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National Science Foundation: Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)

Deadline: September 5, 2017

ITEST is a program that promotes PreK-12 student interests and capacities to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. ITEST supports research on the design, development, implementation, and selective spread of innovative strategies for engaging students in experiences that:

  • Increase student awareness of STEM occupations
  • Motivate students to pursue appropriate education pathways to STEM occupations
  • Develop disciplinary-based knowledge and practices, or promote critical thinking, reasoning skills, or communication skills needed for entering STEM workforce sectors

ITEST projects may adopt an interdisciplinary focus that includes multiple STEM disciplines, focus on a single discipline, or focus on one or more sub-disciplines. ITEST supports projects that provide evidence for factors, instructional designs, and practices in formal and informal learning environments that broaden participation of students from underrepresented groups in STEM fields and related education and workforce domains. Projects that actively engage business and industry partners to better ensure that PreK-12 experiences foster the knowledge and skill-sets needed for emerging STEM occupations are strongly encouraged.

ITEST supports three types of research and development projects:

  • Exploratory projects that advance theory or examine associations among malleable factors that influence learning, moderating conditions, and educational outcomes.
  • Strategies projects that address the initial design, development, and implementation of innovative, technology-related interventions.
  • SPrEaD (Successful Project Expansion and Dissemination) projects that support the further examination and broader implementation of interventions that have demonstrated evidence of impact. SPrEaD projects may build on efforts previously initiated through a Strategies project, or prior work supported through other means.

All ITEST projects are expected to: 1) be informed by relevant research (such as that on innovative pedagogical approaches, career education, in-school and out-of-school learning environments); and 2) contribute to the research knowledge base on strategies for improving awareness of, interests in, and capacities to participate in STEM occupations or education pathways leading to those occupations. ITEST projects are expected to be grounded in professional literature relating to career and technical education and technological literacy, in addition to the literature focusing on STEM education research and curriculum standards. ITEST projects are expected to generate data and provide evidence that furthers and deepens understandings of factors, designs, and practices that encourage and motivate students to pursue and persist in education programs or pathways that prepare them for STEM occupations. ITEST projects must involve students and may focus on investigating: a) conceptual, epistemic, or social learning outcomes; b) the development of technological or computational practices; or c) learning environment conditions that enhance learner motivations, mindsets, identity, and interest in STEM learning and occupations. Within the focal contexts, ITEST projects are encouraged to examine the roles and influence of teachers, other education professionals, mentors, and caregivers working with students.

Amount: Approximately $10,000,000-$20,000,000 is available to make 9-18 awards, as follows:

  • Exploratory awards: Approximately 2-4 awards with durations up to two years and total budgets up to $400,000 each
  • Strategies awards: Approximately 6-12 awards with durations up to three years and total budgets up to $1,200,000 each
  • SPrEaD awards: Approximately 1-2 awards with durations of three to five years and total budgets up to $2,000,000 each

Eligibility: Universities and colleges; nonprofit and nonacademic organizations; for-profit organizations; state and local governments; and unaffiliated individuals with the resources necessary to carry out the project.

Link: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17565/nsf17565.htm

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