Exploring NGSS in informal environments: Exceeded expectations!
In 1984, Rutgers University established the Center for Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education to systematically contribute to the improvement of mathematics, science, and computer education programs in New Jersey schools and in schools throughout the nation.
The Center fosters collaboration among educators and business leaders, practitioners and researchers to enhance the learning and teaching of mathematics and science, and to demonstrate how technology can contribute to these goals. Rutgers University, other colleges and universities, industry, and local school systems join together as partners in a mutually beneficial relationship. Each partner makes an important contribution and each reaps significant benefits from the collaborative relationship. School systems support their teachers' efforts throughout the academic year. Companies encourage their scientists to contribute technical expertise to Center-sponsored activities. The University contributes faculty expertise to the Center. In return, school districts gain well-trained highly motivated practitioners and become models to other districts. Corporations and their participating scientists gain visibility, recognition, and good will for their contributions to their communities. The University, in turn, fulfills its public outreach and research mission. Over the past fourteen years, teachers and students from every legislative district in New Jersey and from two-thirds of all NJ school districts have benefited from participation in Center-sponsored projects. The leadership cadre spawned by these programs is improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, science, and technology statewide and even nationally.
The Center culls ideas from the best research, thinking and practice and infuses these practices with technology and evaluates their impact in our partner schools' classrooms. Center institutes and programs use strong mathematical and scientific content and offer powerful learning strategies. Mathematics programs present strategies and problem solving approaches to improve student mathematics learning. Science programs stress hands-on activities and the importance of developing processes of scientific reasoning. Technology programs give teachers the tools to bring their students into the 21st century. All Center programs incorporate an inquiry-based approach to learning, emphasizing problem solving and guiding students toward higher levels of thinking -- the skills our business partners are demanding.