The Texas Institute for Educational Robotics (TIER) at Northwest Vista College has been awarded a grant from the Google Computer Sciences for High School program.
TIER is an outreach program at Northwest Vista College to get younger students interested in pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math and was awarded the money to give middle school teachers a gaming-type tool to use in teaching their regular classes.
Andrew Schuetze, director of the TIER program, said it’s important to expose kids to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs early, but middle schools don’t often have the funding for such labs.
The Google grant will allow Schuetze to create a training program for 12 middle school teachers this June.
Schuetze said he doesn't want the teachers to feel overwhelmed as if they have to teach another course, he just wants them to use this new tool to teach what they are already teaching.
"The idea is to teach this tool and see then if it can’t be used in an interdisciplinary way to teach some of the stuff they’re already teaching," he said.
Schuetze said the $12,500 grant will ultimately affect at least 300 middle students in the first year, and for every year after that as the teachers continue to use the paradigm to teach their regular curricula.