Educators from several states expanded their electronic horizons this summer in three ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology sessions. The 2015 ARRL Education & Technology Program (ETP) offered two introductory (TI-1) and one advanced (TI-2) Teachers Institute sessions this summer.
“I am the only teacher in my building who teaches Ohm’s Law and basic electricity, along with breadboard circuits, because of what I learned at the first TI,” one advanced student commented afterward. “From this TI, I feel like I have ‘upped’ my game.”
The expenses-paid Teachers Institute sessions offer educators a professional development opportunity that equips them with training and resources to explore a variety of applications in radio science and wireless technology and — in the advanced seminar — remote sensing and data-gathering techniques.
A 4-day introductory (TI-1) session in June at Parallax in Rocklin, California, kicked off the series. An additional introductory courses was held in July at ARRL Headquarters. A 5-day advanced (TI-2) seminar, “Remote Sensing and Data Gathering,” took place in late July at ARRL Headquarters. The advanced course is only open to those who have already completed the introductory program; an Amateur Radio license is a prerequisite.
At the California TI-1 class, instructor Tommy Gober, N5DUX, plunged into some hands-on radio activities, which included working a couple of stations via SaudiSat 1-C (SO-50) and capturing part of a NOAA weather satellite pass. Groups of class participants in both sessions also faced off in a hidden-transmitter hunt — a fox hunt.
The TI-1 students also learned computer programming to control Boe-Bot® robots on wheels that they then run through a maze to check their coding skill.
In the TI-2 class, expanded to 5 days to cover applications for downloading and using satellite telemetry as well as electronic sensors and their deployment in a marine buoy. Participants also used a MAREA (Mars Lander Amateur Radio Robotics Exploration Activity) transceiver to outfit their Boe-Bots for packet control. The robot activity simulates how NASA scientists use radio signals to control the Mars rovers. TI Instructor Matt Severin, N8MS, demonstrated techniques to use satellite data in the classroom by downloading telemetry from the FUNCube-1 (AO-73) educational spacecraft. TI-2 participants also were exposed to digital concepts, such as analog-to-digital conversion.
Among the 22 attending the two TI-1 courses, 11 had Amateur Radio licenses, while nine others indicated they intended to get their tickets. Ten radio amateurs participated in the TI-2 class.
“We are all teachers and deal with a lack of time, money, and authorization issues, but we do have the ability to integrate ideas that can profoundly change the way students understand data and technology,” TI Instructor Bill Richardson, N5VEI, remarked.
ARRL Teachers Institute is open to grade 4-12 teachers as well as to post-secondary educators. “We look for teachers who have a vision of how to apply this wireless technology training to support STEM learning in their classrooms,” said ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ.