EXSEED enables K-12 educators to catch rainbows with pizza boxes

Several hundred educators from around the United States and the world will be attending the 6th annual EXSEED (Excellence in STEM Experiential Education) conference at Loma Linda University, June 20 – 24, 2016, June 27 – July 1, and July 11 – 15 (Jamaica).  

Each weeklong event features over 30 hands-on and experiential workshops and over 50 informational sessions; programming will center on mission-focused, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

The first conference will kick off Monday, June 20, with a keynote presentation by Dale Marsden, Ed.D., superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Superintendent Marsden has worked tirelessly to engage the community in a partnership to improve the San Bernardino City Unified School District. He has worked aggressively to implement STEM-related programs in the schools throughout the San Bernardino City Unified School District, and has been very successful.

A second weeklong conference will be held June 27 through July 1. The keynote will be offered by Samuel Achilefu, PhD, Nigerian-born professor of radiography and biomedical engineering, a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine and who currently serves as a professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.

Marilyn Eggers, PhD, co-executive director of EXSEED said, “Due to the overwhelming demand for this conference, we have found it necessary to hold two conferences at our Loma Linda facilities this year. Both conferences have waiting lists.”

“This year, we have also been invited to conduct a third conference in the country of Jamaica, by the Honorable Ruel Reed, Minister of Education, Youth, and Information, and by the Honorable Andrew Wheatley, the country’s Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology,” stated Doug Havens, director, EXSEED. “We will send a small team of specialists to help facilitate the conference being held there, July 11 through 15. The goal there will be to train the country-selected conference attendees, enabling them to establish a self-sustaining STEM program in that country.”

This year’s (3) EXSEED conferences are offering a rich variety of workshops. On days two and three of each conference, participants can learn the advantages of introducing 3D printing in their classrooms, and learn how to catch rainbows with pizza boxes. Other workshops will help educator participants prepare their K-12 students for the interconnected, digital world. Topics such as social media, the use of iPads, iPods, tablets and smartphones will be discussed. Ideas and challenges for integrating video and multimedia in the classroom will also be presented. School TV broadcasting and photography are other areas of instruction, and a one-day intensive workshop on the practical applications in geospatial technology will be offered.

For the mathematics classroom, workshops studying sound and light, physics and medicine, high school robotics and Lego robotics will be offered. Additionally, seminars for science enthusiasts will focus on topics such as outer space, sea turtle research being conducted in Honduras, and the world’s venomous animals and their venoms.

There will also be opportunities for participants to learn grant-writing skills as well as learn tips and methods for identifying, writing and winning grants for schools and special projects. Special grants up to $2,000.00 will be offered to fund STEM proposals and programs for implementation in the next school year.

EXSEED is the brainchild of Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, president, Loma Linda University Health. The conference was first offered as a way for Loma Linda University and Adventist higher education to partner with K-12 science educators. It has evolved to include technology, engineering and math.

“EXSEED is part of our educational strategy to develop both minds and characters that are essential for producing quality health professionals,” Hart said. “By working together, we strive to support and empower educators in teaching the STEM disciplines within a mission-focused learning context.”

EXSEED is an innovative and collaborative program designed to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Adventist K-12 schools. It is a partnership between K-12 educators, K-12 schools and organizations, and higher education partners, including Andrews University, Kettering College, La Sierra University, Loma Linda University, Pacific Union College, Walla Walla University, and the Pacific Union Conference, with Loma Linda University acting as the facilitator. The goal of EXSEED is to collaboratively support and empower K-12 educators in teaching the STEM disciplines within a Mission-Focused Learning (MFL) context. MFL is an environment that:

The program fosters the highest commitment to analytical and critical thinking, advocates the highest ethical and professional standards of practices, and provides a learner-centered educational environment that facilitates the absorption of knowledge and perfection of skills while blending evidence-based decision-making with transformative learning events ("teachable moments")

Valuing the creation of new knowledge, and the faithful transmission of best practices within professional and scientific disciplines, EXSEED develops a culture of service, while encouraging the pursuit of wisdom through the example of Jesus Christ who lived to bring hope, healing, and happiness to mankind

Adventist educators from across the North American Division (U.S. and Canada) and educators from San Bernardino City, Rialto, and Redlands Unified School Districts will be attending EXSEED. Other educators are travelling from around the country and from Canada and Jamaica to attend the conference. 

For a full conference and workshop schedule, please go to: www.llu.edu/exseed