The Active Learning Academy
To better coordinate our efforts to provide STEM professional development and foster professional learning communities around active learning, STEM for Success is launching the Active Learning Academy.
The Conference Board on Mathematical Sciences (2016) defines Active Learning as classroom practices that engage students in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving, that promote higher-order thinking.
With this wide definition, there are many techniques that can be employed to encourage students to engage with the mathematics being discussed: teaching/learning techniques include but are not limited to think-pair-share, Inquiry Based Learning, Project Based Learning, flipped classrooms, classroom response systems, math emporium, and Modeling or Computer labs.
Assistant Director for Professional Development
What is Active Learning?
The Active Learning Academy was inspired by Ken Horwitz’s work in the ongoing NJIT/Newark Math Success Initiative. In 2019, NJIT, the City of Newark and the Newark Board of Education partnered to create the NJIT/Newark Math Success Initiative (MSI) to promote effective teaching and learning for a group of Newark’s rising high school seniors. The program included an intensive seven-week professional development experience for Newark math teachers in which teachers were embedded in MSI math classes held at NJIT and created Active Learning modules.
STEM for Success was inspired to develop and launch the Active Learning Academy by the MSI teachers' feedback, their gains in self-efficacy with Active Learning, and their desire to continue deepening their knowledge and practice.
Presentation at Joint Mathematics Meetings 2020 Denver, CO
Abstract: In this presentation, we discuss an innovative year-long project that combines extensive professional development for teachers and inquiry-based math instruction and skills for success in life for rising high school seniors from an urban district in a college setting.
This partnership brings together the leadership of the City of Newark, NJ, (Mayor's Office) the Newark Board of Education (Superintendent's Office) and New Jersey Institute of Technology (Office of the President) for the purpose of changing the paradigm from less to more underrepresented minorities pursuing STEM degrees. The gateway to success in STEM majors is a student's readiness for Calculus 1. Thus, the project works to build the skills of the students through an inquiry-based math enrichment program over the summer and a Precalculus or Calculus course on the university campus during the academic year.