National Summer Teacher Institute: frequently asked questions

NSTI participants

Who may apply?

Elementary school, middle school, or high school teachers who meet all of the criteria below:

  • At least three years of prior teaching in one or more of the following STEM areas: biological sciences, physical sciences, computational sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics; OR three years of prior teaching experience in one or more of the following areas of education: vocational and technical education courses such as mechanics, woodworking, welding, or rapid prototyping; graphic design; industrial design; computer-aided design; design thinking; invention education; creative thinking; visualization, intellectual property; or entrepreneurship.
     
  • A commitment in school year 2019-20 to teach in one or more of the following STEM areas: biological sciences, physical sciences, computational sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics; OR a commitment in school year 2019-20 to teach in one or more of the following areas of education: vocational and technical education courses such as mechanics, woodworking, welding, or rapid prototyping; graphic design; industrial design; computer-aided design; design thinking; invention education; creative thinking; visualization, intellectual property; or entrepreneurship.
     
  • At least three years of prior teaching OR three years of mentoring students in areas directly related to invention, innovation, making, or entrepreneurship, such as making or design-it-yourself projects, invention competitions, robotics programs, science fair projects, scouting, inventors club, 4-H, or other relevant educational mentoring experiences.
     
  • A strong commitment to making, inventing, innovating and exploring entrepreneurship with student audiences. In addition, participant teachers also agree to cooperate with reasonable efforts to share experiences and outcomes with other teachers at the institute and with the USPTO.
     
  • Approval from principal or school administrator for attendance for the duration of the program.

 

When is the deadline for submitting applications?

  • The 2018 NSTI application deadline was JUNE 11, 2018.  The 2019 NSTI application will be released in Spring 2019.

 

Will everyone who applies be accepted for participation in the program?

  • No, space is limited. The selection process is based upon the responses on the application form and school and community demographics. Approximately fifty percent of the applicants will be selected from within a 50 mile radius of the local venue.

 

What is the USPTO’s goal in the selection process?

  • Our goal is to provide opportunities for educators to explore the concepts of intellectual property creation, development, and protection as it relates to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, art, design, invention, and innovation. We desire to convene educators from across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and school districts throughout the country. Factors to be considered include subject areas taught, involvement in student mentoring, diversity in size of school district, school type (private or public, rural or urban), and socioeconomic backgrounds of student populations and communities. Teachers from all schools and communities are encouraged to apply, and the USPTO hopes to have a wide variety of K-12 educators and interests represented in the cohort.   

 

When will applicants be notified of their selection?

  • The USPTO will begin notifying selected applicants via email approximately 2-4 weeks after the application window closes.

 

If I am selected to be a part of the Institute, when do I have to notify the USPTO of my acceptance?

  • The USPTO requires notification of acceptance as soon as possible after notification of acceptance in  order to facilitate necessary timely travel arrangements.

 

Can I choose to participate less than the six days planned for the Institute?

  • No. Only teachers that can fully participate for the duration of the six-day institute will be accepted into this program.

 

What are the primary objectives of the Teacher Innovation Institute?

  • Increase public knowledge about the significance of intellectual property and innovation, especially as it relates to STEM, art, design, and entrepreneurship
  • Help increase the number of students actively pursuing making, inventing, innovation, entrepreneurship, and STEM fields of study and careers
  • Offer tools and instructional strategies to encourage student learning about STEM, innovation, and intellectual property
  • Highlight the accomplishments and contributions of inventors and the advances realized as a result of invention.

 

What is the content scope of the Institute?

  • Sessions at the institute will cover a broad range of topics in intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets), STEM education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • The materials will help teachers incorporate making, inventing, and intellectual property creation and protection into STEM lesson plans.
  • Teachers will be equipped to challenge young innovators and entrepreneurs to make, improve, and repurpose new inventions from expired patents, inventions, and designs.

 

Who will conduct the sessions?

  • Workshops will be conducted by USPTO experts, National Science Foundation-funded researchers, experts from other federal agencies, representatives from the Maker Education community, and distinguished faculty inventors from U.S. universities.

 

What are the learning outcomes of the Institute? What can I expect to learn by participating?

  • Apply the principles of intellectual property and innovation to help further motivate and engage students in authentic project-based learning in STEM.
  • Experience how innovators invent new things, improve upon old ones, and apply the creative design and engineering process.
  • Explore resources  designed to encourage student inquiry, such as the Science of Innovation collection and other USPTO-generated materials.   
  • Become part of a national network of education professionals at the cutting-edge of integrating intellectual property, innovation, and STEM into K-12 learning environments.

 

Is there any cost involved for national teachers?

  • No.  Teachers selected as part of the national pool will receive lodging and transportation expenses in accordance with federal government travel policies.  Meals are provided during the program.  Teachers coming from less than 50 miles will receive parking and any meals associated with the program.

 

I live within 50 miles of the venue, may I still apply to participate in NSTI?

  • Yes, the NSTI is open to national and local teachers.  USPTO may only assist with travel and lodging for those teachers who are selected to participate and live outside of a 50-mile radius of the venue.  Local teachers who are selected to participate in the program and who live within a 50-mile radius will be provided with daily parking, materials and meals provided as part of NSTI.

 

Do teachers receive a stipend for attending?

  • No.

 

Can teachers receive continuing education credits for attending?

  • USPTO will provide a certificate at the end of the professional development indicating the number of contact hours.  The answer of whether a district or school will count the time as continuing education credits depends on the district or school.  USPTO does not issue credit hours but is happy to provide you with additional documentation of participation should you seek to get credit hours from your school district.  For reference, the 2018 NSTI program consisted of 50 contact hours.

 

Where will we stay during NSTI?

  • There is a block of rooms usually reserved near the venue.  The USPTO will cover lodging costs for teachers who are selected to participate in the program as part of the national pool of applicants, that is, those who reside more than 50 miles from the venue.   

 

If selected to participate in the program-may I bring my child, children, pet, spouse or significant other with me to NSTI?

  • It is not advisable.  Travel and lodging are provided for selected program participants only.   The NSTI is an immersive and intensive program.  There is very little time for socializing outside of the cohort; as such, it is not an ideal setting for children, spouses, significant others or pets.