Course ED795A: Seminar

Artifact GPS Algebra Learning module

My group members, Jodi Kohler and Kelley Hundley, and I interned for Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center, Pacific, with the goal of creating a five-day GPS module for high school math students.

Our project was part of a mandate from the Department of Defense (DoD) called the National Defense Education Program (NDEP). The number of American students excelling in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and pursuing those subjects as a career, has been falling drastically since the Apollo program in the 1960’s. It is NDEP’s mission to raise awareness of the career opportunities that STEM sciences have to offer. One way that NDEP hopes to do this is by directly involving scientists and engineers (S&E’s) from government research laboratories in classrooms. NDEP’s mission is long on lofty goals, but short on details as to how to achieve them. This is where our module fits in. It was our client’s hope that the module we created could serve as a template for similar projects around the country, another ‘piece of the puzzle’ as it were.

Some of our greatest challenges was to juggle the interests and maintain the high expectations of all of our stakeholders.

  • Our client was a large government research laboratory and therefore had a very well defined protocol for the way that people interacted with one another and how information was shared.
  • The internship was part of our coursework for ED 795A.
  • Teachers would use the final product, so the content and planning needed to be usable in a classroom environment.
  • Each person in our group had their own busy schedules to plan around.

As the project leader I served as our liaison with SPAWAR, I led meetings with our client, and kept our group on schedule to reach our goal. Jodi and I worked on the mathematical reasoning and lesson planning while Kelley conducted research interviews and designed our final project for our client to use. My group members were extremely motivated and easy to work with from the very beginning of the project. The most difficult part of leading such a high-functioning group was trying to stay one step ahead of my team members while being careful not to stifle their motivation and creativity.

To keep ourselves organized we shared a Google Calendar, spoke with each other regularly via Skype, shared emails in a Google Group, and shared files using Google Docs. We used these social media to set clear goals, discuss ideas, and critique drafts of project pieces. Our group functioned well because everyone approached the project with integrity, respect, and a strong work ethic. We shared a singular focus on creating a high-quality final product for our client. This focus and the hard work of my teammates are what set this group experience apart from other group experiences I have had the pleasure being a part of.