Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

visitors in classroom
Guests from the National Institute of Aerospace introduce themselves to the Telecom students. (Ray Price photo)

Telecom students and faculty are over the moon for their new project: creating "Spotlite videos" for a NASA web series. The videos are 90- to 120-second video segments designed to increase scientific literacy by explaining common science misconceptions. Each one will focus on a single STEM concept.

The new project is part of a five-year grant expanding a multi-media educational program called NASA eClips™, which was developed by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in 2008.

The NIA was one of 27 organizations across the nation to receive funding through a K-12 cooperative agreement award from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. 

Tami Byron, STEM Instructional Specialist - Curriculum & Development and NIA Educator-in-Residence, was instrumental in bringing the project to Telecom.

According to the grant's executive summary, "NASA eClips™ 4D will design, develop, disseminate, and discover (4D) new strategies to enable STEM education resulting in an increase in science content understanding while telling the NASA Science story."

In late 2015, Telecom Supervisor Ray Price welcomed NIA representatives of the project, who came to see the Telecom facilities and meet him, Instructor Carl Daniels Jr., and the TV Production students.

Five visitors came and spoke to the students about the NASA eClips™ project: Director of Educational Outreach Shelley Spears, NASA eClips™ Program Coordinator Shannon Verstynen, Senior Education Specialist Sharon Bowers, Media Production Manager Scott Bednar, and Program Support Specialist Victoria O'Leary.

The students learned that NNPS is both a partner who will help create the video content, and a pilot group that will help test the results of the new educational resources. In other words, NNPS students will be creating and consuming the content, and demonstrating its effectiveness.

Science Mission Directorate education objectives
  • Enable STEM education
  • Improve U.S. scientific literacy
  • Advance national education goals
  • Leverage efforts through partnerships

Mentors from the NIA - educators and producers - will instruct the Telecom students in the design process for producing science videos.

Telecom students will benefit from this unique partnership in three ways: They will learn the scientific concept that they are charged with explaining in the video, get extra video production practice, and gain experience collaborating with an outside professional agency.

Price and Daniels will guide the students in determining the procedure for producing the videos. Image libraries, interview footage with subject-matter experts, and music clips will be provided for the students to use.

In the future, some videos may also be produced in Spanish.