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 - General Engineering

From PathTech LISTEN: Mixed Methods Longitudinal Investigations of Students in Technician Education:

Bridging Technical Skills Gaps between High School Students and Local Employers

This twelve-page paper, from the Journal of Research and Technical Careers, discusses a study that was conducted to "explore how technical skills taught ... in Florida engineering and engineering technology-themed career academies fit technical skills desired by local employers in technology and manufacturing." During the study students, teachers, and industry representatives were interviewed. These interviews led to "several revelations regarding potential efforts to reduce the skills-gap commonly reported in the research literature." The paper includes the following sections: Introduction; Literature Review; Theoretical Framework, Need for the Study; Data, Methods and Analysis; Data Interpretations; Discussion; Conclusion; and References.

From The STEM Guitar Project:

Physics of Music Waves

This six-page resource, from the STEM Guitar Project, is an activity on the physics of music waves. "This activity will help the student understand how the tension of vibrating components and the length of vibrating components on a stringed instrument affect the instrument's pitch." Students will also be able to apply understanding "... of how wavelength and frequency relate to one another in the context of a sound wave produced by a musical instrument."

This activity includes the following sections: Learning Objectives, Standards, Materials Required, Safety, References, Activity, and Assessment. The assessment includes ten questions and an answer key is provided.

From The STEM Guitar Project:

Part 1: Acoustic Body and Neck Up

This video, provided by the STEM Guitar Project, was recorded at the first Acoustic Guitar Build Institute that was held at Hanford High School in 2019. During this part of the workshop, Gerry Kowalski makes sure participants have completed all the necessary steps of building the guitar before the neck and body are put together. Kowalski discusses ensuring the tuners are located in the correct orientation, adjusting the truss rod so that the neck is straight, checking the saddle, and more. This video runs 4:48 minutes in length. Additional videos from the workshop cover neck angle and shims, checking the height and angle of the guitar strings, and stringing the guitar. These videos are available to view separately.

Community Connection

Tips for Organizing and Attending Conferences & Meetings Remotely

In response to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, many professional conferences and large meetings are exploring a move to remote, asynchronous, and online convenings – including the HI-TEC 2020 conference in July. While many in the ATE community have experience collaborating and networking remotely, remote events can be stressful to organize and attend at the best of times. Here are some tips to aid in creating and participating in conferences and meetings during social distancing:

Organizing a Remote Conference or Meeting:

  • Use an online program or agenda that can be easily updated. This makes it easy to add and alter sessions or segments as you negotiate the transition from a planned in-person event to an online event. The event program or agenda should be hosted on a public page or website for easy access.
  • Build in time to test streaming and A/V procedures and have an alternative plan in mind. Conferences and meetings may bring together a large number of organizers, participants, and presenters with varying tech backgrounds. Before the day of the event, be sure to test all streaming technology and make sure you have a backup plan in case any elements of video conferencing or screen sharing go awry. Ideally include tech support as part of your team, ready to aid attendees or presenters if they have technical issues.
  • Designate moderators and provide them with instructions in advance. Just like an in-person event, remote conferences and meetings have a lot going on. Ensure that sessions do not run too long or become a negative experience for attendees and presenters by appointing a moderator to facilitate the event. Provide moderators with clear, well-communicated instructions in advance of the conference date.
  • Explore options for asynchronous sessions. Some participants may not be able to present or attend live streams. Pre-recording some sessions and hosting video recordings on the conference or meeting site, and notifying attendees via email of their availability can offer a viable and useful alternative for presenters. You may also choose to record streamed events so that attendees can tune in asynchronously.
  • Make all conference social media handles and hashtags widely known. Social media is an even more vital arena for networking when it comes to remote conferences. Be sure that conference attendees have social media handles and hashtags so participants and presenters can share and connect before and after sessions.
  • Offer the most widely-accessible experience possible. This may include, for example, live-captioning presentations, or adding captions to asynchronous conference material. If distributing digital conference or meeting packets, make sure they follow W3C Accessibility Standards.

Presenting Remotely:

  • Sign in early when presenting. To make sure your presentation starts smoothly and on time, plan to log in 15 minutes early on the day of the presentation. It is also helpful to test the streaming technology and slide sharing features in advance.
  • Familiarize yourself with the other presenters and any moderator instructions. To make sure your session runs smoothly, be ready to step in if your moderator is sidelined due to technical issues during the presentation. Know the order of presenters and be ready to go when it is your turn to speak.
  • Be aware of your presentation location and its limitations. Make sure you are in a well-lit, quiet room with a background you do not mind others seeing. You may also wish to begin by kindly reminding participants to keep their mics muted and establish when and what manner it is appropriate to ask questions.
  • For any breakout or interactive components, make sure participants have clear instructions. Remember that attendees will need clear guidance on time limits and the technical aspects of interactive components. Make sure you have instructions ready to distribute to those participating in your session and that you are available to offer clarification when needed.

Participating in a Remote Conference or Meeting:

  • Plan for fatigue and build in breaks. The same way you would when attending an in-person conference or meeting, you should plan to take a break from digital events. Schedule your breaks ahead of time. This will help you select sessions to attend around other work and life responsibilities.
  • Minimize distractions and take an interactive approach. Turn off notifications and avoid multitasking. Check whether slides will be made available or presentations will be recorded. If so, do not get bogged down in taking too many notes. If attending live, ask questions and engage deeply to get the most out of the experience.
  • Select sessions wisely. Attend only sessions that are valuable and relevant to your own work and interests. Do not feel pressure to "see it all," or sit through talks that you are not engaged with.
  • Familiarize yourself with the streaming technology and related etiquette. Conduct yourself professionally and remember that video conferencing platforms take some work to master. Be aware of whether your video is on and, when not presenting or asking a question, keep your mic muted to avoid detracting from presenter audio.

For more tips, consult video conferencing guides such as this one on best practices for using Zoom.

ATE Success Tips: Websites

Minimizing Your Website's Bounce Rate

In 2015 Google started using artificial intelligence (AI) to process search results, ranking search listings by consulting metrics such as the amount of time users spend on a site and page bounce rate to determine visitor interest and content relevance. Bounce rate captures the number of visitors to your website who land on a page and then leave without clicking through to other pages on the site. Ideally, your site and all its pages should have a low bounce rate, meaning that the majority of visitors are moving throughout the site, rather than only viewing the landing page.

Reasons your site's bounce rate might be understandably high include:

  1. There is some kind of technical issue preventing user access.
  2. Your website is not loading quickly, causing frustration.
  3. The site content does not meet visitor expectations.
  4. Site design is creating an undesirable user experience (UX).

Technical Issues

To avoid the first two issues, be sure to regularly check your site for technical hangups and use a free website speed test to determine your site's current speed. Once you have ruled out a tech problem, you can optimize site content and design to decrease your bounce rate further.

Better Content

Relevance and quality are the two pillars of strong content. Your site content should always be well written, credible, and directed at your target audience. Another factor that may influence search listing placement is content freshness. Regardless of the rankings impact, keeping your website up-to-date and regularly adding new content is a great way to ensure you are getting visitors to engage with your content and return.

Better Design

To improve UX, optimize your site design with a few easy strategies. First of all, be sure to use effective internal linking. Links that direct users to other pages of your website are called internal links. These can be effective ways to connect related content and suggest relevant resources, but it is important that they do not disrupt the UX. Another helpful element for directing users is strong use of headers and subheaders to guide readers through dense text. This is key for making relevant sections easily identifiable and helpful when used in combination with internal linking on pages that index other parts of the site. Overall, intuitive navigation and search features will keep users from getting lost and promote movement throughout the site.

Finally, make sure your site has responsive design. A website is responsively designed when every version of the site opens fully optimized for user experience on the type of device they are currently using. For example, mobile devices are an increasingly important source of page views. You can check your website's current state of mobile optimization with Google's mobile-friendly test.

New ATE grantees interested in creating a free website to showcase their work should check out ATE Central's Microsite Service for more information.

Did You Know?

A new study from the Pew Research Center found that in the shifting economic climate due to COVID-19, 62% of workforce participants with at least a bachelor's degree and 33% of workers with some college education, including associate degree holders, "had jobs that could be performed remotely." In comparison, only 22% of high school graduates and 9% of those who did not complete high school held jobs that offered a teleworking option.

While the option to work remotely does not guarantee that individuals will remain employed, "job losses in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak have been concentrated among workers unable to telework." These workers are disproportionately immigrants (as of February 2020, only 31% of foreign-born individuals were able to work remotely, compared to 42% of workers born in the U.S.). The Data suggest that employment outcomes also vary for different racial groups, due to correlation with nativity status and occupation type.

To read more about the role of education and demographic breakdown of teleworking, access the full "Telework may save U.S. jobs in COVID-19 downturn, especially among college graduates" report on the Pew Research Center website.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

COVID-19 & Climate Change: Graphing the Connection

As educators continue to adapt to virtual classrooms, topical and tech-friendly lesson plans are especially important. High school health, science, and social studies educators may enjoy this lesson plan, "COVID-19 & Climate Change: Graphing the Connection," for those very reasons. As the name suggests, the plan draws connections between the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and the "future impacts" of climate change on our environment. The lesson uses materials from four news sources: Weather Underground, The New York Times, InsideClimate News, and Bloomberg News. These media sources are a launching point for analysis and discussion of the relationship between health crises and climate change, as well as the media's role in portraying this relationship. Both materials needed for the hour-long activity (an Activity Plan and Student Handout) are freely available to download at the link above with the creation of a free account. Also included in the lesson plan is a one-page handout, "Tips for Online Learning Using Project Look Sharp's Free Lessons and Materials" that offers guidance for virtual learning (applicable to this lesson and beyond), as well as a guide on "How to Use These Materials." Designed by Sox Sperry for Project Look Sharp (a project of Ithaca College), this lesson plan is an extension of the organization's mission to expand civic engagement and media literacy.

U.S. Army STARS: Anatomy

Are you a teacher, parent, or caregiver looking for a stress-free STEM activity? This app and lesson plan on the human skeletal system may be just what you need. Using the interactive STARS Anatomy app (available at the link above and downloadable from Apple or Google Play), kids will follow along with the "Tinysaurs" (the app's characters) as they go on quests, play games, and test their scientific knowledge. In addition to being free and fun, the app introduces users to important anatomy concepts. Users then build upon this knowledge with the corresponding lesson plan (found by visiting the Lessons page and then selecting the Anatomy tab at the top center of the page). The curriculum includes guided questions and links to reading and visual materials. While some aspects of the lesson are designed for classroom settings (with group work and projector images), these can be easily adapted for online learning. The lesson plan's length is also adaptable from one to five days (see the Lesson Duration section for guidance on how to structure accordingly). This project is a collaboration between the U.S. Army and other partners, including Tennessee Technical College and James Clemens High School.

World Wildlife Fund: Teaching Resources

Welcome to the World Wildlife Fund's Wild Classroom, where you will find a Lesson Library of toolkits and resources that bring conservation ideology and the natural world to your learning space (even if it is remote). Toolkits are curated by theme, such as a specific animal (e.g. elephant or dolphin) or more general topic (e.g. biodiversity or food waste). Kits include teaching guides and comprehensive activities that span multiple subject areas, from STEM to art. Readers should note they will need to create a free account to access many of the materials. Additionally, in response to school closures, the site launched a "day-by-day activity plan to help keep kids learning, thinking, and having fun," (and to provide a respite for caregivers, too). These Wild Classroom Daily Activity Plans (accessible by clicking the link in the Weekly Activities Plans to Do at Home box near the top of the page) include articles, activities, games, and videos designed for "higher elementary to middle school grade levels." The Conservation in the Classroom section of the Educational Resources page also highlights livestream events and related tools of interest to educators. Looking for more information about the World Wildlife Fund? The site in its entirety has a wealth of resources related to their mission to "develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect communities [and] wildlife."

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 AACC John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute [CANCELLED] Washington, DC
Info The National Cyber Summit [POSTPONED] Huntsville, AL
Info Preparing the Drone Workforce Webinar Series (Session 1 of 4) Online
Mfg All Girls Intro EV3 Robotics Camp (Middle School) Tampa, FL
Bio/Chem BIO International Convention 2020 Online
Info CCNA 1 Instructor Certification (CCSI) for Teachers Online
Mfg Summer 2020 Acoustic Institutes [POSTPONED] Dayton, OH
Info GeoEd 20 Conference Online
Gen Addressing Questions on ATE Grants Management During Covid-19 Online
Info Preparing the Drone Workforce Webinar Series (Session 2 of 4) Online
Info Recruiting Women to Cybersecurity Online
Info Keys to Sustain & Thrive in Your Career Webcast Online
Gen NSF Grant Writing Workshop Online
Info CCNA 2 Instructor Certification (CCSI) for Teachers Online
Mfg Intro EV3 Robotics Camp (Middle School) Tampa, FL
Mfg Summer 2020 Electric Guitar Institutes [CANCELLED] San Antonio, TX
Info Working with ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, UAS, and Earth Imagery Online
Info Drone Tech Unmanned Aircraft Systems Workshop Online
Info Preparing the Drone Workforce Webinar Series (Session 3 of 4) Online
Mfg Comprehensive Workforce Solutions Webinar Online
Info CCNA 3 Instructor Certification (CCSI) for Teachers Online
Mfg Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camp (All) Tampa, FL
Info Intrusion Detection for Cybersecurity Online
Mfg Summer 2020 CNC Institutes [CANCELLED] Kankakee, IL
Info Preparing the Drone Workforce Webinar Series (Session 4 of 4) Online
Ag/Env Delaware STEM Educator Energy Institute [CANCELLED] Dover, DE
Mfg Engineering Technology Camp (High School ONLY) Tampa, FL
Ag/Env Wisconsin STEM Educator Solar Institute [CANCELLED] 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 [CANCELLED] Enfield, CT
Ag/Env Illinois STEM Educator Wind Energy Institute [CANCELLED] Normal, IL
Mfg Summer 2020 Electric Guitar Institutes Perkasie, PA
Bio/Chem High Impact Technology Exchange Conference 2020 Online
Gen 2020 ESA Annual Meeting Online
Mfg Summer 2020 CNC Institutes Grants Pass, OR
Info DroneTECH Educator's Workshop - Taking Your Drone to School Thief River Falls, MN
Gen Working with Remote Sensing Imagery in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro Online
Info DroneTECH Summer Camp Thief River Falls, MN
Ag/Env Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute [CANCELLED] Shoreline, WA
Mfg Career Success Skills 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

STEM for All: The National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT) Showcases Their Work

The National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT) participated in the 2020 STEM for All Video Showcase: Learning from Research and Practice. This showcase features 171 videos from federally funded innovatives aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching. The week-long event (May 5-12) invites researchers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public to view the short (3-minute or less) videos, discuss them with the presenters online, and vote for their favorites. NCAT's video "The Future Workforce Begins with a Spark" highlights student competitions and STEM engagement designed to inspire students and open doors for people ultimately leading to a better society.

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

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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