship (MTF) project, on the one hand, and the K-12 Digital Consortium, on the other hand – as they were both featured in our video and that may have caused some confusion.

    Our Developing STEM Master Teachers to Lead Digital Conversion in K-12 Schools MTF project involves 22 teachers across grades and STEM subjects.  Since we are preparing “teacher leaders” to support all their STEM colleagues with integrating technology in their teaching, it was important for us to work with a mixed group representing a similar variety of specializations.  Based on our experience in two previous Noyce MTF projects that also prepared a mixed group of K-12 STEM teachers (one of which is featured in this Video Showcase – see ), we know that not only is it possible to work with such a diverse group, but that diversity also adds a lot of value to what participants can learn from each other.  There are certain things we looked for in our recruiting – but they had to do more with the applicants’ experience and willingness to engage in instructional innovation, than their area of specialization.

    While the Noyce MTF project works with a specific group of teachers, the Consortium is an organization (rather than a specific program) intended to serve entire school districts. Therefore, the Consortium is ultimately intended to impact any teacher within those districts.

  • Icon for: Daniel Capps

    Daniel Capps

    Associate Professor
    May 14, 2019 | 12:12 p.m.

    What are some of the specific things the consortium is doing with supporting teachers in using technology in their classroom? Can you provide some examples?

  • Icon for: Dave Miller

    Dave Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 14, 2019 | 05:41 p.m.

    Hi Daniel, and thanks for the question. We do workshops for K-12 teachers and administrators to support the great work that they're doing in digitally-rich teaching and we've also developed a program for teachers to develop expertise in the realm of digitally-rich teaching and learning through our Advanced Graduate Certificate program. - Dave


  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    May 14, 2019 | 06:12 p.m.

    I'd also like to add a few other examples, which have more to do with acting as a catalyst and "connector" - so as to promote and facilitate districts' sharing of information and lessons learned.  This takes place in part in networking events, but we are also trying to leverage technology by creating sections of the Consortium's website (http://k12digital.org/) where stories and resources can be posted; this is still a work in progress, but I think it has great potential - especially for rural schools that have difficult attending face-to-face events. 


  • Icon for: Courtney Arthur

    Courtney Arthur

    Senior Curriculum and Instruction Designer
    May 14, 2019 | 02:02 p.m.

     Can you share some of the challenges you encountered in using technology in the classroom and possibly some 'lessons learned'?

  • Icon for: Dave Miller

    Dave Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 14, 2019 | 05:46 p.m.

    Thanks Courtney - challenges can be as basic as the volume of choices to heavier lifts such as tackling the learning curve and weaving into instruction in ways that are meaningful and productive for students. At the district level it can be about building a sustainable budget structure, identifying the key products, and gathering buy-in and support from teachers and numerous district stakeholders. From a partnership perspective, the challenge is finding common time to have on-going dialog - which is one of the cornerstones of having a collaborative & constructive partnership and also one of the great joys of developing K12-higher ed partnerships. - Dave 

  • Icon for: Kristana Textor

    Kristana Textor

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2019 | 03:39 p.m.

    Hi Dave and Raffaella-

    Cool project! It sounds like there are a lot of people involved. How do you keep track of the logisitics of everyone on a project this size? I'm thinking it must be tricky to schedule meetings - do you use any software (like Slack or Google docs) or admin help to stay organized?

    You mention support from the University of Rochester in the form of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age. Can you tell us more about this relationship? What kinds of things is that center involved in, and how does it help you do your work with the K12 Digital Consortium?


  • Icon for: Dave Miller

    Dave Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 14, 2019 | 05:55 p.m.

    Thanks Kristana!  Warner has such wonderful people and great centers, and the collaboration between the Center for Professional Development and the Center for Learning in the Digital Age is tremendously formative.  Shout out to Lauren Warner and Cindy Callard, as they do an amazing job guiding the project and managing the logistics and bringing the entire administrative team together on a regular basis to discuss the challenges, issues, next steps, as well as the on-going programming for the master teaching fellows. I know we leverage google docs, Box, and email. Haven't seen a need yet for Slack (although I have used that in other grant projects, and it's an interesting product).

    The Center for Learning in the Digital Age is relatively new at Warner - in fact, the website will be going live some time this week, and we have a steering committee of 4 people and a growing community of active participants who have tremendous knowledge and experience that they're so very willing to share in support of the work we're doing in K12 schools, through the consortium. We also have a focus area that's more specific to Higher Ed and another focus area that is specific to the research in digital teaching & learning. All of these meld well for supporting collaborative partnerships with the numerous schools that comprise the K12 Digital Consortium. - Dave

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.