IU Southeast to host STEM teaching conference featuring Dr. David West Reynolds

31st May 2024

New Albany, Ind. – Indiana University Southeast will host their 7th annual K-12 STEM Teacher Summer Institute on June 6th and 7th on the IU Southeast campus.

The two-day conference will feature hands-on workshops led by two state award-winning STEM teachers, several 7-minute STEM Slam classroom activities by teachers on both days, and workshops on integrating artificial intelligence into your classroom and incorporating global literacy into instruction.

New to the conference will be a featured presentation by Dr. David West Reynolds, a New York Times bestselling author and Lucasfilm consultant on Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones. His talk, “Star Wars Meets Indiana Jones: The Hero’s Journey for STEM,” will be presented on Friday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m. in the Stiefler Recital Hall at the Paul W. Ogle Cultural & Community Center on the Indiana University Southeast Campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Dr. David West Reynolds appears on set with R2D2 model during filming of Star Wars movie
Dr. David West Reynolds with R2D2

Reynolds, a New York Times #1 best-selling author, will share how narrative can make STEM education more engaging as he shares how his guidebooks to Star Wars spaceships and Jedi lightsabers became international best-sellers when he placed story at the heart of the technology. Reynolds will detail how he successfully combined his Star Wars communication insights with the classic Hero’s Journey narrative framework to win engagement for STEM subjects, writing NASA history books praised by astronauts, discovering new dinosaurs, and supporting arctic science research aboard an icebreaker.

“We can make STEM more engaging, and we can do it without compromising intellectual integrity,” Reynolds says, “but in today’s world we must learn to use the power of story to reach and inspire our audience.”

Reynolds, a native New Albanian and a graduate of IU Bloomington, has written for National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the BBC. He has repeatedly set records for audience engagement. One of his Star Wars online initiatives was called by Apple founder Steve Jobs “the biggest download event in the history of the Internet.”

The IU Southeast School of Education K-12 STEM Teacher Summer Institute is part of the Growing Tomorrow’s STEM Teachers (GTST) initiative through an Indiana Council for Higher Education grant. It seeks to enhance recruitment, preparation, and education of highly qualified pre-service and in-service STEM teachers in Indiana school corporations. The Summer Institute is open to K-12 teachers from Indiana and Kentucky. Registrations will be accepted through June 5th by completing the form at https://go.iu.edu/8pLz.

“The K-12 STEM Summer Institute is about providing content and pedagogy knowledge and addressing teachers’ affective needs,” said Alan Zollman, professor of mathematics education and founding director of the GTST program at IU Southeast.

For more information on the Growing Tomorrow’s STEM Teachers program visit https://southeast.iu.edu/education/gtst.php.  

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