Advanced Technological Education ·

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Monday of each month, the ATE Central Connection is meant to disseminate information to and about ATE centers and projects, providing you with up-to-date ATE news, events, reminders, as well as highlighting new centers, projects, and resources. In addition, we will also highlight an educational topic with complementary resources found within ATE Central to help illustrate how ATE resources can be used in the classroom.

We want the ATE Central Connection to be a valuable tool; please e-mail with any suggestions about how to make the ATE Central Connection more useful for you or to suggest any information you would like to see in an upcoming issue.

Upcoming Events

ASTE 2013 International Conference Charleston, SC
VMware vSphere: Install, Configure & Manage Palos Hills, IL
EvaluATE Webinar: Developing Questions for Effective Surveys Online
Private POGIL Workshop at Gallaudet University Washington, DC
1-Day Private POGIL Workshop for Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Chicago, IL
NACK Webinar - (Three Part Series) Trends in Nano: Technology Online
Florida Educational Technology Conference Orlando, FL
Digital Fab Lab Community (DFLC) - STEM Guitar Workshop Mesa, AZ
Integrated Geospatial Education and Technical Training - Remote Sensing Varies
NetWorks Webinar: Technology Program Review & Recommendations - Evaluating Programs Online
NetWorks Webinar: Technology Program Review & Recommendations - Surviving Program Review Online
NACK Webinar - Nanotechnology Demos and Simulations Online
2013 ACTE National Policy Seminar: Climbing the Hill Arlington, VA
OP-TEC Workshop on Optics and Photonics Education Orlando, FL
NetWorks Webinar: New Technologies in Renewable Energies Online
1-Day Introductory POGIL Workshop at Linfield College McMinnville, OR
Innovations 2013 Dallas, TX
VHDL and FPGAs: Beginner Course Hudson Valley, NY
EvaluATE Webinar: From Valuing to Visualization: Data Interpretation and Reporting Online
NACK Webinar - Trends in Nano: Program Development Online
WomenTech Educators Training Florence, SC

For more events, please visit the ATE Central Events page or, if you have any upcoming events that you would like posted on ATE Central or in the ATE Central Connection, please send them to

To add a continuously-updated list of ATE and STEM education events to your web site, use the ATE Event Widget.

Featured Resources in Ecology

From GeoSTAC:

Weeds and Fire

In this high-school level ecology lesson, students will locate some weed and native species found in Oregon. By the end, they will understand that while databases are beneficial in studying plant populations, local on-the-ground information is commonly more up-to-date and that both are required to make large scale management decisions. Students will learn that the invasion of weeds commonly follows on the heels of a disturbance (natural or otherwise) and will be introduced to some of the factors that affect the success of weeds in a particular ecosystem. Students will begin to relate the data to real-life situations, recognizing how they could be used to create management plans/strategies and/or alter existing management practices. This resource includes both a teaching guide and student worksheets.

From the Northwest Center for Sustainable Resources:

Illustrations of Interconnectedness in Ecosystems

This module introduces the idea of interconnectedness among ecosystem components and describes a number of scenarios that illustrate the concept. Interconnectedness is a fundamental ecological concept, a common theme in natural resource/environmental science programs and a foundational component of ecosystem-based management of natural resources. Two introductory activities require students to diagram ecosystem interconnections. Brief descriptions of 13 additional scenarios are provided, along with references to and descriptions of supporting video, print and web-based resources.

From the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center:

Anatomy of an Environmental Disaster: Exploring Pollution Events through Production of a Documentary

The Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) presents this interdisciplinary instructional material on pollution and environmental disasters. In the unit, students examine a pollution event, the history and background that caused the pollution, community regulations and impact, and the science involved. In analyzing all sides of a major pollution event, students will come to understand the causes, impact and full implications of such an occurrence.

A free registration and log in are required to download this unit. The material is available in PDF file format.

Social Media Tip of the Month

Using analytics to get the most out of your social media usage

Graph Using social media can be an effective way to enhance your project or center's outreach. However, measuring the effects of your social media usage can be tricky. Therefore, once you've established a social media routine, it's important to collect data about what you're doing. This is where analytics come in.

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. The most common use of social media analytics is to ascertain consumer attitudes, and use this information to support marketing and customer service activities. In an ATE context, analytics help projects and centers demonstrate their efforts to connect with other members of the community and disseminate their work. There are many web tools available for social media analytics, but we've outlined four of our favorite (and free!) tools below.

Facebook Insights offers basic metrics about page growth and activity. By using Facebook Insights you'll be able to determine the best time of day to post, the best day of the week to post and what type of content is most popular. Insights also collects demographic information about who is visiting your page. This allows you to build personas of your target audience. This can be very beneficial when creating landing pages, home page copy, and overall messages. Facebook Insights also calculates the virality of your posts (the rate at which people respond to them), so you can identify which posts were the most successful. Knowing the virality of each post allows you to create more content that your fans like, which can be used to increase your relevance, reach, and page traffic. Facebook Insights is automatically included on Facebook pages.

Hootsuite is a publishing and monitoring tool for Facebook and Twitter. It's one-stop-shopping for posting to both sites, and allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time. Hootsuite provides a streamlined dashboard for reviewing all of your posts, as well as who has mentioned you, emailed you directly, etc. Using Hootsuite to manage both Facebook and Twitter cuts staff time down significantly. Hootsuite allows team members to manage one account, with the option of assigning tasks and creating restrictions for who can read or post messages. Hootsuite offers various measurable items, including follower growth and Twitter mentions. Facebook Insights and Google Analytics data are also integrated, enabling you to track how many users are visiting your website based on specific links you share through HootSuite.

Google Reader allows you to set up a search for your project or industry keywords. It is the least complicated, most low-tech way of keeping track of your identity and conversations online. A daily (or weekly, whatever you decide) email to your inbox shares all of the relevant links and mentions. No maintenance is required.

Google Analytics offers free code to embed in your site that evaluates site metrics and performance. Traffic patterns and audience demographics are among the metrics visible. Google Analytics offers various reports, including a behavior report, which allows you to view how many visitors are returning frequently. The engagement report shows visit duration and how many pages visitors viewed, revealing which visitors are more engaged and which aspects of your content engaged them. One of the biggest advantages of Google Analytics is that it allows you to create custom reports. Custom reports let you filter results based on a number of factors, and then view any of the metrics included in Analytics. The richness of available data makes Google Analytics one of the best indicators of overall performance of a site online. There is no maintenance required after setup.

Social media has quickly emerged as a powerful marketing tool. It has the ability to transcend geography, vastly increasing audience size, while decreasing time and effort expended. But, there's no point in using social media if your message isn't being heard. Social media analytics allows you to gauge who is hearing your message. Using the data collected from social media analytics, you can cater posts for your specific audience, or work on ways to expand your outreach to a wider audience. Knowing what's working and what's not can make a huge difference in your social media outreach success.

Community Connection

Harnessing ATE Central's search and browse functions

Laptop Each year, the ATE community produces hundreds or even thousands of resources: lesson plans, curricula, websites, videos, professional development materials, and more. ATE Central collects information about these resources in its resource library, and catalogs them using standard metadata to make finding them easy. Although the number of ATE resources created each year can seem overwhelming, ATE Central's search and browse features make it easy to find whatever you're looking for.

First, and most simply, you may enter a search term into the keyword search bar on the upper right corner of the page. This will complete a Quick Keyword Search, which will look for your search term anywhere in the resource record. This form of searching is most useful when you want an overview of the resources that include particular keywords, and is often a great starting point for a search that can be revised to return more relevant results.

For more complex searches, we recommend using the advanced search option. From this screen, you can search for keywords that appear in various parts of the resource record, and limit your search by source, resource type, language, audience, format, and ATE award type and funding status. The advanced search page would, for example, be ideal if you're interested in finding out what kinds of materials the ATE community has produced for high school biology education. By entering biology into the keyword search box and limiting the search to a secondary education audience, the search will turn up records more tailored to your needs than a quick keyword search.

As with most search engines, some simple tips and tricks can help you further refine your search to maximize its effectiveness:

  • Capitalization is irrelevant.
  • To search for an exact phrase or number, enclose the search term within double quotes (e.g., "Library of Congress" or "114,457").
  • To exclude a specific word or phrase from search results, add a dash before it (e.g., -magnesium or -"potato chips"). To require that results contain a term or phrase, add a plus sign before it (e.g. +magnesium or +"potato chips").
  • The results will automatically be displayed in a descending order of relevance, with the most relevant items at the top. You may also sort results by title, date, or the other categories available in the drop-down list at the bottom of the page.
  • If you get too many results, include other keywords or limits to help narrow them down to the most useful resources.
  • If you get too few results, try broadening your search terms ("digital electronics" instead of "digital logic circuits" for instance).
  • Searches can be refined by clicking Refine Search. This brings you back to the advanced search page with your previous parameters entered so you can modify your search.

If you're not looking for a particular item or keyword, but are interested instead in a category of resources or in getting an understanding of the topics covered in ATE Central, you may wish to take advantage of the resource browsing options. From this page, you can use different classifications to browse the collection: ATE Area (Biotechnology, Manufacturing, Engineering, etc.), Key Concept (specific, focused topics), GEM Subject (broad, general topics), or Library of Congress Classification (hierarchical, in-depth topics).

Whether you're interested in expanding your understanding of a specific topic, finding curriculum to use, or merely exploring the breadth and depth of ATE Area deliverables, smart use of the browse and search functions on ATE Central can help you accomplish your goal.

Did you know?

On any given day, there are approximately 44,000 storms worldwide.

News & Reminders

Follow ATE Central on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all things new at ATE Central and in the ATE Community as well as in the world of STEM Education

Want to know which ATE Projects and Centers and ATE partners and collaborators are using Social Media? Check out our ATE Social Media Directory and follow them too!

Can CWIS Software Help Support Your Project Goals?

CWIS is open source software, created with NSF funding, that can help your project or center showcase resources online. It's free and very easy to use. We'd be happy to provide you with more information about CWIS and give you a quick tour of its features — please e-mail to get started!

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