Making It Easy: Online STEM Education Professional Development

One of the major challenges teachers face today is finding the time to continue their professional development.  Perhaps just as challenging is convincing elementary teachers to pursue professional development in STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) – content areas that many are not comfortable with or have much background in The Wheelock College Aspire Institute, with grant funding from NASA, has addressed both of these challenges in one fell-swoop, through the launch of online STEM education professional development courses for elementary level teachers!   In all, Aspire—through its  STEM Education Teacher Enhancement Project (STEP)—has developed eight online courses that provide in-service elementary teachers the opportunity to improve both their math and science content knowledge and their instruction methods.

These courses are the result of collaboration between Wheelock faculty, content experts, and public elementary school teachers who helped pilot and test the courses, offering valuable feedback that was incorporated into the final product.

Wheelock will offer two courses in Spring 2012:  Numbers and Operations  and  Teaching and Learning Elementary Science . Each three-credit graduate level course offers a balance of content knowledge, teaching theory and practical applications of classroom skills.  All courses are offered completely online and on a flexible schedule over eight weeks. Students can complete weekly assignments at the learning pace that works best for them.

For further information about the program, please contact Barbara Joseph, Project Manager, at  or 617-879-2194.

STEP up your STEM education Success!


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Barbara Joseph joined Aspire in December 2010 as STEP Project Manager for a NASA-funded grant. Her role is to manage the development and rollout of high-quality online math and science in-service courses to elementary teachers.

Prior to joining Aspire, she spent over 20 years of her career in high technology, specifically software localization. She has held various positions from software engineer, director of technical services, vice president of operations and most recently, project/program manager. She has a strong interest in math and has tutored elementary math in grades 1-5 and high school algebra and geometry. As an advisor to TenMarks Education, an online supplemental math program, Joseph was involved in consulting on the design and content of the program and website.

She received her BA from Boston College majoring in French, Computer Science, and minoring in Math. She also received an Entrepreneurial Management Certificate from Babson College.