Video Conversation Series

We are excited to offer a free Video Conversation series for easy, inspiring, professional development. These webchats with leaders in PK-12 Engineering Education will be live, scheduled, events with lots of time for Q & A. A copy will be available for viewing on LinkEngineering and YouTube. And, of course, you can join the conversation before and after at If you are able to attend live and would like a participation certificate, email us.

Upcoming conversations:

Tuesday, October 23  4-5pm(ET) 
Defining STEM  with Greg Pearson and Anne Jolly

What do we mean when we talk about STEM? And how do we apply STEM to Pk-12 education? Is STEM the study of any one of the 4 subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math? Or, is STEM the integration of 2 or more subjects while solving real life problems? Does STEM offer something for students beyond career readiness?

If you find yourself a little confused, you are not alone. Join Greg Pearson, of the National Academy of Engineering and veteran educator, Anne Jolly, author of STEM by Design to talk about what makes a meaningful STEM experience.

Greg Pearson Profile PictureGreg Pearson is a Scholar with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington, D.C. Greg currently serves as the responsible staff officer for two NSF-funded projects, one examining the status, role, and needs of engineering technology education in the United States, the other addressing issues related to capacity building for K-12 engineering educators. He also directs the Chevron-funded LinkEngineering online resource that is helping guide implementation of PreK-12 engineering education in the United States. Previously, he has overseen projects addressing: STEM integration in K-12 education; standards for K-12 engineering education; the status and prospects for engineering in K-12 education; new messaging for the field of engineering (Changing the Conversation); technological literacy; and content standards for the field of technology education. He has degrees in biology and journalism.

AnneJollyAnne Jolly began her career as a lab scientist, caught the science teaching bug, and was recognized as an Alabama Teacher of the Year during her years as a middle grades science teacher. From 2007-2014 Anne was part of an NSF-funded team that developed middle grades STEM curriculum modules and teacher PD materials for the Mobile Area Education Foundation's Engaging Youth through Engineering (EYE) initiative. Anne has also teamed with science and math teachers to help them develop and implement their own STEM curriculum. Her book STEM By Design: Strategies & Activities for Grades 4-8 was published by Routledge/MiddleWeb in July 2016.


Thursday, November 1 1-2pm(ET) 
Family Engagement in Pk-12 Engineering Education with Linda Kekelis and Tara Chklovski

Studies have shown that parents have a powerful influence on students’ success in STEM and future careers. Parents and guardians can be advocates and support their child’s engagement in engineering activities if they are given some tools and encouragement.

Whether you work with kids in the classroom, an afterschool club, or a community program you can empower families. You can offer hands-on experiences with engineering, send home supplies and activities to try as a family, and share accessible opportunities to explore engineering in the community.

Join Linda Kekelis of STEM Next Opportunity Fund and Tara Chklovski of Iridescent to learn about ways to engage families in their children’s STEM experiences.

Linda KDr. Linda Kekelis is an advisor for STEM Next Opportunity Fund with a lifelong passion for ensuring that all youth, particularly girls and underrepresented youth, have opportunities to achieve their potential in STEM. Parent engagement has been part of Linda’s life work. As the Founder and former CEO of Techbridge Girls, she made family engagement one of the vital elements of the program and committed resources to serve the needs of families, particularly those from under-resourced communities. Currently, Linda advises youth-serving STEM organizations and Ecosystems on empowering families and brings research and practice to a variety of audiences in case studies and blogs produced for STEM Next Opportunity Fund. Linda also participates on advisory boards, and serves in a leadership role on state and national STEM and equity initiatives including the NAE’s EngineerGirl and LinkEngineering. Linda has a master’s in Linguistics from the USC and a PhD in Special Ed from UC Berkeley.

TaraTara Chklovski is the CEO and founder of the global non-profit Iridescent. Her mission in life has been to transform the opportunities available to young people, especially girls, to reach their full-potential and impact their communities. Tara founded Iridescent in 2006 to create and deliver powerful science, engineering, and technology education to empower underrepresented young people. Iridescent has since grown to a community of over 7,000 mentors and more than 90,000 participants throughout the world through its flagship programs Curiosity Machine and Technovation. Tara earned her BS in Physics from St. Stephen’s College and a MS in aerospace engineering from Boston University. Tara left her PhD program in aerospace engineering at USC to found Iridescent and directly empower girls and children everywhere.

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Past Conversations:

August 21 Let's Talk Next Generation Science Standards with Ted Willard


Have questions about the Next Generation Science Standards? Learn about the NGSS and the Framework for K–12 Science Education which they are based on, learn how engineering fits in, plus get tips on implementation in this Video Conversation with Ted Willard, Program Director at the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association.) Ted will be joined by veteran science teacher and STEM coach, Rachael Manzer.

Ted is the Program Director of NGSS@NSTA. During the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, he oversaw NSTA's feedback and now coordinates NSTA's efforts to support teachers in implementation of NGSS. Prior to joining NSTA in 2012, Ted spent a dozen years at AAAS Project 2061. There he was responsible for the development of the growth-of-understanding maps published in Atlas of Science Literacy, Volume 2. Ted also was involved in many other areas of Project 2061's efforts towards standards-based education reform including science education research, curriculum resources development, assessment development, and teacher professional development. He began his professional life as a high school physics teacher.

Rachael is the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Coordinator afor the Winchester Public School District in Connecticut and works with both teachers and students to integrate STEM activities in aerospace, robotics, and engineering design challenges in the classroom. She is also an NSTA NGSS curator and speaks about her experience with STEM education. Rachael has been a Distance Learning Education Specialist for NASA at the Langley Research Center in Virginia.

June 26, 2018  Tapping the Potential of Fab Labs with Ken Welty



Does your school have a Fab Lab? Not sure exactly what to do with it?  Wish your school had one? Learn how Fab Labs can be used to support multi-disciplinary learning. Join us to discuss using simple problems to teach age-appropriate STEAM concepts, how the design process works, how design-based experiences engage students and how to align your activities with national standards. Ken Welty will by joined by high school educator, Laurence Charlier.

Ken Welty, PhD is a Professor in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where he teaches instructional methods courses for technology and science education at the undergraduate level and research methods and program evaluation at the graduate level.  His work includes evaluating the treatment of engineering in STEM curricula for the National Academy of Engineering and investigating students’ conceptions of technology and engineering.  He is an instructor in the WiFab Retreat, a summer prodessional development fab lab "boot camp" for k-12 educators and is a consultant to schools wanting to make the best use of their fab labs.

Laurence Charlier is a the Fab Lab Director and Technology and Engineering Teacher at Northwestern High School in Wisconsin. Laurence has been involved in UW-Stout fab lab since its inception. He performs assessments of Fab Labs throughout WI for UW-Stout to discern what makes a quality fab lab. In his current position, he is leading the charge to develop a STEM/fab lab curriculum for K-12 teachers and students in Maple, WI. He teaches with Ken at the WiFab Retreat.

June 12, 2018     TeachEngineering: Making the most of Free STEM Curriculum with Mike Soltys

Ready to start engineering with your students? Did you know there is a digital library of STEM curriculum with over 1,600 free STEM activities and standards aligned lesson plans searchable by age, subject and time commitment?  Join some of the team from TeachEngineering to learn about their extensive, free, online collection of STEM lessons for Pk-12 students. Topics covered will include how to get started, how to choose a lesson plan, the importance of standards alignment, and what makes a “meaningful engineering experience.”

TeachEngineering is a searchable, web-based digital library collection comprised of standards-based engineering curricula for use by K-12 educators to make applied science and math come alive through engineering design in K-12 settings. The TeachEngineering collection provides educators with *free* access to a growing curricular resource of activities, lessons, units, maker challenges, and sprinkles for use in informal education settings.  All TeachEngineering materials have been developed by university engineering departments in partnership with classroom teachers.  The library is funded through the National Science Foundation and administered by The University of Colorado Boulder with web development by the Oregon State University.  Once you have tried  TeachEngineering curriculum, you can share your experience on LinkEngineering.

Mike Soltys is an Instructor for the Engineering Plus degree program. Mike has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Clemson University, and a PhD in Civil engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, where Mike’s research focused on fluid dynamics. Mike is passionate about engineering education, and teaches engineering design in First-Year Engineering Projects.

May 15, 2018: Say Yes to Engineering Education: Overcoming Six Common Fears

w/Christine Cunningham, PhD


Do you like the idea of including engineering education in the classroom but are overwhelmed by perceived obstacles? Christine Cunningham has worked with hundreds of elementary and middle school educators to develop strategies to overcome those hurdles. Join us to learn how to find the time, prepare materials, and manage student expectations while getting tips on how to handle a diverse array of ideas, grade effectively and make sure that no one gets left behind. Joining her is Nancy Yocom de Romero, a middle school educator, who was one of the first teacher colloaborators with Engineering is Elementary.

Dr. Christine Cunningham is an educational researcher who works to make engineering and science more relevant, accessible, and understandable, especially for underserved and underrepresented populations. A vice president at the Museum of Science, Boston since 2003, she is the Founding Director of Engineering is Elementary™, a groundbreaking project that integrates engineering concepts into preschool, elementary, and middle school curriculum and teacher professional development.

Christine is the author of the 2018 book Engineering in Elementary STEM Education: Curriculum Design, Instruction, Learning, and Assessment, published by Teachers College Press and the Museum of Science Boston. She was the recipient of the McGraw Hill Education Award in 2017.

Nancy Yocom de Romero has been an elementary school teacher in Framingham, Massachusetts for 18 years. She was a classroom teacher in a two-way bilingual program for 15 years and currently teaches in the Sage program, in which she works with students and teachers to promote abstract, higher-order thinking and creative problem solving in Barbieri and Brophy Schools, both of which are bilingual English/Spanish schools. Prior to that, Nancy taught in El Salvador, Central America.

May 1, 2018: Playful Learning - Making Engineering Fun
w/AnnMarie Thomas, PhD


Learn how to bring joy to your STEM classes and get your students excited to explore engineering. The founder of the Playful Learning Lab and Co-Creator of OK Go Sandbox will share her approach to making STEM fun. She will be joined by 5th grade teacher, Alison Haugh, a Playful Learning Lab alumni.

AnnMarie Thomas is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas. She is the founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab, which explores ways to encourage children of all ages, to embrace playful learning. AnnMarie co-founded and co-directs the University of St. Thomas Center for Engineering Education (CEE), which offers engineering courses for P-12 educators and conducts research on engineering at the pre-collegiate level.

AnnMarie served as the Founding Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative, where her team established the national Maker Corps program and laid the groundwork for this nonprofit. She and her students created Squishy Circuits. She is the author of "Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation."

AnnMarie is also part of the creative and academic team that developed the just-launched collaboration with the band OK Go, OKGo Sandbox, which provides educators and students with STEM lessons explaining the band's popular videos.  See more of AnnMarie on our YouTube Playlist.

Alison Haugh is a fourth grade teacher at Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in Minnesota, where she regularly integrates inquiry and hands-on learning with STEM in her classroom. Alison graduated from the University of St.Thomas with degrees in Elementary Education, STEM Education, and a focus in Engineering Education. Her undergraduate research with the Playful Learning Lab focused on expanding quality engineering education with an eye to under-served populations, including students with disabilities, emphasizing learning through play.

April 17, 2018: Engineering Basics for PK-12 Educators w/Cary Sneider, PhD


Not entirely clear on what engineering is and how to teach it to PK-12 students? Here is your chance to learn the basic engineering principles that can be implemented at every grade level, from one of the foremost educators of engineering.

Our first conversation is with Cary Sneider who just received the Robert H. Carleton Award for National Leadership in the Field of Science Education, NSTA's highest and most prestigious award.

Cary is currently Associate Research Professor at Portland State University in Portland, OR, where he teaches courses in research methodology for teachers in a Master of Science Teaching (MST) degree program. Cary is the Chair of the LinkEngineering Committee and also serves as a Consultant on STEM Education for the Noyce Foundation, the Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, and on several advisory boards. He is also a Writing Team Leader for the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards.)

Cary is the editor of a 2015 three-volume set, The Go-To Guide for Engineering Curricula (PK-5, 6-8, 9-12). He has a deep knowledge of engineering and how it can and should be implemented in PK-12 education, plus he has worked extensively in training educators to meet this challenge.   See other talks by Cary on our YouTube Playlist.

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