Since 2007, iBIO Institute’s TalentSparks! biotechnology teacher development series has included hands-on skills development; presentations by leading researchers and experts from industry, government, and academic research institutions; and tours of facilities. Previous activities have focused on skills development in: fundamental genetics, microbiology, nutrition and power generation; gel electrophoresis, PCR, ELISA, haplotyping, genetic engineering and GMO testing; regenerative medicine, biorational products, and clinical translational medicine; food and biofuel chemistry; and modeling of physiological feedback systems, epidemiology, nutrient cycles and climate change. TalentSparks! programs also focus on pedagogical skills development in inquiry-based science, problem-based learning, and developing learning environments that promote cultures of thinking and 21st Century skills.
Rigorous external evaluations of both our one- and two-week summer TalentSparks! programs consistently show significant gains in both science and mathematics content knowledge. According to curriculum survey results, teachers in our programs with follow-up professional development days demonstrate significant positive increases in the composite areas: Communicating Scientific Understanding, Student Reflection on Scientific Ideas, Scientific Thinking and Teacher Preparedness.
Teachers want to connect students with the real-world applications of the life sciences, but frequently lack the networks and resources to do so. The iBIO Institute’s TalentSparks! program provides teachers with the tools to bring biotechnology into their classrooms with confidence. Through tours and presentations by iBIO’s industry partners, teachers learn about the life sciences in action and develop engaging, hands-on activities and curricula to inspire student excitement.
In the last five years, TalentSparks! reached nearly 600 teachers and through them at least 25,000 students. Early assessments suggest that teachers vastly improve their knowledge of biotechnology and life sciences fields, careers and employers through TalentSparks!
To learn about the 2013 TalentSparks! workshop, click HERE.
To find out about 2013 TalentSparks! activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“My skill level has increased so much that I really feel like I can walk into a classroom and be able to explain to students without second guessing what I know.”
“Keracure™ presentation was fantastic!”
“Speaker was fantastic.”
“Loved the tour.”
“Very applicable to me and to my students.”
“Topic was very relevant to current events.”
“Loved it! Professionalism renewed.”
“Wow! I loved the modeling; I found lots of connections to our curriculum.”
“This was very MOTIVATING and informative, keep it up!”
“These experiments provided me with excellent background knowledge that can be applied to real-life problem solving.”
To view itineraries of previous TalentSparks!, select a year below.
Math Science Partnership Grant Project: TS3
TalentSparks3! incorporates 1) hands-on biotechnology experiments, 2) in-depth professional development in STEM education and problem-based learning (PBL) and 3) facilitated career exploration for middle school and high school teachers. The workshop is co-facilitated by iBIO Institute EDUCATE Center staff, Monroe Randolph Regional Office of Education, industry partners and Illinois State University faculty.
TalentSparks3! models and assesses how hands-on, high-tech skills development in biotechnology, as experienced through authentic problem-based learning projects, facilitates students’ understanding, achievement and exploration of STEM concepts and careers.