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

Preparing and Evaluating ATE Proposals

From The Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC):

NSF ATE Program Funding & Mentor-Connect Overview

This video from the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) is part of a series of seminars on micro nano technologies and issues in the field. In this video, Mel Cossette, Elaine Craft, and Greg Kepner describe what Mentor-Connect is and how the MNT-EC can mentor participants in writing National Science Foundation (NSF) grant proposals. The video runs 34:25 minutes in length.

From EvaluATE: Evaluation Resource Center for Advanced Technological Education:

Adapting Evaluations in the Era of Social Distancing

This webinar, made available by EvaluATE: Evaluation Resource Center for Advanced Technological Education (ATE), provides strategies for adapting ATE evaluations for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered include: changes in inputs and/or resources in the logic model; how these changes affect project activities, outcomes, and evaluations questions and criteria; how to be proactive and aid in decision-making; prioritizing project activities; and more.

From EvaluATE: Evaluation Resource Center for Advanced Technological Education:

Next-Level Logic Models for Your ATE Proposal and Beyond

This webinar, from the EvaluATE team, discusses logic models as a visual representation of a project's activities and intended outcomes. The video demonstrates how logic models illuminate underlying logic and assumptions, how models can be used to structure evaluation plans, and how models can build a collective understanding of project outcomes across stakeholder groups. In the video, Lyssa W. Becho PI of EvaluATE ,defines what a logic model is; highlights the parts of a logic model; demonstrates how viewers can use a logic model; and considers project planning, proposal writing, and evaluation planning. The webinar provides a Q&A break and concludes with a survey.

Community Connection

National Science Foundation "Dear Colleague" Letters

In addition to program descriptions, announcements, and solicitations, "Dear Colleague" letters (DCLs) are an important category of funding opportunities made available by the National Science Foundation (NSF). According to the most recent Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, "DCLs are intended to provide general information to the community, clarify or amend an existing policy or document, or inform the NSF community about upcoming opportunities or special competitions for supplements to existing awards." DCLs are often issued in response to major natural or man-made events, such as recent requests for rapid response research proposals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also are issued to bring attention to focal areas of research or specific types of proposals.

For members of the ATE community, paying attention to DCLs can be a useful way to find new funding or supplement existing research funds. The NSF will issue such letters throughout the year to highlight areas of science or types of proposals that are of particular interest.

Read the most recent ATE Impacts blog post for information about several DCLs that will be relevant to members of the ATE community.

ATE Success Tips: Outreach

When to Post on Social Media Platforms

There are many considerations to take into account when crafting a social media post. One of the least understood, however, is when to post. It may seem like an insignificant factor, but people are more likely to engage with social media on certain days and certain hours of the day. Thankfully, it's fairly simple to schedule posts at times that will maximize audience engagement.

Analytics from Hootsuite (a popular platform for scheduling social media content) suggest that Facebook posts will find the most engagement between 8:00 am and noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. More generally, Facebook users tend to engage mid-mornings on weekdays.

Instagram has a similar algorithm to Facebook (they are owned by the same company), so it makes sense that weekday mid-mornings would also be favored. Hootsuite data pinpoint 11:00 am on Wednesdays as the best time, although there is also a spike in engagement in the early evening as people tend to leave work.

Again, mornings are favored for single tweets or long threads. Hootsuite's data point to 8:00 am on Mondays and Thursdays as the best times to post. Generally, Twitter seems to drive engagement earlier in the morning than Facebook or Instagram. This makes sense, considering that many folks use Twitter to get the news as they start their workday.

Early mornings are also the preferred time to post on LinkedIn. Hootsuite data suggest 9:00 am on Tuesdays and Wednesday as peak engagement times. However, LinkedIn's algorithms favor quality and relevance more than recency, so the time of posting is less important for this platform.

Many members of the ATE community create video content such as webinars. The data on when to post new videos is less clear, but seems to suggest that weekends are favored over weekdays. That may be because videos take longer to view than single posts, and viewers have more leisure time outside of work hours.

In summary, your best bet overall is to post on weekday mornings. Early mornings may be better for Twitter and LinkedIn, while mid-mornings may be better for Facebook and Instagram. However, it is important to consider factors such as time zone (both yours and your primary audience's), holidays or major events, and feedback from your audience.

Did You Know?

A recent analysis from the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) suggests that 2021 high school graduates missed out on $3.75 billion in Pell Grants by failing to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This represents an 60% increase in the amount of unclaimed Pell Grants from 2017.

The authors posit that this increase is due to the fact that fewer graduating seniors completed the FAFSA, citing factors such as the pandemic. Read more about the data and methodology of this report, "NCAN Report: $3.75 Billion in Pell Grants Goes Unclaimed for High School Class of 2021."

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Teaching Genetics with Dragons

Forget boring Punnett square diagrams and embrace the challenge of distilling complex genetics content into understandable and enjoyable lessons with some help from Teaching Genetics with Dragons. Readers can add some fire to genetics lessons with this platform that uses mythical creatures as a launching point for scientific discovery. Though dragons and genetics may not be an obvious pair, these games prove that creativity is boundless. Three games are available: Geniventure, Geniverse, and Genigames. The Summary of Features table on the landing page compares each game, noting the appropriate grade level, topics covered, length of curriculum, and other key features. The games share a core theme, teaching players about phenotypes, genotypes, meiosis, gametes, inheritance, and other aspects of genetics. Readers should note that the games are most compatible with recent versions of Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge web browsers. Additionally, users will have to create a free account to play. Teaching Genetics with Dragons is a project of The Concord Consortium, a nonprofit educational research and development organization, and is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Vectors: Motion and Forces in Two Dimensions

From the Physics Classroom, "an online, free to use physics website developed primarily for beginning physics students and their teachers," comes this series of lessons about vectors. These lessons are designed for use as an interactive, multimedia textbook, providing teachers with a useful instructional tool and students with a useful study aid. Divided into three main lessons (Vectors: Fundamentals and Operations, Projectile Motion, and Forces in Two Dimensions), this textbook includes a variety of accessible explanations, real-world examples, helpful diagrams, animations, and practice problems. One especially useful feature of this resource is that the solutions to problem sets are hidden from users until they select a link, allowing students to test their skills and understanding. In addition, embedded hyperlinks let students quickly look up vocabulary terms or concepts as they read or work through a problem.

HHMI BioInteractive: Diversity of Organisms

BioInteractive is a website created by science education specialists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and hosts a rich collection of award-winning online resources for the biology classroom. Its Diversity of Organisms page contains a number of resources about characteristics, classification, and evolution of different organisms. One highlight of this page is its engaging short films: Popped Secret explains how scientists identified that modern day corn was cultivated from the teosinte plant and The Guide: A Biologist in Gorongosa, directed by Academy Award winner Jessica Yu, is a portrait of a young Mozambique boy who decides to pursue a career in biology in order to preserve Gorongosa National Park. BioInteractive also excels at providing accessible visualizations that illuminate biological processes, such as the lifecycle of a virus. Finally, BioInteractive includes an innovative, interactive activity called "WildCam Gorongosa" where students can examine 52 photographs from Gorongosa National Park and, with the aid of some online tools, see if they can identify animals.

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
Nano Intro to Nano for Educators Workshop Online
Eng The Toyota Mirai 2 FCV – A Serious Competitor to State-of-the-Art BEVs? Online
Gen Is This a Fundamental Alteration? Using the Interactive Process Properly Online
Eng 2022 Demand Analysis Presentation Online
Info NCCE 2022 Seattle, WA
Eng Ultra-Fast Charging System For Electric Urban Delivery Vehicles Online
Gen Moving Up! Strategies for Preparing YOUR Next ATE Project Proposal Online
Eng Connected by Drones Zoom Webinar Online
Eng DRONETECH RADC Tournament Thief River Falls, MN
Eng UAV Technology USA Conference 2022 Arlington, VA
Mfg 2022 ASEE Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration (CIEC) Tempe, AZ
Ag/Env Professional Development: Program Sustainability - East Coast Fort Pierce, FL
Gen 2022 ATHEN Virtual STEM Accessibility Conference Online
Eng Spectrum Innovates Pathway Program (SIPP) Virtual Info Session Online
Mfg NCNGM Supply Chain Webinar Online
Ag/Env Increasing Community Resilience to Extreme Weather and Environmental Hazards Online
Gen How to Develop an ADA Faculty Training Program Online
Gen The Art and Science of Asking Meaningful Evaluation Questions Online
Gen The Science of Teaching San Francisco, California
Mfg ET Forum Tech Talks: Machine Learning in Smart Manufacturing Online
Gen Arts Integration & STEAM Summit Online
Mfg NCNGM Mechatronics Webinar Online
Gen IMS Digital Credentials Summit Atlanta, Georgia
Eng Minnesota Transportation Conference & Expo St. Paul, MN
Gen Working with STEM Experts - If Only There Was a Guide....Now There Is! Online
Eng Vision KC – Automotive Hi-Tech Training And Expo Overland Park, KS
Info Free Workshop Series - Exploiting Systems Online
Eng Optical Fiber Communications Conference and Exhibition (OFC) San Diego, CA
Eng STEAM Leadership Conference 2022 Atlanta, GA
Eng 2022 International Women In Aviation Conference Nashville, TN
Info Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) 2022 Cleveland, OH
Mfg NCNGM Welding Webinar Online
Eng 2022 Minnesota Aviation Maintenance Technician Conference Brooklyn Center, MN

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

ASEE Workforce for Industry 4.0 Webinar Series: Upcoming Webinar

As part of the ongoing Workforce for Industry 4.0 Webinar Series, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) will present the webinar "Community Colleges and ATE Programs Addressing Workforce for Industry 4.0." This event will take place on Friday, February 4, 2022, from noon to 1:30 pm (EST).

The webinar will feature comments from ATE Program Director Celeste Carter, a short talk by Stanley Black and Decker VP Marty Guay, and a moderated panel featuring PIs from five ATE centers. Attendees will also receive information about collaboration resources and new funding opportunities.

Interested community members can register for the webinar or find more information on the Industry Workforce 4.0 page.

Register Now to Present at the 2022 STEM for All Video Showcase

Members of the ATE community are invited to register to present a short video about their centers or projects for the 2022 STEM for All Video Showcase, which will take place May 10-17, 2022. This week-long event is a great opportunity to showcase your work to an audience of thousands of researchers, educators, and policymakers from around the world.

The theme of this year's showcase is "Access, Inclusion & Equity." Successful videos will describe the need that the project addresses, the intervention, innovation, or research, and the potential impact of the work.

Participants must register their intent to present a video by February 11, 2022. Visit the STEM For All page to get more information, view sample videos, or learn about previous showcases.

Encourage Students to Participate in the 2022 Community College Innovation Challenge

The American Association of Community Colleges, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, is inviting community college students to participate in the 2022 Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). In this national competition, teams of community college students work with a faculty or administrator mentor to use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems.

Members of the ATE community are encouraged to share this opportunity with their students and to serve as faculty mentors. Benefits of participation include full travel support to attend an Innovation Boot Camp in the Washington, DC, metro area, as well as cash awards.

Submissions are due March 30, 2022. Visit the CCIC page for more information and submission guidelines, or email for questions.

Apply Now for Implementing Nano Working Groups (INWG)

The Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge Resource Center (NACK) is offering a series of four Implementing Nano Working Group (INWG) sessions designed to help participants cultivate ideas or implement readily available, nanotechnology-based resources, facilitated by experienced nanotechnology educators from across the country.

Sessions will begin after March 15, 2022. Exact dates and times will be determined once groups are defined. Participation is open to all, but U.S. high school and undergraduate institution educators with prior nanoknowledge experience are eligible for stipends.

Interested community members should submit their application by the deadline of March 1, 2022.

Free Curriculum Pilot: Multi-Level Robotics Courses

The Clemson University Center for Workforce Development has developed a four-track robotics digital learning package to deploy to partner institutions. Through Fall 2022, the center will be piloting robotics curricula for the high school, associate, bachelor, and master levels, including courseware in virtual reality simulations, video lectures, open text, and interactive assessments.

The center is looking for instructors to participate in a free pilot program using the curricula, to provide feedback on the courseware in the form of instructor and student survey responses. The first 25 instructors to register for the pilot program with 10 students or more will receive an honorarium.

There is no deadline to apply. Interested instructors should fill out the course access request form or contact the center for more information about the curricula.

NSF to Invest in Future Manufacturing Through 22 Projects Nationwide

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded more than $30 million in research grants and project seed grants as part of the Future Manufacturing program. These awards are intended to promote U.S. competitiveness in transformational manufacturing, including biomanufacturing, cyber manufacturing, and eco manufacturing.

The research projects, which include four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and corporations, will "investigate areas to transform the predictability, security, reliability and efficiency" of advanced manufacturing.

Read more about the awards and the grantees in this announcement from NSF.

Google Will Make Four Career Certificates Available to Community Colleges

Google announced recently that it would make its career certificates available for free to community colleges in the U.S. These certificates, which cover information technology, data analytics, project management, and user experience design, are intended to support workforce development of highly in-demand digital skills.

The certificates have been recommended by the American Council on Education as equivalent to 12 credits or 4 full courses at the undergraduate level. The state of Connecticut will offer for-credit courses using Google's IT Support Certification for the Spring 2022 semester.

Read more about the announcement in this article from CNBC.

Microsoft to Support Cybersecurity Training Efforts at Community Colleges

Microsoft recently announced an initiative to support cybersecurity workforce training at community colleges across the country. The software company will reportedly provide scholarships or other financial assistance to 25,000 students over the next 4 years and support instructor professional development at 150 community colleges, in addition to free curriculum materials.

The efforts come in the wake of recent high profile cybersecurity breaches, such as the SolarWinds attack, that have alarmed policymakers and companies.

Read more about the announcement in this article from Reuters.

Call for Submissions for New ATE Journal

The Journal of Advanced Technological Education (J ATE) is a new peer-reviewed technical journal focused on technician education at community colleges. J ATE is now welcoming submissions to be published in upcoming issues. For members of the ATE community, publishing in a peer-reviewed technical journal like J ATE will be an excellent way to disseminate work, promote technical education programs, and share research with like-minded educators and the wider technical education community.

There is no cost to publish, access, and read the journal. In addition, there are no subscription or submission fees. J ATE authors are invited from ATE projects and centers, community college faculty, university education researchers, and industry personnel. Our target audience will include community and technical college faculty and staff, as well as K-12 educators, industry members, and those readers with interests in micro-nano technology and related fields, NSF ATE, and technician education. The journal is supported by the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) with participation from InnovATEBIO (The National Center for Bio Technologies), the National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT), and the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing.

J ATE will include:

  • Articles and short communications on a variety of topics relevant to teaching and learning in technician education at all levels. This will include innovative pedagogical methods and related research.
  • Articles that demonstrate new educational activities, lab experiments, instructional methods and pedagogies that can be adopted in community and technical colleges.


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