Lab helps teachers plug into educational video games

Staley Upper Elementary school is embarking on a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics partnership with the Air Force Research Lab and Griffiss Institute. The partnership aims to spark young students’ enthusiasm about science, engineering and mathematics and help prepare them for college and career.

Through the program, engineers and experts will be available to offer professional development to teachers and unique programs for students. On Thursday, over 30 Rome City School District staff received training on an educational math video game called Dimension U.

"You will see kids more engaged in math classes, cooperating and showing up for class," said Dimension U trainer Magda Pecsenye. The emphasis is on hands-on learning experiences and encourages students and teachers to "learn by doing" with STEM curriculum which includes different modules.

Helen Rico, Griffiss Institute STEM coordinator, and Danielle Gambino, Rome lab computer scientist, both participated in the training. Rico’s goal for the Rome schools is to use the technology across district. "Students are learning in a medium that they enjoy," she said.

"Teachers have the ability to align all of the game skills to the NYS Common Core Learning Standards and lesson plans," said Staley Principal Karen Miller. This STEM partnership is sponsored by the National Defense Education Program, which is designed to increase rigor and standards.