SciTrends advances the mission of the ATE program by illustrating the multiple educational and career pathways that begin at the certificate, associate, and baccalaureate levels and that may be pursued throughout the United States. The web-based video series is designed to motivate high school students to learn about and become interested in pursuing careers as science and engineering technicians in six manufacturing areas - additive manufacturing; agricultural and environmental technologies; biotechnology and chemical engineering manufacturing technologies; mechatronics and electronics, including optical and photonics technologies; semi?], micro?] and nanotechnologies; and supply chain, logistics and transportation technologies. Each video has three segments: an episode using a science news magazine format to engage students; a segment highlighting the educational pathways for achieving careers as technicians and a segment exploring career opportunities. Although this series is produced specifically for the Web, each episode and individual segments are downloadable in high resolution video format for organizations and users. The six complete episodes will have a total running time suitable for video broadcast.
A large group of stakeholders from industry, educational institutions, and students participate in all aspects of developing and testing the videos. A diverse team of teen ambassador/advocates are convened to assist in promoting and assessing the use of social media in promoting viewership and dissemination of the videos among their peers.
A key outcome of the research is to determine what aspects or components of the project were most effective in motivating student behavior or changing perception of a technician career. The project follows the research guidelines in "The Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development" to measure how these videos change student perceptions of technical careers and technician education and the actions students take as a result of the videos. Focus groups of 8?]10 high school students at locations around the country complete a pre?]treatment survey and engage in a group discussion to assess their interest in, knowledge of, and intent to pursue a career related to a STEM/ATE field. They then watch one or more videos produced as part of this project. Afterward, they again complete a companion survey to assess changes in attitudes, understanding, and intent. In addition, 2?]3 months later, these same students are asked to complete a follow?]up survey to further assess the ongoing impact of the videos.
Pellet Productions has previously developed videos about ATE projects and centers. The videos are posted on YouTube, iTunes and Vimeo and on YouTube alone there have been 375,000 views with 858 subscribers. More than 300 colleges and other educational organizations have requested and downloaded the ATETV videos. ATE projects, ATE Centers, The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and the American Association of Community College report that they embed ATETV videos directly on their Web sites. PBS has incorporated all of the ATETV videos into PBS Learning Media. More than 120 cable access stations in 42 states are currently airing ATETV videos. The knowledge attained is used to develop videos to help high school students and their parents understand careers in the middle skill technical occupations that make up the majority of available jobs and the preparation necessary to be employed in them.