Glenisson de Oliveira
Images above: February 27th, 2014 the RITES team attended an Advanced STEM Education session held at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Mass. The STEM Education training session included two workshops on topics in STEM and STEAM.
Dr. Glenisson de Oliveira
Rhode Island Technology Enhanced Science (RITES) has been changing the way teachers teach, students learn, technology aids, and professionals connect for the last 5 years. According to Dr. Glenisson de Oliveira, professor in the Physical Sciences Department and Principal Investigator, RITES, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has helped to revamp science and math education in RI.
RITES professional development focuses on promoting hands-on and inquiry-based approaches in the classroom. The goal is to help students develop problem solving skills and data analysis rather than learning content alone. This tactic contributed to a rise in students’ scores on the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, in the inquiry section of the test. Currently, Dr. de Oliveira is working on wrap-up analysis, attempting to pin-point what was most successful about RITES.
“Finding the most successful aspects of RITES could help increase the overall success for students and make the adoption and continuation of a program like this easier,” said de Oliveira.
Technology developed specifically for the RITES program is incorporated through a web portal utilized in the classroom. The portal tracks students’ progress throughout a lesson and allows teachers to access this information. Through the portal, teachers and students utilize investigations which are designed to meet needs within the three disciplines of the Rhode Island Grade Span Expectations (GSEs).
The RITES partnership reached more than two-thirds of Rhode Island’s science teachers, representing 27 out of 36 school districts in RI. The partnership, led by RIC and URI, allowed classroom teachers to work directly with higher education professors. To help encourage a continuing dialogue, Dr. de Oliveira organized small group sessions for teachers to discuss their experiences, applying lessons learned through RITES. Dr. de Oliveira is committed to continuing information sharing and professional support after the RITES program ends.
NSF funding of RITES will end this year, after 5 years of programming. According to Dr. de Oliveira, the road has not always been easy but it has been rewarding. He is proud of RITE’S many accomplishments.
“What was most fulfilling was the opportunity to meet people from all over RI and see how many are doing inspirational things with science education,” said de Oliveira.