One of the main goals of COSMOS testbed is to take advantage of the educational and research experience of its academic partners and transform the testbed-generated research into an innovative learning platform for students. To this direction, COSMOS project focuses on local educational outreach, especially towards minorities underrepresented in STEM. This goal is extremely important to be able to retain support for the deployment of the testbed within the West Harlem community and in the New York City in general.
COSMOS team designed and implemented an educational platform and accompanying toolkit which allow K12 students to learn basic as well as advanced STEM concepts through running experiments either locally or on the COSMOS testbed. The impact of using an advanced research testbed as an educational resource and enabling its access remotely for a large number of students is very significant, especially for schools that lack the technological and instructional resources to prepare students for a future in the digital world.
Taking advantage of this significant asset for hands-on learning, COSMOS is focusing on creating a strong educational outreach program targeting NYC public schools, especially those located in Harlem, which have a high percentage of minority students that are underrepresented in STEM.
COSMOS education plan for K12 is twofold: 1) To create a strong, innovative and concrete set of methods and tools that will enhance STEM education for K12 students in NYC, 2) To work together with STEM teachers, to enhance their professional development and to collaboratively create hands-on educational material for NYC students.
The educational activities of COSMOS will strongly benefit from the involvement of the PAWR consortium companies in K12 activities in the local community. Many of the COSMOS industrial partners have programs that support schools and the community in STEM education improvements. Combining the experience of the COSMOS academic partners on developing educational material based on testbed experiments, with the experience of the industrial partners supporting local communities and schools, will significantly enhance the COSMOS education and outreach program.
The outreach activities and accomplishments of the COSMOS team include the training of 10 NYC teachers within the NSF Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program in Summer 2018 and of 10 teachers in the NSF RET program in Summer 2019 (in collaboration with the NSF EFRI New-LAW project). Additional accomplishments include the release of the COSMOS Education Toolkit, winning a grant from the Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge (for the 5G Covet project), participation in Silicon Harlem’s 5th and 6th Annual Next-Gen Tech Conferences and the NE-ASTE 2018 and 2019 Conferences, and engagement of the AT&T Foundation in funding graduate student stipends to support COSMOS-trained K-12 teachers.
The 2018 RET program was supported in part by supplements to NSF grants ECCS-1547406, CNS-1650685, CNS-1650669, CNS-1702952, CNS-1527750, ECCS-1547332, CNS-1513110, CNS-1730043, CNS-1329939, OAC-1541069. The 2019 teachers program was supported in part by an REM supplement to NSF Grant EFMA-1641100 (NewLAW EFRI), RET supplements to NSF grants CNS-1650685, CNS-1650669 and ECCS-1547332, and by AT&T Foundation.
COSMOS education and outreach program is supported by the NYU Center for K12 STEM Education and Columbia Engineering Outreach Program.