Lee named to international STEM advisory board


Deborah Lee

Technology is changing classrooms every day, from how teachers teach to how students learn.

Professor Deborah Lee, a Mississippi State University librarian who has promoted classroom technology since she came to the university in the early 1990s, is now offering her expertise on a global scale: Lee has joined an international science, technology, engineering and mathematics advisory board along with almost 50 other members representing six continents.

The only member from the Southeast United States, Lee is just one of a broad group of writers, thinkers and technologists from education, business and industry on the New Media Consortium Technology Outlook: STEM + Education 2012-2017 board.

In addition to representatives from Harvard University, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lee and her colleagues are participating in a global discussion with education stakeholders from Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa about the best ways to use classroom technology for educating students in the STEM sciences.

Lee, who is also the associate director for the Center for Teaching and Learning and coordinator of Library Instructional Services at MSU, said her new role on the advisory board is allowing MSU to be part of an important international conversation.

"We're putting Mississippi State out there as a leader in education," she explained. "This report gives us a way to answer the hard question: How will these technologies affect our society?"

The advisory board is summarizing which technologies will have the greatest impact on STEM education during the next five years, Lee said. The students who excel in the four disciplines will comprise the next generation of successful workers, thinkers and leaders in the modern global economy.

MSU has been a leader in training students to access libraries and other resources all over the world, she added.

"Other nations really are interested in how technology bridges gaps in resources, and the world is hungry for these educational opportunities that we're using right here, right now," she said. "They want to see how they can take advantage of those resources as well. Mississippi State is embracing it."

The advisory board works together online, where members share ideas and evaluate concepts about which technologies are most important and the ones already having the greatest impact. The group also identifies the greatest challenges that students and teachers will face.

"We comment on what we think are emerging trends; then we respond to research questions, and a series of technological trends will emerge," she said.

The report, scheduled to be released Sept. 21 in Madrid, Spain, will be available online for free. Teachers worldwide, from elementary to postsecondary institutions, as well as stakeholders in businesses, industry and other areas, will be able to access the information.

"The report will provide talking points and foster conversations among stakeholders," she noted. "Schools and campuses will be talking about it. Technology is having an impact on a daily basis.

"We need to spot those things that we need to be preparing for in classrooms and preparing for in industry; this report is designed to give the world that information."

For more about the New Media Consortium Technology Outlook: STEM + Education 2012-2017 report, visit http://stem.wiki.nmc.org.

Leah Barbour | University Relations

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