Operation Innovation

March 2, 2015

Science, technology and math… Oh my!

foldscopeAs Chief Learning Officer, Tessa Torowski has the ongoing task of researching, discovering, creating and implementing new ways to teach and learn. Project Learn’s desire to bring science and math to the forefront of adult education, in addition to her love for the two subjects (her background is in middle level education), is what brought Tessa back to the agency after working as a Project Learn instructor years ago.

“One of my favorite projects so far was creating mobile science kits that instructors can check-out and include equipment and engaging lessons,” Tessa says. “I’ve also helped redesign our Distance Learning Orientation, conduct staff training, and created several videos for our YouTube channel.”

Since most jobs and academic institutions require computer literacy for the most basic tasks, such as filling out applications or time cards, Project Learn is doing all it can to make sure its students are prepared by encouraging technology use in the classroom.

“We are creating lessons that incorporate technology skills and allow students to use their own devices to learn,” Tessa explains. “Learning through online resources and applications empowers our students to extend the learning outside the classroom walls.”

In addition, Project Learn has sets of tablets and laptops that will soon be debuting in the classrooms.
Tessa also shared that Project Learn was chosen out of thousands to try out test two Foldscopes, handheld microscopes that fold out on a sheet of plastic paper. Foldscope was developed by a research team at PrakashLab at Stanford University, who is “focused on democratizing science by developing scientific tools that can scale up to match problems in global health and science education.”

“The scientist in me is super excited,” Tessa says. “We are still figuring out exactly how we will utilize the Foldscopes in the classroom, but there is no doubt that students will love learning with them.”

Being that Project Learn is working on so many great projects, Tessa says she would like the agency to have its own bank of open resources.

“This could be a website where instructors and students from anywhere could access quality lessons, videos and the like, targeted specifically for adult basic education,” she explains.

Project Learn is dedicated to helping people reach their goals as family members, workers, community members and lifelong learners.

“I enjoy being a part of the small successes along the way,” Tessa adds. “It takes a lot of courage for our students to take that first step, whether it’s making the call or going through the registration process, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the journey.”

Written by Communications Manager Alexia Harris

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