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NJIT awarded $1.1M NSF grant to change way inner-city students learn

Professors at New Jersey Institute of Technology were awarded a $1.1 million, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to change the way inner city students learn about science and technology. The money will allow engineering professors from NJIT's Newark College of Engineering (NCE) and specialists from NJIT's Center for Pre-College Programs to help public school teachers in Newark, Orange, Perth Amboy and Union City build an exciting, sophisticated science and technology curriculum.

"We'll be using an exciting and excellent program from which we've already seen great results," said NJIT Associate Professor Ronald Rockland, PhD, NCE Associate Dean and principal investigator (PI) of the project. "We'll be offering these kids the chance to use Legos to build robots and solve biomedical engineering problems." Teacher training will take place through August. The program will be initially implemented into classrooms this coming September.

NJIT Professor Howard Kimmel, PhD, executive director of NJIT's Center for Pre-college Programs and a co-PI, said he's already seen terrific results from this program. "We use age appropriate versions with our pre-college students during the summer and they love it," Kimmel said. "But now with this infusion of money, we plan on building and buying better equipment to help inner city youngsters and their teachers move to a level that they haven't reached before."

The researchers have dubbed their program: medibotics. "What this means," said Kimmel, "is that we are merging the specialties of medicine, robotics and information technology. As the youngsters build with the Lego kits, they will learn in a hands-on way how to solve engineering problems. They will also apply principles in physics, mathematics, information technology and more."

Currently in NJIT biomedical classes, freshman bioengineering students use the same kits to complete a two-credit course in engineering
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Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
sheryl.m.weinstein@njit.edu
973-596-3436
New Jersey Institute of Technology
30-Jan-2007


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