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.

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.

In This Issue

Featured Resources: Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning

From National Center for Supply Chain Automation:

Project Based Learning and Universal Design for Learning

This 20-page whitepaper, from the National Center for Supply Chain Automation, outlines the advantages of project-based learning and universal design in learning in two sections. Each pedagogical method is explored in depth and includes detailed guidance for applying the methods in the classroom.

This paper includes the following sections: Project Based Learning Resource Notes, Elements, Examples, Roles, Outcomes, Project Based Learning Template, Methods of Using Project Based Learning, 10 Steps to Create a Lesson Plan, Universal Design for Learning Resource Notes, Principle I: Provide Multiple Means of Representation, Principle II: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement, What is Meant by the Term Curriculum, Purpose of UDL Curriculum, Instructional Planning Process, and more.

From Increasing ATE Career Placement for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Identification and Dissemination of Best Practices:

Autism & College: Autistic Culture, UDL, and Student Voices

This resource, made available by Pellet Productions, Inc., is a page within the Stairway to STEM website that provides "resources for autistic students / students on the autism spectrum transitioning from high school to college, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields."

This webpage includes a video presented by Stairway to STEM contributors at the 2018 Advanced Technical Education Conference in Washington DC. Autistic culture is discussed including identity, communication styles and techniques, as well as common myths and misconceptions related to autism. Universal Design Learning (UDL) is also discussed including effective approaches for autistic students. Two content creators from Stairway to STEM speak about their experiences in college as students with autism. The presentation concludes with a question and answer session with the audience. The video runs 32:34 minutes in length and includes links to additional resources.

From AccessATE: Making Community College Technician Education More Accessible for Everyone:

Understanding POUR - The Basics of Universal Design for Learning

This webinar, made available by Internet Scout Research Group, features Rachel Bower and Luis Perez discussing how educators can increase the accessibility of high quality materials for learners with disabilities. Objectives for the webinar include:

  • Explain what is meant by "accessible" and how accessibility fits into the Universal Design for Learning framework.
  • Provide examples of the application of the four POUR principles in the context of a robotics curriculum.
  • Identify AEM Center resources for further learning about accessible educational materials.

Background information is given on ATE Central, as well as the mission and goals for The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center and CAST. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is defined as "a framework based on scientific insights into how humans learn that seeks to optimize instruction in order to allow every person to become an expert learner." The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 from AEM use the acronym POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust) to define the four qualities of an accessible user experience. Detailed instructions are given on how POUR can be used to create accessible educational materials, including: Mark up the Document With Styles, 3 Benefits of Using Styles for Section Headings, Styles Should Follow a Logical Order, Check Your Work, Use of Table Headers, and more. The recording runs 1:01:41 minutes in length and a PDF of the presentation slides is included.

Community Connection

I Am ATE: Elodie Billionniere

In this feature ATE Central continues our "I Am ATE" series, which showcases an ATE PI, staff member, industry partner, or other ATE stakeholder. We are excited to help spread the word about the wonderful people who are at the core of the ATE community and the innovative work everyone is doing.

Name: Dr. Elodie Billionniere
Title: Associate Professor
Institution: Miami Dade College (MDC)
Project Name: Dade Enterprise Cloud Computing Initiative (DECCI)

ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Billionniere: At the time, I was following hi-tech trends and the latest report was about cloud literacy as an absolute must-have skill to acquire for upskilling or reskilling. Although I am already familiar with the concept of web services, I attended an immersion day on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technology and I recognized, immediately, an opportunity for an academia-industry partnership. After further discussion with AWS Academy leadership, we reached a common goal: to prepare underrepresented minorities for the multitude of cloud industry careers emerging in the computing and information technology fields. As I was having these conversations with AWS, the NSF ATE solicitation was forwarded to me by my department chair. The stars lined up in my mind and I moved forward with great confidence in my grant proposal idea. With ATE, I could solidify an industry partnership with the leading cloud provider, while providing resources, funds, and support to build today's talent with future skills. This project would not have been possible otherwise.

ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your project.

Billionniere: The program is designed to provide fast-track cloud training for students and professionals in Miami-Dade County, while strengthening existing career pathway programs at Miami Dade College.As such the project aims to (1) provide faculty professional development to certify faculty members in cloud technology utilizing project-based learning methodology; (2) create an academic pathway in partnership with industry cloud leaders that aligns a college credit certificate in Enterprise Cloud Computing to associate and baccalaureate degrees in information systems technology; (3) increase recruitment, retention, and graduation of students in the newly developed certificate program; (4) develop a K-16 pipeline by offering a Cloud 101 summer high school bootcamp for traditionally underrepresented populations that will result in industry certification and dual enrollment pathways; and (5) advance knowledge about student success and degree attainment in technology fields to improve retention of (STEM) students at Hispanic-serving institutions.

ATE Central: What makes the work of your project/center unique?

Billionniere: My project has the potential to build future-ready workforce pipelines by increasing the number of certified cloud computing graduates from underrepresented minority groups to meet local and national workforce needs.

ATE Central: Do you have any advice for new ATE grantees?

Billionniere: I recommend attending the pre-workshop(s) at the annual ATE PI conference. This is particularly helpful the first year of your grant, to get you started with the project implementation and familiarize yourself with the required administrative tasks/processes. Also, I strongly recommend that your evaluator attends the conference as well, because the assessment and evaluation of the project is not as simple as it seems if you plan to have publications associated with your project. Through EvaluATE there are a few conference travel funding opportunities available for evaluators to take advantage of.

Read the rest of the interview with Elodie in full, visit the ATE Impacts blog.

ATE Success Tips: Social Media

Making Social Media Posts Accessible

The ATE Community is well-versed in the importance of making materials accessible, but how can you put that knowledge to use when promoting your project or center's work on social media? Here are some quick tips to optimize your social media content for accessibility:

  • Accompany images with alternative text. Alternative text, or "alt text" for short, is a great way to make content on a variety of platforms more accessible. Alt text captures what is conveyed by images in words, to make the content and meaning of images accessible to visually impaired audiences who are using screen readers. Twitter's page on alt text, Facebook's guide to adding alt text, and LinkedIn's alt text resource all offer assistance. Some content scheduling platforms such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite have also added alt text features.
  • Add closed captioning and descriptive language to videos. Similarly to still images, video contains a wealth of information that can be inaccessible to visually impaired or hearing impared or audiences. Users can directly add captions to videos with assistance from Facebook's captions guide and LinkedIn's help page on captions. Alternatively, you can choose to share links to YouTube videos with closed captions. YouTube does offer automatic captioning, but those captions may not be accurate, so it is important to manually edit or add correct captions that include descriptions of other important audio (e.g. applause). Adding descriptive language that captures visual elements' meaning will make video content even more broadly accessible.
  • Make your hashtags and hyperlinks more accessible. Hashtags allow users to easily connect tweets and Facebook posts to on-going conversations, but often they are not readily legible for visually impaired social media audiences. Be sure to place hashtags at the end of your post and capitalize the first letter of each word in the hashtag for easy comprehension. To make hyperlinks more navigable, try minimizing the number of characters with a URL shortener. Additionally, it is helpful to include a cue about the type of resource the link connects to, "by adding [PIC], [VIDEO] or [AUDIO]." This practice will better enable people using screen readers to determine if they are interested in opening a link.

For more information on the features and general use of social media platforms, check out the ATE Central Social Outreach Kit's Most Popular Tools page.

Did You Know?

According to a study from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), students who complete a career and technical education (CTE) concentration in their high school coursework are 2.9% more likely than non-CTE concentrators to enroll in applied STEM programs in community college.

The authors find that CTE concentrators are "actually less likely to earn a two-year degree," but are 1.4% more likely to earn applied STEM credentials of any kind. CTE students studying in applied STEM "are disproportionately more likely to earn credentials in information technology (network systems, information support services, and interactive media pathways) and manufacturing (maintenance, installation, and repair pathways)."

To learn more about the impact of CTE concentration on post-secondary pathways, read or download the full "Career and Technical Education in High School and Postsecondary Pathways in Washington State" report from CALDER in PDF form.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Carnegie STEM Girls: Do It Yourself

From homemade bath bombs to toothbrush-and-rubber-band robots, the Do It Yourself Science collection from Carnegie STEM Girls has over three dozen at-home experiments for aspiring scientists. The experiments show that "you can demonstrate cool scientific principles and test out your ideas with everyday objects found all around you." Each experiment is accompanied by a materials list and set of instructions, and most also feature additional content. For example, the "Edible DNA" experiment links to information on related careers in biology and neurobiology, while the "Scribble Bots" experiment includes a couple of electricity-themed fun facts. A project of the Duquesne Light Co. Center for STEM Education and Career Development, Carnegie STEM Girls aims to help "girls recognize that STEM topics and careers are pretty cool." In addition to the resources highlighted, the site hosts other tools for students, parents, and teachers including She's Livin' It!, which profiles women in STEM careers, and Careers A-Z, which provides information on many STEM and STEM-adjacent career paths.

National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

Science writers, researchers, and STEM enthusiasts may enjoy the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Supported by the National Science Foundation, NEON provides "open data to understand how our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are changing." The website covers everything from meteorology to megapit soil, with many topics in between. On the About page, readers will find a blog with stories from 2008 to present, covering subjects such as site assessments and conversations with experts. The Data Collection page contains information on the instruments and processes used to collect data on subjects such as meteorology, water, and soil. Interested in learning more about where these data are collected from? The Field Sites page provides information on these sites, which span 20 ecoclimatic domains "represent[ing] distinct regions of vegetation, landforms, and ecosystem dynamics." The Data page hosts data collected at these NEON sites, which readers can download for free. Educators may want to check out the Resources tab, as it features Data Tutorials and K-12 Activities with lesson plans available for download. These plans cover topics such as water quality indicators and rain gauge measurements. Under the Community tab, users can find additional papers, memos, and workshops, while the Opportunities tab highlights job openings and upcoming events.

The Paleobiology Database

Guided by the mission of "revealing the history of life," The Paleobiology Database welcomes researchers, educators, and developers to explore a "public database of paleontological data that anyone can use." Supported by the National Science Foundation and "maintained by an international non-governmental group of paleontologists," the site offers a wealth of information waiting to be discovered. Users can browse the database at the link above or download the data to peruse offline. Clicking on the "Explore" button on the home page brings users to the interactive map. Have a question about what you see? The Help and Walkthrough tabs at the top of the map page provide examples and a YouTube tutorial that explain how to filter and search the data and how to navigate the toolbar on the left-hand side. Educators may enjoy the Lesson Plans and Activities section (found under the Resources tab, accessible from the site's landing page), which includes classroom activities that use the database as a launching point to learn about geology, geography, and paleobiology. The Resources section also includes web apps, data tools, and tutorials to maximize your user experience. Under the Search tab, users can engage with topics such as "fossil collection records" and "stratigraphic units" by filling out a more detailed "collection search form." The database was first launched in 1998 and is maintained by a Tech Team consisting of Geology and Information Science specialists.

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 Tips and Tricks: Step by Step NSF ATE Proposal Forms Preparation Online
Gen Finding Value in Prior Learning Assessment as a Faculty Member Online
Mfg Adopt-A-School Guide Online
Eng 2020 CAAT Conference [CANCELLED] Clinton Twp, MI
Info National Cybersecurity Training and Education Center Online
Nano Luminescent Nanoparticles of Metal Oxides Online
Mfg Career Success Skills Online
Gen International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence [CANCELLED] Austin, TX
Ag/Env Annual VESTA National Summit [CANCELLED] Stevenson, WA
Info Cyber2yr2020 Online
Gen AACC John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute [CANCELLED] Washington, DC
Info The National Cyber Summit [POSTPONED] Huntsville, AL
Mfg All Girls Intro EV3 Robotics Camp (Middle School) Tampa, FL
Bio/Chem BIO International Convention 2020 Online
Mfg Summer 2020 Acoustic Institutes Dayton, OH
Info GeoEd 20 Conference Online
Info NSF Grant Writing Workshop Online
Mfg Intro EV3 Robotics Camp (Middle School) Tampa, FL
Mfg Summer 2020 Electric Guitar Institutes San Antonio, TX
Gen Working with ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, UAS, and Earth Imagery Online
Mfg Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camp (All) Tampa, FL
Mfg Summer 2020 CNC Institutes Kankakee, IL
Ag/Env Delaware STEM Educator Energy Institute Dover, DE
Mfg Engineering Technology Camp (High School ONLY) Tampa, FL
Ag/Env Wisconsin STEM Educator Solar Institute Madison, WI
Info 2020 CSTA Annual Conference Online
Gen Presidents Academy Summer Institute Dana Point, CA
Eng Underwater Robotics and Engineering Design: Intermediate Level A Monterey, CA
Eng Underwater Robotics and Engineering Design: Intermediate Level B Monterey, CA
Eng Underwater Robotics and Engineering Design: Intro Level Monterey, CA
Gen Conference of the Association on Higher Education And Disability Palm Desert, CA
Mfg Summer 2020 Acoustic Institutes San Diego, CA
Mfg Summer 2020 Electric Guitar Institutes Enfield, CT
Ag/Env Illinois STEM Educator Wind Energy Institute Normal, IL
Bio/Chem High Impact Technology Exchange Conference 2020 Online
Eng Automated and Connected Vehicles Summer Conference Dayton, OH
Mfg Summer 2020 Electric Guitar Institutes Perkasie, PA

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

AACC Report: Community College Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) Summit Proceedings

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is pleased to announce that the Community College URE Summit Proceedings Report and the report Executive Summary are now available on AACC’s website, along with additional summit resources. To view the report and resources, please go to:

In November 2019, 120 thought leaders, representing community colleges, four-year institutions and higher education organizations, met in Washington D.C. to discuss the role of community colleges in building, implementing, and sustaining undergraduate research experiences (URES) in STEM education and for career preparations. This report highlights the key recommendations and promising practices that came out of those discussions.

The report and its resulting activities are intended to help expand support for building, strengthening, and expanding UREs at community colleges. ATE community members are encouraged to review the report and to share it with their networks and stakeholders.

The report is also featured in an April 13 Community College Daily article, “Sharing Ideas on Student Research Experiences.”

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ellen Hause at, or Courtney Larson at

Important HI-TEC 2020 Update

In case you haven't seen the news yet, the HI-TEC 2020 face-to-face conference has been canceled. As a service to the HI-TEC community and as a way for the community to gather and share, work is underway to provide an abbreviated virtual experience in July, HI-TEC Livestream, as well as provide an opportunity for accepted presenters to disseminate their work asynchronously, should they choose to do so. HI-TEC Livestream will focus on our community's response to the challenges of COVID-19—especially solutions and successes that have grown out of moving our work and instruction online—and on emergent technician workforce needs that have resulted or may result from the pandemic.

If you registered and paid online, go to the registration page for more information and check the HI-TEC conference website often for updates. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email the HI-TEC team at

Tips and Tricks: Step-by-Step NSF ATE Proposal Forms Preparation

This webinar focuses on the various forms associated with NSF ATE grant proposals. Forms can make up 2/3 of a final proposal submission and impact the quality and accuracy of a proposal. The webinar will cover the purpose of various forms associated with NSF ATE proposals, what data to enter into each form associated with NSF ATE proposal, the importance of providing consistent information on forms and other components of a proposal, and common errors that can be avoided.

Presented by Mentor Connect, this webinar will take place on May 7, 1:00-2:30 pm EDT. Register to participate 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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