Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My RET Experiences

I have been been able to create my scientific and teaching personality during last four week-long experiences at Northeastern University. I see lot of purpose in my stay and interactions. We are all geared to be better teachers disseminating cutting edge research and technology to our classrooms. There is strong emphasis on reflection and transferring research experience to day to day teaching. Interacting with young and bright scientists in labs where graduate students use state of the art facilities and are immersed in the rigor and depth of their research fields is a rewarding experience. There is variety in the programs in terms of field trips, professional development discussions, invited talks, and in-depth research.

I also feel fortunate to be part of Boston-Cambridge community. It is diverse and enriching. I will be visiting Centre of Nanoscale Research at Harvard University. It is a unique facility one of its kind. The museums in Cambridge and Boston area are fantastic. This has been a treat!!!!



Paul Chanley said...

Paul Chanley Program Coordinator of Engineering Science & Electronics Technology / Faculty
Northern Essex Community College, (NECC)
Boston University, High Tech Tools & Toys Lab, Professor Mike Ruane

Week five consisted of three unique activities. First, our team finalized the PCB board layout and ordered the board from the vendor. The board should be at BU by Friday. We will populate the board and test our circuit design. Second, I finalized my lesson plan and emailed it to Rocco. Also, I completed my power point presentation for next Weds. That too was emailed to Rocco. Finally, we have started the layout of the poster. It should be completed by weeks end.

The most valuable aspect of the RET experience to date is actually going through the engineering design process cycle. This cycle incorporated; manual calculations, software simulation, prototyping through breadboard and redesign. The final product of the RET experience will hopefully be a working electronic circuit that I can bring back to my courses for “show and tell.” I will be able to explain the engineering design process in detail and from experience.

The duration of a typical professional development activity is not as long as RET. Therefore, one can not get deeply involved in a subject as the RET program allows. I would highly recommend this experience to my colleagues.

Sam said...

RET Experience

Sam Perez
Adjunct Faculty at
MassBay Community College
Wellesley Hills, MA
Boston University, High Tech Tools & Toys Lab, Professor Mike Ruane

The fifth week of program saw dramatic updates to the autonomous U.S. Navy boat being constructed in our lab. The microcontroller (to control the rudder and propulsion) of the boat has been operational. Various modifications have been made to make the thermistor apparatus also work and collect various temperature readings in a body of water.

Just completed my Poster on "A Model for Infusing Engineering and Computer Science Concepts for Introduction to Computer Courses at Community Colleges".

One of the lasting impacts of this RET experience is it has rekindled my love for research. My last 7 years has been primarily on teaching and I've also applied to do a PhD in Computer Science and my Poster will be my springboard to create other more complex research papers and share them in a conference or a poster presentation.

Nothing beats the hands on experience on working in lab and the interaction and mentoring that one gets from Faculty in a lab environment. I liked that we were a "community of learners" and learning from other faculty on their best practices, downfalls and golden gems of knowledge.

Professor Brain said...

Raphael Matty, Newburyport high school, Chemistry, Dr. Barry UMASS Lowell. Template guided polymer transfer.

This week in the lab has been very busy, and I feel like we are behind in the poster and lesson plan. We have been waiting for data, in order to draw conclusions about what is happening, but the more we get, the more new things we are trying to look at. In short, I don't think we will be able to conclude anything.
The most valuable aspect of RET is the lesson plan. I mean we have to do the research in order to come up with a lesson plan, but the way I see it, RET gives me the time and money to sit down and make myself a better teacher. Most lesson plans that I create do not take 6 weeks to evolve, they usually take a few hours, or at most a few days. So they are not as well thought out.
This program is similar to other professional development in that we listen to people talk about theory and practice, we try to incorporate what ever that message is into a lesson for the students. It is different because it is science based, not generic. We are working in a field with people that know more about what we are doing than we do, so in a way we truly are students, making mistakes and not understanding. It reminds me of how my students feel when I teach them something new. (Lost)

Catherine Francis said...

This week I took the opportunity to visit US Army Natick Research, Development, and Engineering Center. I learned about the future soldier 2030 initiative, and how science and engineering will be vital in order to develop the correct textiles, armor, shelter, food, and technology for the future soldier. I visited many of the labs, and met the engineers and scientists who are currently working on this initiative.

In the lab, I continued using cultures of E. Coli in order to see how long it would take ultraviolet light to destroy the bacteria. This week we focused on the mutants that could survive prolonged periods of ultraviolet radiation. The ones that survived initially were cultured and subjected to another round of ultraviolet radiation to see if they would still survive.

Both of these experiences have contributed to my growth from being a part of the RET program at Northeastern this summer. It's important to be able to relate to students what actually goes on in science outside of the classroom. They will be more enthusiastic about science if it's related to the real world rather than through a textbook.

Catherine Francis

hpotters said...

My fifth week was good. Much last the last few. Our project is winding down. It seems like we will be able to make it to a good stopping point by the time we are done next week.

I attended the Natick Labs field trip on Thursday. It was a really great field trip and I hope to take some of my students in the future. I like that they have so many different applications of the science under one roof that they can really tailor the field trip to the subject area of interest. I'm very glad I had a chance to go on this field trip.

T.J. said...

Week 5 was a bit different than previous weeks because we spent time working on our poster and lessons in addition to working on the lab. In the lab, we had our biggest challenge yet: we were given actual EEG data (a lot of EEG data) and asked to make a program that differentiates between target and non-target signals. Progress is slow, and all of my attempts failed in some way (e.g. saying that every signal was a target signal). Hopefully in the brief time we have left in the lab we can make something work.