As the Arizona sunshine cast it rays on the participants of the SEMI High Tech U Teacher Academy on this particular Saturday in February, teachers from across the Valley used small photovoltaic panels to light LED and incandescent light bulbs.
Their goal was not just to harness the sun’s energy to power the tiny light bulbs, but to learn how to teach their students about emerging technologies like solar energy in new, exciting, interactive ways.
Highland High School teacher Katie Muha learned quite a bit about solar energy, but she also got a glimpse of what employers, like SRP, are looking for in employees – something she plans to share with her students.
“I learned a lot about the soft skills employers are looking for and all the different types of jobs they have here,” said Muha who teaches honor pre-calculus, math topic 5-6 and financial applications.
Teachers from across the Valley gathered together for two days to learn more about how to incorporate high tech instruction into their classrooms at the SEMI High Tech U Teacher Academy, sponsored by Salt River Project and produced by Maricopa Community Colleges.
The middle and high school teachers met at the PERA Club in Tempe to learn new, fun and exciting ways to incorporate high-tech, industry-relevant activities in the teaching process while maintaining the commitment to state required curriculum and standards.
During the two-day academy, the teachers were introduced to curricula, lesson plans and hands-on experiments to take back to their classroom relating to nanotechnology, solar, engineering and other high-tech industries.
Despite the economic downturn, companies like Intel and First Solar have chosen Arizona as the place to expand their manufacturing plants. The goal of SRP, Maricopa Community Colleges and the SEMI Foundation is to help ensure that teachers will have the ability to prepare young women and men to enter the high-tech workforce.
High Tech U was created by San Jose, Calif.-based SEMI as a way of getting more students interested in science, math and high-tech careers. After sponsoring nine student workshops reaching more than 300 Valley students, SRP has expanded the program to impact teachers who will, in turn, reach hundreds of more students in their classrooms.
The SEMI High Tech U Teacher Academy is an official event of the Arizona SciTech Festival.
East Valley Schools that participated in the event: Apache Junction High School, Hamilton High School (Chandler), Highland High School (Gilbert), Perry High School (Gilbert), Skyline High School (Mesa). Schools from around the state include AAEC Estrella Mountain College Prep (Avondale) and Westview High School (Avondale) Verrado High School (Buckeye), Raymond Kellis High School (Glendale), Horizon Elementary (Glendale) Betty H. Fairfax High School (Laveen), Payson High School, Centennial High School (Peoria), Carl Hayden High School (Phoenix), Metropolitan Arts Institute (Phoenix), Saguaro High School (Scottsdale), Coronado High School (Scottsdale), Willow Canyon High School (Surprise).
Patty Garcia-Likens is a media relations representative for Salt River Project.