Watson Chronicle

WATSON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Programs for P-12 Students

CESTEM and WCE’s Center for Assistive Technology Host Spectrum of STEM Event

Friday, June 03, 2016

WCE’s Center for Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CESTEM) and Center for Assistive Technology hosted a special STEM event titled “Celebrating the Full Spectrum of STEM Learners” on April 16 as part of the North Carolina Science Festival.

Dennis Kubasko, director of CESTEM and Amy Moody, director of the Center for Assistive Technology and a recognized autism specialist, planned the event for learners on the autism spectrum. Activities including robotics, engineering, geology, chemistry and other sensory related STEM experiences were designed using a universal design for learning (UDL) framework.

“Research shows that students who fall within certain areas of the autism spectrum often have exceptional STEM abilities, but traditional learning can sometimes overwhelm them,” Moody said. “UDL encourages hands-on learning, paired with coaching, modeling and practice. The approach is very effective in teaching students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).”

Eighteen students enrolled in WCE’s Special Education program joined Kubasko, Moody and Youth Programs director Sue Kezios at the inaugural event, manning 12 STEM activity stations in Hanover Gymnasium.

The Spectrum of STEM event was held in conjunction with an adapted physical education program coordinated by CHHS faculty member and WCE Ed.D. student Jordan Weber.

Each Saturday during the fall and spring semesters, Weber and student volunteers from UNCW’s School of Health and Applied Human Services (SHAHS) provide mentoring for physical activity programs for individuals with disabilities, both physical and cognitive, in the Wilmington community. Stations, including an agility ladder, obstacle course, volleyball and other sports are set up each week to encourage fitness, nutrition, cardio health and physical skill development among participants.

Weber has been an active volunteer in UNCW’s “I Can Do It, You Can Do It!” program since its inception in 2009, when Sue Combs received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disability to implement a three-year program. Combs is a professor in UNCW’s SHAHS and coordinator of physical education and health programs leading to K-12 teacher licensure.

Moody said the Spectrum of STEM event is a great example of the many ways UNCW faculty pool resources and collaborate across campus in service to the community. “CESTEM, Youth Programs and the Center for Assistive Technology look forward to building on the success of the Spectrum of STEM event next year,” she said.

For information on WCE’s Center for Assistive Technology visit www.uncw.edu/ed/assist.

For information on CESTEM visit www.uncw.edu/cestem.

For information on UNCW’s “I Can Do It, You Can Do It!” program, visit http://uncw.edu/shahs/icandoit_youcandoit.html