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: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

From Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange:

Advanced Skills Needed By Technicians Working With Current And Future Vehicles

This webinar is part of a series of Mindful Mobility Tech Talks hosted by the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition. In the webinar, Bruce Emerson, Ben Cruz, and Mark Quarto present on skill requirements for vehicle technicians. Emerson highlights the training and education needs for engineering technicians, which includes information on microcontrollers, learning models, troubleshooting, and diagnostics. Cruz explores automotive industry trends, such as the emergence of automated and electric vehicle technologies, and the new skills and education requirements they demand. Cruz also considers the history of electronic and electromechanical controls, connected and automated vehicles, the technician skills gap, and a vehicle engineering technician program. Quarto explores barriers, challenges, and solutions for vehicle electrification.

From Center for Advanced Automotive Technology:

Creation of a Cybersecurity Course for Automotive Technicians

This presentation was given by Nelson Kelly, Assistant Director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) in 2021. During the presentation, Kelly talks about meeting with automotive industry experts and determining that an automotive cybersecurity course was needed as part of the education of future automotive technicians. Kelly discusses his experience with the creation of an Automotive Cybersecurity course that was developed to be included in the Automotive Technology, Vehicle Engineering Technician (VET) Associate Degree at Macomb Community College.

From Preparing Students for Technical Careers in Autonomous Technologies for Commercial Trucks and Off-Highway Vehicles:

Community Connection

From the Archive: Contextualized Math for College Students

The latest ATE Impacts blog post emphasizes the importance and challenges of mastering basic mathematics in STEM education. The post highlights three ATE projects that employ creative methodologies to make mathematical concepts more tangible by linking them to real-world contexts. One project aims to improve teaching by connecting mathematics with academic and occupational content, covering a wide range of concepts from algebra to applied mathematics in fields like welding and construction technology. Another project focuses on developing academic pathways in biotechnology, creating specialized manuals with real-world applications of algebra and trigonometry. Finally, the post features a collection of resources designed for intermediate algebra classes, with a focus on inspiring female students. Read more on the projects and resources on 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 any audience members who are using screen readers. Content scheduling platforms, such as Hootsuite, also have alt text features.
  • Add closed captioning and descriptive language to videos. Similar to still images, video contains a wealth of information that can be inaccessible to visually impaired or hearing impaired 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 social media audiences with visual impairments. 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] after the linked text. 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 Hootsuite's top tips on social media accessibility.

Did You Know?

According to an annual survey by New America, Americans exhibit a higher level of comfort with their tax dollars supporting community colleges compared to other sectors of higher education. The survey reveals that 82% of respondents feel at ease with their taxpayer dollars going to community colleges, surpassing the 69% comfort level for public four-year universities. Additionally, 58% of Americans believe that public two-year colleges are underfunded by states and the federal government, whereas 50% hold the same view regarding public funding for four-year institutions.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Science Comics: A Creative Gateway into Literacy and STEM

Science teachers who would like to incorporate art as a means of engaging their students in STEM topics may want to check out this lesson plan published by Science Friday. This standards-aligned lesson uses science comics as the foundation for "a multi-day series of activities which can be used to build science illustration and reading skills around any topic." In the first activity, students analyze a science comic series or graphic novel in small groups and discuss a series of provided questions. In the second activity, students work on developing their own comic styles by designing elements such as a color scheme and lettering style, and for the third activity, students apply their chosen comic style as part of the learning assessment for their instructor's STEM topic of choice. Links to numerous resources are provided, including "examples of science comics as well as empirical evidence of the positive impact that comics can have on science learning."

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.

Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Programs

The Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ETE) Program, which is housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, works to understand the development of ecosystems over very long periods of time - hundreds of millions of years, in fact. Using fossil records, ETE scientists use palaeoecological analyses to uncover a host of different patterns, evolutions, structures, and compositions of ecological communities and their ever changing dynamics. Readers may peruse the history of the ETE program, which dates to 1990, as well as the fascinating people behind it, such as researcher A. Kay Behrensmeyer. Under the Research tab, readers will find a helpful Glossary, as well as additional information about ETE projects and research in Kenya, Central Asia, South Africa, Wyoming, and other locales. An extensive list of ETE Publications is also available, and while complete articles are not accessible from the site, the reference list offers a look at the range of research that has been conducted over the years.

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 EvaluATE Webinar: Practical Strategies to Interpret Evaluation Findings Online
Gen Assistive Technology for Writing Online
Gen The Skills and Competencies Needed to Transform Higher Education for the Future of Work and Learning Online
Gen How to Teach Community College Students the Soft Skills Demanded by Employers Online
Mfg Defense Manufacturing Conference 2023 Nashville, TN
Info WASTC ICT Educators Winter Conference San Jose, CA
Mfg FCPN 2024 Symposium Jensen Beach, FL
Gen AACC Workforce Development Institute New Orleans, LA
Gen ATIA 2024 Conference Orlando, FL
Gen From Now to Next: The Decade-Long Journey of Generative AI in Higher Education 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.

News & Reminders

Newly Revamped ATE Outreach Kit Now Available

Whether you've already received funding from National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program or you're in the process of writing your first grant proposal, outreach and dissemination activities are critical to the work of your ATE project or center.

The newest version of the ATE Central Outreach Kit encourages you to walk through a process directly related to your outreach efforts - including pinpointing your primary audiences, considering the partners and resources that can support your work, and tackling issues like branding and messaging. You can use the provided Template & Table to record your answers, and use this information to develop a solid outreach plan. Go online to access all sections of the kit and download the accompanying Template & Table.

New Tool - Calendar Feed

The ATE Central Calendar Feed is an easy to customize tool that enables calendar feeds from the ATE Central Events Calendar to quickly be added to either the Outlook or the Mac Calendar app, and will then automatically display upcoming events of interest based on the keywords you include. You can use the feed to populate your personal calendar or to add lists of upcoming events to your ATE center or project website. For WordPress-based sites, free plugins like ICS Calendar will allow you to use a calendar feed to display a list of upcoming events on your WordPress site. You'll need to sign in to your ATE Central account to create a feed - and it's easy to change your selection of keywords to add or subtract areas of interest over time. We look forward to hearing from you as you utilize this new service and as always, we'd love to get your feedback or comments. Don't hesitate to reach out to the team with any questions at

ATE Impacts 2022-2023 Book Showcases Work of ATE Community

The ATE Impacts 2022-2023 book showcases the work of the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Community. This edition includes a foreword from United States President Joseph Biden. It features the work of 33 projects and 28 centers across the seven ATE areas, as well as applied research. By highlighting the ATE community's successful and innovative work, the book encourages broader participation in the ATE program by academic institutions, educators, and industry partners. Dissemination of the ATE Impacts book advances understanding of the importance of technician education and its role in supporting the high-tech industries that drive the United States' economy More information on the book can be found on the ATE Impacts website.

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