2007 Summer Workshop Held In Rhode Island

Roger Williams University (RWU) was the site of summer 2007 PHOTON PBL’s professional development workshop. Twenty-seven secondary and postsecondary educators traveled from across the country to scenic Bristol, Rhode Island, to learn how to introduce their students to optics and photonics science and technology using problem- based learning (PBL) strategies.

The workshop goals were:

  • Introduce project participants to the first three PHOTON PBL Challenges.
  • Gain feedback from participants to guide project principal investigators (PI) in editing the first three and developing the remaining five Challenges.
  • Create a community between the secondary and postsecondary partners who will be working together to implement the PBL Challenges in their home institutions.
  • Build a network of educators who will become resources to one another as they introduce their students to the PBL Challenges.
  • Provide the educators with the tools to build their own PBL Challenges.
  • Provide a stimulating professional development experience in an attractive higher education learning environment.

The eight PBL Challenges, captured in academic and industry settings, will include numerous photonics applications such as:

  • Environmental sensing
  • Optical science/systems
  • Lighting & illumination
  • Precision measurements
  • Imaging
  • Laser materials processing
  • Laser beam diagnostics
  • Medical diagnostics & therapeutics


The remaining five Challenges are being completed during fall 2007 and spring 2008. Participants will field-test the Challenges between fall 2007 and spring 2009. During 2008-2009, the PIs will write and revise the student and teacher resources, implement the assessment tools, collect and analyze the data from the school test-sites and disseminate the project activities.

Participating Schools:


  • Hunstville City Schools Engineering Magnet
  • University of Alabama Huntsville


  • Pima Community College
  • Toltecalli Academy


  • California State Polytechnic University
  • Vista del Lago High School


  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Greater Hartford Academy of Math & Science
  • H.H. Ellis Technical High School
  • Plain? eld High School
  • Three Rivers Community College**
  • University of Hartford**


  • Englewood High School
  • Florida Community College Jacksonville


  • Kauai Community College
  • Kauai High School


  • Oakridge High School

New Hampshire:

  • Kingswood Regional High School/Region 9 Vocational Center
  • New Hampshire Community Technical College at Pease

New York:

  • Saunders Trades and Technical High School
  • Vaughn College of Aeronautics & Technology

North Carolina:

  • Central Carolina Community College

South Carolina:

  • Tri-County Technical College
  • Westside High School


  • Collin County Community College District
  • Frisco Liberty High School


  • Southwest Vermont Career Development Center

**Participating in collaboration with Conn.’s NSF/ATE-funded Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing.

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