Category Archives: Professional Development

Makers By Design NSF Grant

3D printing in progress, a real hand is touching a 3D printed-hand

Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses

Makers By Design (MBD) will strengthen the engineering technology pathways by providing professional learning for K-12 teachers, running digital fabrication summer camps, and hosting design challenges. The project is aligned with NSF and aims to broaden participation in STEM through community outreach and engagement. Makers By Design seeks to create a community of practice among engineering educators involved in community-based makerspaces at public libraries, private organizations, public school systems, colleges, and universities.

Outcomes:

Each Year, the MBD grant provides 5 days of professional learning focused on Design Thinking for 12 educators, digital fabrication summer camps for 96 middle and high school students, bi-annual design challenges for secondary and post-secondary students, and a digital lesson plan repository focused on design thinking and digital fabrication.

MBD Grant Flip Book


Design Thinking Fellowship:

NOVA will be recruiting for their second cohort of Design Thinking Fellows later this year. This NSF-sponsored program is open to college faculty, middle and high school teachers, and informal STEM learning professionals.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and non-linear way.

During this 9-month fellowship, participants will learn how to integrate design thinking into their pedagogy through a professional learning institute, teach during a 1-week summer camp, and lead their classes through a design challenge. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,200 for participation.

Applications will be available in late Fall 2023. Contact systemic@nvcc.edu with any additional questions.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, The IET Interface, at http://newsletter.novastem.us to keep up with application information and other fellowship opportunities at NOVA.


Makers By Design Grant Abstract:

Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses Award Abstract #2055324

Manufacturing and engineering industries face a looming gap in skilled workers, with an estimated 2.4M positions projected to go unfilled by 2025. This project aims to help fill this gap by improving the preparation of the needed technical workforce. To do so, it will establish a Professional Learning program in design thinking pedagogy for secondary and postsecondary educators. The curriculum will focus on design thinking projects that involve digital fabrication techniques, including 3D printing, laser engraving, and Computer Numerical Control milling. The Professional Learning program is expected to improve the educator’ teaching practices and enable them to update existing curricula and lesson plans to better align with industry-relevant skills and techniques. The project also intends to create a community of practice around design thinking in digital fabrication that will build a beneficial network among secondary teachers, community college faculty, makerspace educators, and regional employers. It is expected that the project will support 36 secondary and post-secondary educators who will teach more than 3,000 K-12 and undergraduate students in the northern Virginia region. These students will have a greater interest in and be better prepared for technical careers in manufacturing and engineering.

The overarching goal of the project is to use Professional Learning to move digital fabrication instruction beyond the reproduction of simple objects. Instead, the project will train educators to use pedagogy and cognitive strategies to embed design thinking into their digital fabrication lessons and courses. As a result, students will learn to use design thinking to build complex, useful objects. The project’s specific aims include: (1) create a professional learning institute; (2) host digital fabrication summer camps at NOVA and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington; (3) host a semiannual design and digital fabrication challenge; and (4) establish an online resource library of projects and lesson plans created and refined by educators in the community of practice. The project is expected to advance: understanding of the pedagogies that help to develop student interest in manufacturing and engineering; the capacity for Professional Learning to facilitate the integration of design thinking into classrooms and makerspaces; and the extent to which a capstone design challenge may foster sustainable change in instructional practices. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

 

SySTEMic Fellowship

The SySTEMic Fellowship is a 10-month paid program designed to develop high school students, college students, and professional educators through hands-on experiences and training on vital STEM content with the opportunity to apply these concepts outside of the classroom to promote STEM education in Northern Virginia.

Those admitted to the program will choose one of three fields of focus: Fab Lab Makers, Robotics, and Micro Electronics. The program contains training sessions on the chosen field of focus, opportunities to contribute to existing programs, as well as a call to action to continue to implement ideas learned in the fellowship.

Training for Fellowships are scheduled for Sept 17 and Oct 1, 2022.

For more info contact Natasha Shuh-Nuhfer at nschuhnuhfer@nvcc.edu 

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, The IET Interface, at http://newsletter.novastem.us to keep up with application information and other STEM fellowship opportunities at NOVA.

Design Thinking Fellowship For Educators

Our first cohort of NOVA Design Thinking Fellows (high school teachers, informal STEM learning professionals and college faculty) is training with us at the NOVA Fab Lab to bring #DesignThinking to their students.

Applications for the second cohort of 12 Design Thinking Fellows will be available in the Fall. Sign Up for our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter for updates.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and non-linear way.

Design Thinking Fellow Activities:

  • Complete the Professional Learning (PL) Institute at NOVA’s Fab Lab, focused on digital fabrication and design thinking.
  • Practice teaching PL topics at a 1-week summer camp
  • Submit an entry to the bi-annual Fab Lab Design Challenge
  • Create and implement PL classroom activities

In all, Design Thinking Fellows complete 60 hours of professional development and receive a $2200 stipend.

This fellowship is funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant #2055324 entitled Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses

Data Center Tours and Career Info

Data Centers are on the rise, especially in Northern Virginia. Demand for Data Center Technicians is soaring and NOVA has the only fully accredited 2-year data center degree program in the state of Virginia.

Last month NOVA faculty and staff as well as Loudon County Public School educators participated in a tour of STACK Infrastructure, which is a leading data center company built from the ground up to address the full stack of client critical infrastructure needs, today and into the future.

Participants were guided through the facility by STACK employees and provided descriptions of data center equipment and procedures. TJ Ciccone, VP of critical operations STACK who also serves as a NOVA adjunct instructor in Data Center Operations (DCO), conducted the tour and educated participants on the mission-critical fields of DCO and engineering technology (ET).

Some of the points about Data Center careers that TJ Ciccone highlights are:

  • The pay is incredible. Students typically make $30-$35 with no experience.
  • Demand is very high in the field. There are 2 million people working data centers worldwide, with that number expected to increase to 2.2mil in the next five years. We need 40,000 people a year with very little outlets to create new candidates.
  • This is a career and not just a job. Outside of data center engineering, there are a multitude of career paths you can take once you are in. These include project management, sales, sales engineering, HR, legal, and more.
  • Data centers are global. You could literally transfer anywhere in the world.
  • Data center skills are transferable. You could work at any number of data center providers once you are trained on the theory of how they work.

NOVA faculty and staff were able to network with LCPS educators and provide them with information such as the points above for upcoming NOVA programs that will help build pipelines for K-12 students into the DCO and ET career fields.

More tours of STACK are currently planned for April 22 and May 20. Contact TJ Ciccone at tciccone@nvcc.edu for more information.

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #HighTechHighWage

Engineering Tech Externship Program at NOVA

NOVA has 2 exciting Externship opportunities for 1) Secondary Educators and 2) Industry Professionals in Engineering Technology. These externships are supported by an NSF DCO Tech Grant.

1) Externship For Secondary Educators
Register at: iet.novastem.us/Externship2 

>> For secondary school CTE administrators, teachers, and/or counselors who are interested in guiding students into a successful tech career.

This externship equips educators to build awareness for Engineering Technology (ET) and Data Center Operations (DCO) careers in the region and the educational pathways NOVA provides to prepare students for these in-demand and high-wage careers. Educator Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:

  1. Attend an industry tour of Micron Technology, where attendees will see the daily operations and gain insight into career opportunities in Engineering Technology. 
  2. Attend an industry tour of a data center, which will provide first-hand visuals of a data center’s daily operations. There will also be a presentation on data center careers and opportunities. 
  3. Attend a tour/professional development day at the NOVA Manassas Fab Lab. The goal is to create clear pathways and provide materials to guide high school students into NOVA’s Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations programs. 

Micron Tours: April 5th or May 16th
Data Center Tours: April 22nd, May 20th, or June 30th
NOVA Fab Lab Tours/PD Day: July 22nd or 29th 

>> Register at: iet.novastem.us/Externship2
>> For more info contact Matt Lambert at blambert@nvcc.edu

Click Here for more info about Engineering Technology at NOVA
Click Here for more info about Data Center Operations at NOVA


2) Externship For Industry Professionals
Register at iet.novastem.us/Externship

>> For engineering technology professionals and data center technicians to inspire the next generation of engineering technicians.

This externship engages professionals in the Engineering Technology industry to support high school students who are learning about technician careers, and equips professionals to teach NOVA’s engineering tech programs. Industry Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:

  1. An introduction to NOVA’s engineering technology programs and facilities.
  2. Learn credentials required to teach as an adjunct instructor at NOVA and explore the pathways to becoming a credentialed engineering technology or data center operations faculty member.
  3. Develop and deliver two lessons for the summer bridge program to inspire high school students to pursue careers in Engineering Technology.

Participants will attend an in-person professional development session at the NOVA Fab Lab (NOVA Manassas Trailside Building) on June 10th, where they will create their lesson presentation for NOVA’s Engineering Tech Summer Bridge Program, to be taught on either June 24th or 30th.

Virtual PD Sessions: May 5th, 12th, and 19th
In-Person PD Session: June 10th, 2022 at the NOVA Fab Lab
Bridge Program Instructing: June 24th or 30th

>> Register at iet.novastem.us/Externship
>> For more info contact Matt Lambert at blambert@nvcc.edu

Click Here for more info about Engineering Technology at NOVA
Click Here for more info about Data Center Operations at NOVA


Supporting Technology Programs at NOVA

NOVA IET: NOVA’s Information and Engineering Technology Program. Learn more about Information Technology, Engineering Technology, Data Center Operations, Cybersecurity, Information Systems Technology, and Cloud Computing https://www.nvcc.edu/iet.

NOVA SySTEMic: NOVA’s STEM Program to equip students for in-demand technology careers and expand regional capacity for STEM talent. Learn more about STEM Careers, NOVA Fab Lab activities, Summer Bridge Programs (in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Engineering Technology), STEM Camps, Teacher Professional Development, STEM Competitions, Expos, and more: https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #HighTechHighWage

Micro:bit Professional Development and Classroom Support with Kilmer Middle School

On October 27 & 28, NOVA STEM Coordinator Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer, and Education Support Specialist, Lisbeth Valladares introduced students in teacher Susie Fox’s class at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna to the BBC micro:bit.

Overall, 150 students at Kilmer Middle School, spread among five 90-minute classes over two days, donned their headphones and listened to Lisbeth explain the features of the micro:bit and how to use block coding to make it come alive. Ms. Fox served as on-site support, helping the students connect their micro:bits, troubleshoot their coding, and share their screens if they ran into any technical issues.

SySTEMic was thrilled to be able to provide professional development and classroom support via a virtual format. Ms. Fox will use this collaborative experience to teach the content on her own in Spring 2022. Much of the materials used were previously created in partnership with Prince William County Schools to advance computer science education and are available for free to all Virginia educators on #GoOpenVA.

NOVA Fiber-Optic Fusion Splicing Course Makes News

Northern Virginia’s skilled workers — including many NOVA students and alumni — build, operate and maintain our region’s critical infrastructure. Exciting programs like this support an inclusive innovation economy and prepare our talented and diverse students for high-demand, high-wage jobs and careers that will keep Northern Virginia on the leading edge of technology well into the future.

~ NOVA President Dr. Anne Kress


NOVA’s IET Division was happy to partner with Amazon.com Inc. on October 13th and 14th for a fiber-optic fusion splicing course and career networking session. Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Inc., an optic fiber manufacturer and data center solutions provider based in Raleigh, North Carolina, also partnered in the course and networking session on Wednesday and Thursday. The event was held in the WRC Building on the Woodbridge campus, and with almost 40 students participating and completing the training, it was a huge success.

Northern Virginia is home to the largest data center market in the world and is nearly equal to the 2nd through 5th largest US markets combined. When you add this with the increased demand for broadband technology and access, you can see the rapidly growing need for skilled labor for the data center industry and the supporting companies. Opportunities like this give NOVA students industry credentials to explore careers even during their educational journey and add value to their resumes for future employment efforts.

Fiber-optic cabling is made of glass fibers inside a casing that transmits data through signals, including for internet, television and phone services — technology that’s critical to the build-out of communication networks and data centers. Participants in this week’s course, the first installment in Greater Washington, learned how to install and repair fiber optics and met with local employers, an AWS spokesperson said.

Check out the article from the Washington Business Journal

 

Upcoming Virtual STEMinars

We have launched Virtual STEMinars, led by STEM staff and faculty, so you never have to distance yourself from project-based learning! Most of these video-recorded or virtually live sessions are offered for free and cover a broad range of STEM topics. Sessions include introductions to design software, computer programming, electronics such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, 3D scanning, makerspace/fabrication equipment, robotics, and more.

STEMinars are designed to be an online resource for the community and will walk you through sample projects and design challenges so that you can develop STEM skills. Registration is required at least 24 hours before a session starts. Sessions run 30-60 minutes depending upon age level and topic.

NOVA staff are working remotely to make additional STEMinars available in the coming months so be on the lookout for new offerings on our website and social media.


Upcoming STEMinars


STEMinar: Cybersecurity Workshops – Free
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00-12:50pm starting March 19 through April 16
Check out our popular virtual Cyber Workshops, presented in partnership with ISACA and NOVA faculty and staff. All sessions have different topics and speakers and are recorded for future playback. Topics include Continuity of Operations for the Home, Personal Security Tradecraft, Cyber for High School Students, Teachers, & Parents, and more.

> Register Now

For videos from past workshops click here


Intro to Programming with Python – Free
Wednesdays 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29 at 2pm
Python is a programming language used to develop software on the web and in app form, including mobile. It’s easy to learn, and can be used to process text, display numbers or images, solve scientific equations, and save data.

Intro to Python: Mad Libs (I/O, variables) – 4/8
Learn about basic keyboard input, terminal output, and variables by writing a simple Mad Libs game.

Python Branching: Text Adventure Game (if/elif/else) – 4/15
Explore how to make decisions on the fly with if/elif/else statements in order to create a simple text adventure game.

Python Looping: Guessing Game (repetition) – 4/22
Examine and use ‘while’ loops to have your user guess a random number until they run out of tries or get it correct. We’ll explore the dynamics of user feedback as well as scoring.

Python Collections: Hangman (managing lots of items) – 4/29
After a brief intro to Python’s built-in list collection, we’ll use these data structures to implement a simple version of the classic word-guessing game Hangman.

> Register Now


Bubbles & Math: Design a 3D Printed Bubble Wand – $15 for Project Kit
Thursday 4/9 (10am) & Tuesday 4/21 (7pm)
Participants design a bubble wand in TinkerCAD and then their design is 3D printed and shipped! An instructor will guide the participant step-by-step through the process of designing in TinkerCAD via recorded video or live webinar. TinkerCAD is a free, user friendly computer aided design software that allows for the design of 3D structures.  Final bubble wand designs will be sent to the instructor for 3D printing.  Then, the custom bubble wands and supplemental learning resources will be mailed to participant.  Additionally, participants will learn about calculating the dimensions of a circle (circumference and radius) and factors affecting the surface tension of a liquid.

Learning Outcomes – Participants will be able to:
(1) Design a bubble wand in TinkerCAD.
(2) Calculate the circumference and radius of a circle.
(3) Describe factors that affect the surface tension of a liquid.

 > Register Now


Introduction to SketchUp – Free
Thursday 4/23 (7pm) & Friday 5/8 (2pm) 
SketchUp is a premier 3D design software that truly makes 3D modeling for everyone, with a simple to learn yet robust toolset that empowers you to create whatever you can imagine.

> Register Now


Robotics Competitions: A Strategic Approach – Free
Mondays 4/13, 4/20, 4/27, 5/4 (4-5pm) – VEX IQ
Wednesdays 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6 (4-5pm) – VEX VRC
Learn how to start the robotics season right! Afnan Ali, a world champion roboticist, will spend an hour each week working through game strategy. Participants will learn how to analyze and breakdown previous year’s games as well as document strategies that lead toward successful robot prototypes. This introduction on how to apply the engineering design process to competitive robotics is a great introduction for students, parents and mentors. Suitable for ages 10 and up.

 > Register Now


LED Emojis & Electric Circuits – $15 for LED Emoji Project Kit
Monday 4/13 (10am) & Monday 4/27 (7pm)
Learn about basic circuitry through the amazing world of sewable electronics with this hands-on STEM Challenge. In this project, participants create a light up emoji with conductive thread and sewable electronic components. An instructor will guide the project via a recorded video or live webinar. All materials and support resources will be directly shipped to participant before the live webinar (or video access).

Learning Outcomes – Participants will be able to:
(1) Build a basic circuit that includes a switch and LED.
(2) Describe a short circuit and electrical conductivity.

> Register Now


Cloud Computing Series – Free
Mondays 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 5/25 (12pm)

Session 1: Cloud Computing 101
4/20/20 12pm
In this session, we will discuss the basics every general user should know about the cloud. We will debunk cloud computing myths and go over the fundamentals of Cloud Computing.

Session 2: Cloud Computing Models
4/27/20 12pm
In this session, we will discuss the cloud options every business leader should know when considering the cloud as a business solution. We will review and discuss the differences between the four types of Cloud Deployments (i.e., Public and Private) and three Service Models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS).

Session 3: Cloud Computing Roles and Responsibilities
5/4/20 12pm
In this session, we will discuss the primary cloud roles and responsibilities every student and technology professional should know. We will review the key roles, responsibilities, career paths, competencies, and certifications.

Session 4: Cloud Computing Services and Capabilities
5/11/20 12pm
In this session, we will discuss the primary services and capabilities that all IT students, professionals, and leaders should know. We will review AWS Core Services and Capabilities.

Session 5: Cloud Computing Security Framework Fundamentals
5/18/20 12pm
In this session, we will discuss the Cloud Security, Compliance, and Risk fundamentals that all IT and Cybersecurity Students, professionals, and leaders should know. We will review Security Control Frameworks, Risk Management Frameworks, the fundamentals of Legal/Regulatory Compliance, and the key AWS Security Services.

Session 6: Cloud Computing Architecture
5/25/20 12pm
In this session, we will discuss the fundamentals of designing cloud architectures that all IT and Cybersecurity Students, professionals, and leaders should know. We will review the fundamentals of cloud solution architecture, AWS Well-Architected Framework,  and the AWS Architecture Tools and best practices.

 > Register Now


STEMinar: Introduction to Inkscape – Free
April 14 (7pm) & April 30 (7pm)
This session provides an overview of the free software program called Inkscape, which helps the user transform ideas into a digital representation, which can then be converted to a physical product.

> Register Now 


STEMinar: 3D Scanning – Free
April 14 (7pm) & May 1 (7pm)
3D scanning allows users to copy real objects for editing on software. Learn about the present and future possibilities of 3D modeling. We’ll discuss the current technologies such as Photogrammetry and 3D scanners and more emergent technologies such as NeRF (Neural Radiance Fields). 

> Register Now 


Build a Solar Car – $25 for Solar Car Project Kit
Friday 4/17 (10am) & Friday 5/1 (10am)
Participants will build a solar car with a 3D printed chassis (car frame) that they designed in TinkerCAD.  An instructor will guide the participant step-by-step through the process of designing in TinkerCAD via recorded video or live webinar on April 17th.  TinkerCAD is a free, user friendly Computer Aided Design software that allows for the design of 3D structures.  Final solar car chassis designs will be sent to the instructor for 3D printing.  Then, the 3D printed chassis, solar car parts, and supplemental learning resources will be mailed to participant to build their car!

Learning Outcomes – Participants will be able to:
(1) Design a solar car chassis in TinkerCAD.
(2) Build a working solar car.
(3) Describe how a solar panel generates electricity.

> Register Now


 

Fab Lab – Upcoming Workshops

WORKSHOPS: 

Code & Operate a Mini Robotic Car! – March 16
Participants will learn to program and operate a small robotic car.  Activities include use of different sensors (ultrasonic, IR, color), line-following, and driver versus autonomous control.

Laser Cutting & Engraving – March 17 & April 7
Participants will learn how to use a laser system to cut and engrave acrylic and glass.  Participants will be able to keep the items they make, including an engraved drinking glass.  For beginners.

Intro to 3D Design & Printing – March 21
Would you like to learn how to draw and 3D print a design? Do you have no to little experience with CAD (computer aided design) software and 3D printing?  If so, then this is the class for you!

Creating Prototypes & Solving Design Challenges – March 24
Participants will learn to use various machinery (3D printer, plastic forming center, wire bender, etc.) and a CAD (computer aided design) software program to solve design challenges.

Arduino & Raspberry Pi – March 24 & 31
Participants will learn how to build circuits with Arduino and how to build their very own website using Raspberry Pi.  This workshop is intended for beginners with no experience.

Mother’s Day Gift Making – April 29
Use your creativity and some technology to create a Mother’s Day gift at the NOVA Fab Lab!  We will help you design and personalize a gift using one of our 3D printers.  No 3D printing experience necessary.

>> Click here for more details and to register for workshops

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Community Open House – March 14
Open to the public with free hands-on activities for all age levels!  Click here to Register

Thursday Demo Nights
Each Thursday we will be giving an overview and demonstration on how a specific piece (or group) of fabrication equipment works.  Register here

 

Teacher Professional Development Update

NOVA SySTEMic launched its 2019-2020 series of professional development sessions for middle and high school teachers on October 3rd at NOVA’s Pender campus in Fairfax. Over 50 teachers from Alexandria City, Manassas Park City, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William school districts attended a full day of hands-on technical training in cybersecurity, programming, or robotics. Teachers became students for the day as they learned about coding and using Arduino, played with VEX robotics systems, and explored advanced topics in cybersecurity. Teachers will continue their training with additional full-day professional development throughout the 2019-2020 school year, with the next session on November 13th.

Check out some of our brief social media video posts from the Oct 3rd workshops:
Robotics
Cybersecurity
Programming
Teacher Endorsement