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K-State Today

February 22, 2024

Rural Education Center publishes research article on its STEM project in national journal

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Dillon Simmons, research coordinator and in-house STEM expert for the Rural Education Center at Kansas State University's College of Education, is the lead author of an article recently published in a national journal on teacher education and technology. 

"Exploring Teachers' Perceived Needs for Quality STEM Learning Experiences" has been published in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. Co-authors are J. Spencer Clark, professor and director of the Rural Education Center; Lori Goodson, assistant professor and assistant director of the center; and Nooshin Darvishinia and Marzieh Ebrahimi, graduate students with the center. 

The article is based on teacher experiences through the Rural Education Center's Project LEAPES — an acronym for Learning, Exploration and Application for Prospective Engineering Students — a $2.7 million project funded by the National Defense Education Program. LEAPES, its final summer of the three-year grant, focuses on providing STEM technologies for rural schools, as well as professional development training, to help the schools provide a hybrid three-week camp for middle schoolers. 

In its first summer, the camp hosted more than 300 students in 33 schools in 27 school districts across Kansas. Approximately 40 teachers received professional development through the project. 

"We're excited to have this article provide research into the findings of our Project LEAPES grant," Clark said. "We believe the grant has provided opportunities for rural educators and students throughout Kansas, which addresses one of the key goals of the Rural Education Center."

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