Technical Education Post

News and Information for Technical Educators

Programs from Federal Partners

Programs from Federal Partners

NASA Sparking Participation and Real-world eXperiences in STEM (SPARX)

Eligibility: Formal and informal educators, grades K-12, Programs from Federal Partners

Date and Location: Fall 2024; Virtual

Registration Deadline: March 1, 2024

Looking for a professional development opportunity that’s closer to home? NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s Sparking Participation and Real-world eXperiences in STEM (SPARX) program, a virtual program that provides educators with direct support from NASA education specialists to help bring engaging STEM lessons to the classroom. Educators can also join NASA CONNECTS, a community of practice where STEM educators can participate in engagement events, collaborate with peers, and access NASA materials designed for the classroom. Learn more and register:


USPTO National Summer Teacher Institute

Eligibility: Elementary school, middle school, or high school educators teaching STEM or STEM-related subjects

Date and Location: July 21-26, 2024; Alexandria, VA

Applications Due: March 31, 2024

Learn how to inspire and motivate young innovators at the USPTO National Summer Teacher Institute! Participants will learn the principles of intellectual property and innovation from patents, trademarks, innovation, and entrepreneurship experts. Educators will also learn how to use USTPO’s educational materials and resources in the classroom to create lesson plans that engage students in problem-based learning and STEM achievement. The cost of travel and lodging are covered for selected participants who live more than 50 miles from the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Learn more and apply:

Are you a teacher looking to equip your students with the confidence to solve real world problems? The USPTO’s National Summer Teacher Institute on Innovation, STEM and Intellectual Property (NSTI) is an excellent opportunity to do just that!

NSTI is an annual hands-on professional development program for K-12 educators to learn classroom techniques that will foster and unleash the innovator in every student through invention education. We are accepting applications from educators until March 31 to join us for this year’s summer session from July 16-21 in St. Louis. The program has no fee for participants, and our NSTI frequently asked questions include additional information on travel and lodging.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property touches nearly every sector of daily life, so the concepts in the NSTI program are applicable across all educational fields. And the value goes beyond the classroom – our recent study found that IP-intensive industries account for 41% of the U.S. gross national product, while workers in IP-intensive industries earn higher wages and are more likely to have better benefits.

At NSTI, you will build the skills you need to incorporate key intellectual property (IP) and STEM topics into your curricula, develop strategies to help students understand and appreciate the importance of innovation and creativity, and, where feasible, commercialize their own inventive works!

Educators will have the opportunity to work with USPTO experts to explore patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. You will also have access to several “maker spaces” focused on various technologies, from additive manufacturing – where you can use industrial 3D printers and laser cutters, to unmanned aerial systems, where you can control a drone by talking to it, using gestures, or through virtual/augmented reality. We can learn the latest on urban water research and preventing public health disasters. Engineering next-generation technologies to bridge the gap between humans and technology, and much more. What you learn will help you design and build prototypes as part of your week-long invention project. Sound fun? It is!


In addition to the hands-on experience, you will also receive valuable resources to take back to your classroom. These resources include teaching materials, lesson plans, and activities that align with national standards. They can be customized to meet the needs of different grade levels, subject areas, and abilities. Making connections with educators from around the country, you continue to share best practices and ideas for classroom instruction. One of the most significant benefits of attending NSTI is the impact it can have on your students. You’ll leave with more tools to help develop the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. You can also inspire them to pursue careers in STEM fields, where the demand for skilled workers is high. You might even lead them to earning a patent for an invention!

Source: Programs from Federal Partners

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