Advanced Technological Education .

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Tuesday 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: Engineering Technologies -- Electronics and Controls

From Collaborative Proposal: Pathways for Learners to Engineering Technology Employment:

Building Circuits

These presentation slides, made available by Louisiana Delta Community College, provide information on how to build circuits. Slide titles include: Using the Color Code to Determine Resistance, Measuring Resistance With Multimeter, LEDs = Light Emitting Diode, Experimenting with Breadboards, Experimenting with Resistor and LED Circuits, and more.

From Collaborative Proposal: Pathways for Learners to Engineering Technology Employment:

From Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC):

Community Connection

Pew Center Report: Experts Optimistic About the Next 50 Years of Digital Life

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of “the first host-to-host internet connection,” an innovation that has impacted millions around the world since its 1969 creation. To mark this momentous event, the Pew Research Center and the Imaging the Internet Center at Elon University surveyed 530 experts, scholars, policymakers, and other technology innovators about what to expect from “the evolution of the internet over the next 50 years.”

Visions of the technological future from internet pioneers suggest “smart prosthetics” and driverless cars will be commonplace. Some also envision space travel “beyond Mars,” or brain-computer interfaces. Overall, respondents were optimistic, with 72 percent agreeing that things will improve.

Some large takeaways from the report include:

  • One key point is the importance of responsible human decision-making in how digital life will progress. As digital technology expands, experts view growing regulation of the internet as a positive development. The role of policy and oversight in implementation of technology is vital to how that technology gets used.
  • Some respondents view internet-enabled tools as a path to improved length and quality of human life. As technology like Artificial Intelligence develops, we may see expanding leisure time. However, experts also warn that socioeconomic differences may be exacerbated by digital technologies. These tools can be used for combating inequality, but may also be controlled by elites interested in maintain the status-quo.
  • Growing community and social interconnectedness is one hopeful vision of the future. Other respondents are less optimistic and warn about “the end of privacy,” and a subsequently distrustful and substantively disconnected social life.

Big picture concerns center on the difficulty of balancing promise with application. While many experts cited amazing possibilities stemming from the growth of digital technology, it should not be viewed as an automatic cure-all for current social problems. Ensuring that technology will be used effectively and ethically to improve the lives of many relies not just on the development of new tools, but on their application. This underscores the importance of the human element in technological training.

Those interested in learning more about the research design, including questions asked a full list of respondents, should see the seventh page of the report.

The full eight-page report, with quotations from the various respondents organized according to theme, is available to read and download in PDF form on the Pew Research Center website.

ATE Success Tips: Websites

Accessible Web Design

Many members of the ATE Community are aware of the importance of creating accessible content, but applying these principles to web design does take some effort for even the most knowledgeable among us. Thankfully, there is great deal of information available to help support these efforts.

One key to accessible web design is making sites accessible from the start. While it may seem difficult at first, setting up your organization’s website to be accessible for users of all needs is achievable with a few simple steps:

  • Make sure use your site design is logical and consistent. The first step in creating an accessible site is to make sure that each page is set up using clear visual hierarchy. Group information in logical ways that visually cue your reader on the relationships between content and the order of importance. In addition to layout cues, add headings using standard HTML to make navigating your site easier for those using screen readers.
  • Write clear, meaningful text. The golden rule of strong content writing applies here: Text should be clear and to-the-point. Get your point across in the most concise, understandable way possible. When formatting text, avoid creating uneven spaces between letters. Be sure to choose fonts that are easily legible on screens, such as sans serif fonts, which are easier to read at both small and large sizes. When creating hyperlinks, use meaningful text that describes the content, rather than general phrasing like “click here.”
  • Make sure visual elements are distinguishable from each other. Color combinations that provide high contrast are much easier to perceive. Ideally, large text (18-point or 14-point bold font) and images will have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. For smaller elements, a contrast ratio of 7:1 is desirable. Color contrast can be reviewed using one of many automated accessibility checkers, such as WebAIM’s WAVE, axe, and Chrome Lighthouse.
  • Test your site for accessibility. Before bringing your website online, conduct tests to verify compliance with accessibility principles (for example, increasing text size to ensure text does not overlap or otherwise become obscured). Additional things to check include: ensuring that every image has alternative text describing its contents, that heading hierarchies are meaningful and properly coded, and that your site content can be functionally accessed using only a keyboard.

For more resources to help identify areas needing improvement in your organization’s web accessibility design, check out this helpful set of testing resources from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative.

Did You Know?

Approximately 6.5 percent of community college students are current or former members of the U.S. military. The number of students with military experience attending community colleges totals about 416,000 students, according to recent U.S. Department of Education data.

To learn more about the percentages of military students at other types of educational institutions, read the full bulletin from the AACC.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Binary, Pixels, and Data, Oh My! Studying How Computers Store Information

Computer and smartphone use has practically become ubiquitous in the everyday lives of most students, but how do computers actually store all those homework assignments and selfies? Middle school STEM teachers who would like to explore this question with their students may want to check out these standards-aligned classroom activities published by Science Friday in August 2019. Here, readers will find four activities, each with detailed instructions, helpful images, and downloadable materials. Before going into the activities, this resource opens with a brief explanation of analog and digital signals. In the first activity, students "simulate sending analog and digital signals [by] copying a series of drawings," while the second activity deepens their understanding by using scrambled cards and a writing prompt to help them "familiarize themselves with characteristics of digital and analog signals." The third activity introduces students to binary coding and the concept of logic gate maps using Post-It note mosaics, while the final activity encourages students to reflect on and synthesize what they learned in the prior activities. These engaging teaching materials were created for students in grades six through eight by Andrea LaRosa, an eighth-grade science teacher in Danbury, Connecticut.


Biology educators and students, as well as those curious to learn more about genetics, may want to check out DNAdots, a free educational resource created by the team at miniPCR bio. DNAdots offers its visitors "bite-sized, simple explanations of modern genetic technologies," making them excellent ways to gain a better understanding of topics such as personal genetic ancestry testing, DNA barcoding, and gene drives. They are organized into four categories: Sequencing, Gene Expression and Physiology, Genome Editing, and Synthetic Biology. Each DNAdot includes a concise, approachable explanation of what the technology is, how it works, and some of what it means in a practical sense. For those interested in reading more about a particular topic, links to several related articles (also written for general audiences) are included at the end of the explanations. Additionally, DNAdots provides several review questions to check understanding as well as critical thinking and discussion questions. Teachers interested in using DNAdots in their classroom can request answer keys for these questions via email, and each DNAdot can be downloaded as a well-formatted PDF. 

MAA: Math Values

From the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) comes Math Values, a new blog launched in 2018 that "explores the diverse voices of mathematics and discusses topics related to and affected by mathematics." Here, readers will find informative articles written by professional mathematicians, math educators, and even math students. Examples of article topics include a recently implemented California law mandating a change in how community college students are placed in math courses, interviews with principal investigators of math education research projects that have received grants from the National Science Foundation, and a student's response to a paper critiquing the International Mathematical Olympiad. Math Values is organized into four thematic categories (Inclusivity, Community, Communication, and Teaching & Learning) that can be reached via a menu at the top, where readers will also find the site's search bar. Readers of past MAA blogs may also find new articles from some familiar columns here, such as Devlin's Angle and Launchings, written respectively by Keith Devlin and David Bressoud. Math Values will likely be of particular interest to STEM educators and administrators. 

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 Student Engagement and Use of Assistive Technology Online
Gen FAS4ATE2: Project Recruitment Webinar Online
Eng Explore Careers in Manufacturing & Technology Warren, MI
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop Springfield, MO
Bio/Chem Biotech Poster Exhibition Sylmar, CA
Mfg Engaging Technician Faculty in Teaching Employability Skills Online
Eng BEST Center 2020 Annual Institute Oakland, CA
Gen AACC John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute Fernandina Beach, FL
Gen Writing in the Disciplines and Math Workshop at Corpus Christi RDSPD Corpus Christi, TX
Gen Identifying & Removing Barriers to Access: Guide Considerations of Complex Request Online
Gen Strategic Outreach: Spreading Accessibility throughout Campus Online
Gen UVU Engineering & Technology Week Orem, UT
Nano Multi-Responsive Nanogels for Biosensing, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine 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

Call for Applicants: Grant Writing Workshop for Two-Year College Faculty

Participants in this workshop will learn about the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and how to most effectively apply for grant funding. Faculty must propose a specific project to improve an ATE-eligible technical program in a one-page proposal. One-page proposals will be reviewed from October to February 1st when the first acceptances will be sent. Proposals will be either accepted or sent back for corrections and the website will remain open until the workshop and a waiting list are full. Workshop activities will include presentations; planning and writing sessions with mentors who have had extensive experience with ATE and NSF; and networking with colleagues from similar institutions around the country. Two faculty from each college will receive stipend support.

Full-time STEM discipline faculty involved in technician education programs from two-year colleges. Two faculty per college are eligible and colleges may also send a grant writer as a third team member at their own expense.

The mentor assigned to each college team will continue throughout the year to support each college’s efforts to write a complete proposal. This will include creating pre- and post-workshop milestones, webinars, suggesting resources, and providing feedback both for proposal writing and in the award process.

The event runs June 14-17, 2020 at College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA (Los Angeles County). To register for the workshop, visit the College of the Canyons NSF grant writing workshop website.

Call for Applicants: Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education Conference

Many in the ATE Community are well-versed in the importance of accessibility when it comes to higher education, but even the most experienced among us may benefit from new perspectives. Those looking to further develop their resources and skills in this area should take note of this unique professional development opportunity provided by the DeafTEC Resource Center in partnership with the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD).

The Equity & Excellence in Higher Education Conference will give participants the chance to discuss “challenges that they face in working with students with disabilities and how they can collaborate to overcome these challenges.” Participation and sharing are encouraged, with a focus on teaching and supporting “students with disabilities, particularly deaf or hard of hearing students and student veterans with hearing loss.”

Teams from up to 20 community colleges will be selected to participate in the conference. Each team will consist of a STEM faculty member and a staff/faculty from disability services. All team member will receive a $1,650 travel stipend to attend the conference.

The conference will take place in Palm Springs, California from July 20-24, 2020. Those interested in submitting a team application should do so by the January 15, 2020 deadline.

Call for Proposals: High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC)

Are you planning to attend the 2020 HI-TEC conference, July 27-30, in beautiful Portland, Oregon? If you are involved in preparing America's skilled technical workforce, this conference is for you!

HI-TEC offers three opportunities to present: preconference workshops and special interest groups, main conference sessions, and poster sessions. Preconference workshops and special interest sessions run about three and a half hours each and will take place July 27-28. Main conference session presentations are 45 minutes in length and take place on July 29-30. Poster sessions will take place only on July 29 between 3:00-5:30 pm.

The conference organizers are now accepting proposals for HI-TEC 2020 presentations. Preconference workshop forms are due by January 15. Main conference sessions and poster sessions are due by February 5. If you are interested in presenting, fill out a proposal form by the applicable deadline.

If you have any questions about the proposal content, contact Greg Kepner or Bob Geer. If you have questions about the form, contact Sheila Wilson.

Webinar Recording: Evaluation: The Secret Sauce in Your ATE Proposal

Planning to submit a proposal to the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program? Then this is a webinar you don't want to miss! The talk covers the essential elements of an effective evaluation plan and shows you how to integrate them into an ATE proposal. In addition, the webinar provides guidance on how to budget for an evaluation, locate a qualified evaluator, and use evaluative evidence to describe the results from prior NSF funding. Viewers receive the Evaluation Planning Checklist for ATE Proposals and other resources to help integrate evaluation into their ATE proposals. The webinar concludes with an extended 30-minute Question and Answer session.

View the webinar slides or watch the recording to learn more about planning for evaluation.

ATE Talent Development Opportunity

Mentor-Connect is looking for a few experienced ATE program participants who want to give back to the ATE community by serving as mentors to faculty teams while they prepare ATE grant proposals.

The Mentor Fellows internship program prepares individuals who have worked within the ATE community to become Mentor-Connect mentors. With guidance from Mentor-Connect staff members and experienced Mentor-Connect mentors, Mentor Fellows develop the skills they need to guide new-to-ATE college faculty in the preparation of competitive ATE grant proposals.

The Mentor Fellows internship program is part of the far-reaching effort of the Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach for ATE-2 project (DUE #1501183) to involve more members of the ATE community in the development of new talent to carry on the important work of preparing technicians for advanced technology workplaces.

Applicants to the Mentor Fellows program should have experience writing or significantly contributing to a minimum of two successful ATE proposals and at least three-to-five years of involvement with an ATE center and/or project(s). Internships last approximately one year, and include a stipend and reimbursement of travel expenses.

More information and the Mentor Fellows application are here.

New Student Success Story Videos in the Works

As part of ATE Central's most recent funding we are looking to create a second round of our Student Success Story videos. There will be fifteen new videos in this series and we are actively looking for a diverse set of ATE students with engaging stories and successes to feature.

Do you have a student who you think might fit the bill? Fill out this short survey to tell us about them! Vox Television will be producing these new videos for the community; production will begin in late fall and continue over the next two years.

We look forward to working with you on this exciting project and featuring these and other videos from the whole community on the ATE Central portal. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions about the video series or our other tools and services.

Would you like copies of the ATE Impacts book?

Book orders and general inquiries about ATE Impacts 2018-2019: Twenty-Five Years of Advancing Technician Education 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 4.1.1) 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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