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.

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In This Issue

Featured Resources in Robotics

From University, Community College and Industry Partnership: Revamping Robotics Education to Meet 21st Century Workforce Needs:

Robotics Lab 1: Jogging the Robot

This 10-page lab, provided by Michigan Technological University, includes four short assignments that involve jogging a robot. The first assignment covers powering up and jogging a robot in JOINT. During this assignment, students will power up the robot, recover from system faults, jog the robot in JOINT mode, and power down the robot. The second assignment covers viewing a version identification. The third assignment covers jogging the robot in WORLD mode and in the final assignment, students alternate between QUICK/FULL MENU. Other related robotics labs are available to view separately.

From Roane State Community College and the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT):

MECH 2700 Robotic Welding

Course Description:

This course was developed by Roane State Community College and The Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT). In this course students will be introduced to robotic welding systems and learn how to perform basic procedures. Students will learn how to create welding routines, program weld paths, and be able to store and retrieve programs and parameters. Students will learn to program a welding robot through a teach pendant and simulation software, edit programs, set weld schedules and learn basic operator controls and indicators on the teach pendant and operator panel. This course also provides fundamental safety precautions while programming and operating the robotic equipment.

Course Contents:

Course materials include a 5-page syllabus, 14 PowerPoint lectures, and 15 lesson plans. The syllabus includes a course description, course learning outcomes, a course topics roadmap, and other course related information.

The lessons plans include objectives; a list of materials, equipment, and supplies needed; instructional resources; a list of activities and demonstrations; teaching suggestions; and assessment information.

The full list of the materials included in the course, including file names, are available at the above website.

From Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE):

Robotics Camp Survival Guide: A FLATE Best Practices Guide

This best practice guide from FLATE is directed at those educators or STEM professionals "interested in learning how to maximize your success for creating and running a middle school summer camp about robotics-with the least amount of problems." Garnered from six years of FLATE's own experience in sponsoring summer robotic camps, this guide outline camp purposes and goals as well as such administrative tasks as funding the camps, finding a location, getting the equipment needed, and conducting communications. The appendices include helpful document templates and examples, including camp flyers, release forms, thank you letters, and follow-up surveys.

Community Connection

Brookings Report: For better learning in college lectures, lay down the laptop and pick up a pen

When taking notes in a classroom, is it better use a laptop or write them out on paper? Surprisingly, a new Brookings report shows that students who note-take by hand earn better grades than those who opt to use a laptop during a lecture. Furthermore, evidence points to students actually learning less when using a laptop during class than their classmates who do not.

Researchers at Princeton and the University of California, Los Angeles carried out a randomized experiment with a group of students. Randomly assigned either a laptop or pen and paper to take notes, the researchers had students watch a lecture and then take a standardized test. The test results showed that students using laptops scored substantially worse.

Why is this? Researchers hypothesize that, because we can type faster than we can write, words basically bypass major cognitive processing in the brain. In contrast, when taking notes by hand, the brain has to process and condense the material before we put pen to paper, which results in a better understanding of the content of the lecture. In the experiment performed by researchers, the laptop notes more closely resembled transcripts while hand-written notes resembled summaries of the lecture.

It was also determined that using a laptop during class is distracting to other classmates. In one of the studies outlined in the report, students were randomly assigned short tasks to perform while in class during a lecture such as looking up movie times or going on Facebook. It was found that content on the laptop visible to other students served as enough of a distraction to lower test scores of students near those who were multi-tasking by 11%. In addition, students who were near those who were multitasking on their laptops scored 17 % lower on the comprehension section of the test.

View the full report at the Brookings Institute site for more information and to read about additional experiments.

ATE Success Tips: Outreach

Does your project or center have an outreach plan? If so, when is the last time it was updated or evaluated for efficacy?

Creating an outreach plan is a great way to map out goals for engaging an audience with a message unique to your project or center. Some questions to consider are: What communities are you trying to reach? Who is your audience within the communities? And, specifically, what are your goals and timelines with regard to their engagement?

Creating an outreach plan may seem daunting, but it can very much affect the sustainability of your project or center. Check out ATE Central's Outreach Kit Planning Guide for some great tips on how to get started, how to implement an outreach assessment for existing plans, and case studies to see how other projects and centers have effectively utilized their own outreach strategies.

Did You Know?

About 30 percent of millennials ages 25 to 34 achieved a college education by 2015, which is a higher level than any other generation.

Select STEM Education Resources

A few online STEM resources from outside of ATE, that you may find of interest:

Stinks, Bangs, and Booms: The Rise and Fall of the American Chemistry Set

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the chemistry set or its evolution from the Young Chemists Pocket Companion of 1797 to the modern kits we know today? Stinks, Bangs, and Booms answer those questions and more as it traces the rise and fall of the American chemistry set through four interactive chapters: Inception (1791), Heyday (1920-1960), The Decline (1960-1979), and The Resurgence (1980-Today). The engaging online interface was created by Bluecadet and draws upon the plentiful research and archival material of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Interactive elements and mini-games keep readers interested and users have the opportunity to delve a little deeper or move on to the next section. One particularly interesting activity, featured in the Heyday chapter, includes listening to the short oral histories of professors, business leaders, and others as they remember their first chemistry sets. While most site visitors will be intrigued by the American chemistry set's colorful history, educators and librarians are sure to find many exciting uses for this amazing website.

IRIS: Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) is a "consortium of over 120 US universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data." Researchers and science instructors will find a number of resources that may be of interest on this website. These resources include a variety of datasets, available in the research section. Many of these datasets are available for browsing while others can be requested via a web form. Instructors will want to check out the education section, which includes lessons (complete with assembled PowerPoint presentations), fact sheets, and posters. Here, visitors will also find the Earthquake Browser, an interactive map of real-time earthquake data. IRIS also frequently hosts webinars that "highlight recent scientific results stemming directly from the facilities administered by IRIS, such as EarthScope's USArray or core IRIS programs like PASSCAL and the GSN." Visitors can learn more about these webinars in the resources section.


Science teacher Steve Spangler has appeared on a variety of television shows, including regular appearances on Denver, Colorado's KUSA 9 News and a number of guest appearances on Ellen. On this YouTube channel, which might especially appeal to elementary school teachers, after-school teachers, and youth workers (as well as anyone young at heart), visitors can check out these short, televised lab activities. Many of these experiments can be replicated in a classroom. For example, in one recent video, Color Milk Explosion, Spangler demonstrates how one can create a gorgeous marbling pattern using milk, food coloring, and a cotton ball soaked with dish soap. Why? Dish soap is attracted to the fat in the milk, causing the food coloring in the milk to move. Other videos in this collection are not appropriate for reproducing in the classroom (in fact, one playlist is entitled "Don't try this at home!") but can be enjoyed from afar.

Do you have some great STEM resources you'd like to share with ATE Central? Email us with your ideas at

ATE Events

Upcoming Events
Gen SXSW EDU 2018 Conference & Festival Austin, TX
Gen 8th National Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (LAK 18) Sydney,
Gen Webinar 2: Re-visiting Your Sustainability Goals in a Post-Grant World Online
Gen Grant Proposal Resources, Roadmaps and Timelines Online
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop - St. Charles, MO St Charles, MO
Gen NSTA 2018 National Conference: Science on My Mind Atlanta, GA
Gen NSTA National Conference Atlanta, GA
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop - OH 2018 Geneva, OH
Eng League for Innovation Convention Oxon Hill, MD
Gen Developing Stakeholder Partnerships Internally and Externally for Successful Grants Online
Eng ACTE Region IV Conference Albuquerque, NM
Bio/Chem 14th Annual Worthington Regional Bio Conference Worthington, MN
Nano Nano Curriculum Materials Workshop I Online
Gen Webinar 3: Succession Planning: How to Build a Plan So That Your Work Continues Without You Online
Eng Michigan Automotive Teachers Association (MATA) Conference Lansing, MI
Gen 2018 Annual AERA Meeting: The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education New York City, NY
Gen National Summit for Educational Equity Arlington, VA
Gen Final Tips for a Competitive Proposal Online
Gen ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Montreal,
Eng American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention 2018 Dallas, TX
Nano Nano Curriculum Materials Workshop II Online

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 submit them online.

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

News & Reminders

Would you like more copies of the ATE@20 book?

We are sending out one more round of ATE@20: Two Decades of Advancing Technological Education. Book orders and general inquiries can be emailed to

Archiving your deliverables with ATE Central is now easier than ever!

Upload your curriculum, professional development materials, or other deliverables created with ATE funding directly to the ATE Central resource portal via the new archive submission form.

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. The latest version (CWIS 4.1.0) was released on and is available for download on the Scout site. Please email if you have any questions or would like a quick tour of its features!

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