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Unveiling ITEEA's newest resources for Safer integrative STEM education.

Teachers, administrators, supervisors, and higher education faculty members can all benefit from the new classroom-ready resources focusing on designing safer Integrative STEM Education learning environments.

The revised book, Designing Safer Learning Environments for Integrative STEM Education, features new supplemental materials such as safety presentations, tool and machine tests, tillable PDF forms, and a safety resource webpage.

INTRODUCTION

In October of 2013 ITEEA asked me to lead a project to revise its 2006 Safety System Design for Technology Education. I agreed because it provided an opportunity to address the reoccurring issues raised during my safety and liability conference presentations. For a project of this magnitude I needed to recruit the Michael Jordan of laboratory safety and liability, Dr. Ken Roy. Dr. Roy has over 44 years of experience as a science educator, K-12 administrator, safety compliance officer, and is an authorized Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instructor. Experience from overseeing technology and engineering (T&E) and science education as the current Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Glastonbury Public Schools (CT) provided invaluable insight due to the overlap in laboratory standards and court rulings between the two fields (Love, 2013, 2014). Further exemplifying his commitment to designing safer laboratories are the 8 books and over 300 articles he published, and an appearance on National Public Radio (NPR) last April to provide his expert analysis about a school laboratory accident in California.

Some of Dr. Roy's recent publications that recommended science educators collaborate with T&E educators for the safer use of hand and power tools confirmed that he was the perfect fit for this important publication. Safer use of these tools is important for enhancing the teaching of engineering content and practices as called for by Next Generation Science Standards (Roy, 2012). After some discussions, he agreed to coauthor the revisions due to the implications for collaboration and promoting safer Integrative STEM Education (l-STEM Ed).

As one can imagine, the revisions to this book were quite extensive and required consultation with numerous individuals. The 2006 edition was very well written, but required some revisions to reflect better professional safety practices and current legal safety standards. Most notably, all of the OSHA and NFPA standards, website links, and phone numbers were updated. The language in the document was also modified to remove gender bias as well as reflect currently accepted terminology regarding students with disabilities. Tool and process examples were changed to better reflect what one would expect to find in a modern I-STEM Ed laboratory. To ensure the information was accurate and suited the needs of various stakeholders, a classroom teacher, college faculty member, state supervisor, Forrest T. Jones representative, and ITEEA staff members reviewed the book. What resulted was a publication and supplemental materials that can help teachers and supervisors from T&E and science education better collaborate for safer I-STEM Ed learning environments.

There are numerous additions to the book that were designed for I-STEM educators to directly implement in their classrooms and laboratories. These additions were conceived from concerns raised by I-STEM Ed professionals regarding the lack of continuity among states and the safety resources they provide. Many described how they were using materials from states other than their own, but were unsure whether that was legally acceptable in the event of an accident. With this publication, our goal was to provide a repository of safety resources that educators from any state or country could use to promote a safer I-STEM Ed teaching and learning environment.

Significant features of this publication are the supplemental digital classroom-ready safety resources. Among these resources are a laboratory safety acknowledgement form, accident report form, laboratory responsibilities list, safety lesson presentations, safety posters, and safety tests for various tools and machines found in most I-STEM Ed laboratories. Some forms are provided as fillable PDFs, allowing teachers to create both electronic and hard copies to be sent to their administration and kept on file.

Professional science educator associations such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and commercial scientific laboratory suppliers like Flinn Scientific Incorporated have specific sections of their websites dedicated to safety resources for teachers and administrators. With the help of the staff at ITEEA, Dr. Roy and I were able to create a webpage for those who purchase the book, with numerous safety resources to help promote safer l-STEM Ed teaching and learning. Under the safety tests tab of the website are videos created by Luke Rhine, Director of Career and Technical Education for the Delaware Department of Education (also included in the Supplementary Materials portion of the CD) showing students the safer way to use various tools and machines, which are accompanied by corresponding safety tests. In the near future, self-grading safety tests are planned to be added to the webpage. The idea is for these tests to be completed by students on a computer, and upon clicking "submit" they will be automatically graded, with the student's name and test score emailed to the instructor. This will help in assessing students' safety knowledge, drastically reduce the amount of time teachers spend grading safety tests, and provide both electronic and hard copies for instructors to keep on file in the event of an accident.

Promoting opportunities for collaboration between T&E and science education to deliver safer l-STEM Ed may be the greatest implication of this book. It has already spawned additional collaborative efforts in the form of two NSTA journal articles (Roy, 2014, in press), a presentation at the 2015 NSTA conference, and a workshop at the ITEEA 2015 conference promoting the exceptional resources provided by ITEEA and the safer benefits of collaboration. We hope this book and supplemental materials encourage additional collaborative efforts between T&E and science educators to provide safer l-STEM Ed learning experiences for students and teachers.

Dr. Roy and I would also like to thank the ITEEA staff members, teachers, state supervisors, college faculty members, and others who contributed to this document. Despite the resources provided, it is critical for l-STEM Ed professionals to remember that safety is ultimately the responsibility of the instructor, their preparation to use specific tools and machines, and their commitment to always model and enforce safety.

Acknowledgement: The author would like to thank Ken Roy, Ph.D. for his professional review and contributions to this article. Ken is the Chief Science Safety Compliance Consultant/Author/Columnist for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and can be reached at Royk@glastonburyus.org.

REFERENCES

Love, T. S. (2013). Addressing safety and liability in STEM education: A review of important legal issues and case law. The Journal of Technology Studies, 39(2), 28-41.

Love, T. S. (2014). Safety and liability in STEM education laboratories: Using case law to inform policy and practice. Technology and Engineering Teacher 73(5), (electronic supplement--TETe), 1-13. Retrieved from www.iteea.org/mbrsonly/LibraryTTT/TITe/2-14love.pdf

Roy, K. (2012). STEM: A question of safety. Science Scope, 36(1), 84-85.

Roy, K. (2014). Safety requires collaboration. Science Scope, 37(8), 58-59.

Roy, K. (in press). STEM safety: A collaborative effort! The Science Teacher.

Tyler S. Love is a doctoral candidate in the Integrative STEM Education program at Virginia Tech and can be reached via email at tslove@vt.edu.
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Title Annotation:FEATURED PUBLICATION; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Author:Love, Tyler S.
Publication:Technology and Engineering Teacher
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2014
Words:1202
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