Educational Studies Unit Receives National Grant Award

Published on
March 25, 2019
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The Union College Educational Studies Unit (ESU) has been notified that it has been awarded an AT&T Foundation Aspire Grant to support computer coding training for current and aspiring teachers as a means to integrate workforce training skills across content areas for P-12 school students. The grant will fund technology resources that the ESU will utilize to train educators on the Everyone Can Code curriculum provided by Apple Technologies. The curriculum introduces students to the basic elements of coding, at levels appropriate for P-16 students. The ESU will also work with area school districts to provide training with groups of middle and secondary students with education students collaborating with current educators as instructors during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Dr. Jason Reeves, Professor of Education and Dean of the ESU, who wrote the grant, says that it will help make broad connections between workforce readiness needs and P-12 learning achievement. “The ESU has spent the last couple of years enhancing the ability of our education programs to focus on the needs of a global workforce. We have viewed this work from the perspectives of employers, educators, communities, and of course students. The AT&T Foundation Aspire Grant and the Everyone Can Code curriculum allows us to address these needs through a technology-based approach”.

The AT&T Foundation Aspire Grant is the latest effort of the ESU to address career and college readiness needs for Kentucky P-16 students. In September, the ESU launched the Union College STEAM Center (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics) in collaboration the Union College Weeks-Townsend Library. The Center, which provides all Union College students and local P-12 schools with access to STEAM learning and technology resources, is a grant-funded endeavor that continues to expand its offerings. “Providing new ways for Union College students and our P-12 students to learn and grow is a favorite part of my work,” said Dr. Reeves. “Seeing their excitement using a 3-D printer for a class project or using a Criminal Investigation Scene (CSI) kit to teach science and higher-order thinking skills keeps me excited and engaged as well. Our students keep us young, but most importantly, they keep us curious.”

A formal presentation of the award will be held at Union College before the end of the spring 2019 semester.