Dayton teacher selected for collaborative NASA program

Jennifer Patton-Hoang was selected to be a teacher advisor in the national science program collaborative of NASA and WGBH. She is a Dayton teacher. SARAH CAVENDER / STAFF

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Jennifer Patton-Hoang was selected to be a teacher advisor in the national science program collaborative of NASA and WGBH. She is a Dayton teacher. SARAH CAVENDER / STAFF

A Dayton science teacher has been chosen to participate in a national STEM learning program tied to NASA, called “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms.”

Jennifer Patton-Hoang from Kiser PreK-6 School is one of 50 teacher-advisors chosen from several hundred applicants nationwide. The program, in collaboration with WGBH-TV station in Boston, is designed to create new teaching models and digital media tools for science, technology, engineering and math classes.

As a teacher advisor, Patton-Hoang will take new digital resources produced by WGBH — using data, images and other media from NASA — and use them with her students in the fall, then give feedback to a research partner, Oregon State University. She also will participate in several virtual sessions about classroom digital media with her teacher advisor colleagues.

“I hope to add more tools to my toolbox as a teacher, to be able to present it to my students.” said Patton-Hoang, who is going into her fourth year of teaching fifth- and sixth-grade science courses. “I was interested in being a teacher advisor because it provides real scientific data that our students couldn’t get on their own. It allows them to manipulate and analyze in a way that’s really meaningful to them.”

Denise Olson, senior marketing manager for WGBH, said criteria for the program included years of teaching, science subjects, and geographic location, adding that teacher enthusiasm was most important for integrating digital media in the classroom.

For Patton-Hoang, the announcement of working with WGBH does not affect her teaching plans: “This just adds another layer. It will add a lot deeper understanding for the students on the topics we’re already covering,” she said.

“Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms,” is in its second year of a 5-year project.

“NASA provided a grant for development of the resources,” Olson said. “Many of the resources use data, images, and other media from NASA, as well as from other partners and sources. They also include media from WGBH productions.”

Resources are free to all educators at PBS LearningMedia. The collections of resources contain materials for both teachers and students. Material created for PBS LearningMedia use satellite images, data visualizations, interactive tools, and broadcast videos from NASA and WGBH according to Olson.

“I think teachers, all teachers, are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide material to their students,” Patton-Hoang said.

Patton-Hoang gained experience through numerous grants and scholarships through STEM Education, Otterbein College’s Operation Physics and Miami University’s WISE Science Program, according to a press release. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Dayton Public Schools Foundation grant, 2016 Montgomery County Educational Service Center STEM Fellow and nominated for the June 2017 Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award.

The application process for Year 3 of the project will begin in early 2018 according to Olson. Those that want to be notified when the process opens can email education@wgbh.org and they will be placed on a mailing list.

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