2018 News

USF hosts U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Annual National Summer Teacher Institute

USPTO participants build a internet of things toolkit

Educators from across the nation gained hands-on experience while learning about inventions and innovations as part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s annual National Summer Teacher Institute at the USF Tampa campus.

TAMPA, Fla. (August 15, 2018) – A marine and physical science teacher for more than a decade, Gaither High School educator Debby Guice had an idea for a new project in her classroom.

She wanted equip her students to create their own inventions that could be used to help solve issues like global warming or other environmental challenges that face the Tampa Bay Area. Unsure about the specifics and logistics of designing this project, Guice wasn’t sure where to start.

Through a weeklong institute presented by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in partnership with USF’s College of Education and the David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Guice said she now has the skills she needs to introduce innovation and entrepreneurship into her classroom and to inspire her students to become the next generation of problem solvers.

“I am always telling my students they can do anything, the sky is the limit, and just dream as big as you possibly can,” Guice said. “With things like this, they can actually see that it’s possible.”

More than 50 K-12 educators from across the country visited the USF Tampa campus this summer to receive free training and resources designed to help teachers inspire their students to become the next generation of inventors and problem solvers.

The 2018 National Summer Teacher Institute on Innovation, STEM and Intellectual Property, is a multi-day training opportunity that combined experiential training tools, practices and project-based learning models to help K-12 educators increase their knowledge of making, inventing and innovation.

The central focus of this year's Institute was on the creation and protection of intellectual property — including inventions, knowledge discovery, creative ideas and expressions of the human mind that may have commercial value and that are protectable under patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret laws.

Throughout the week, educators heard from various speakers and instructors including experts from the USPTO, noted scientists and engineers, entrepreneurs and representatives from other Federal Government agencies and non-profit organizations. During these sessions, they learned about famous inventors, patent and trademark law and what it takes to market their own inventions.

To provide first-hand experience in designing and constructing their own innovations, participants also completed hands-on activities such as 3D printing, bridge building and a week-long group project in which teams had to create and present about their own inventions.

USPTO National Summer Teacher Institute participants share their invention

Teachers Suzette Gagnon, Eladio Chavez and Susan Hunter share their invention, “The Crab Patrol 2000” — a tool that can be used to clean up trash that was dumped in the ocean. The team developed their invention throughout a week-long project as part of the National Summer Teacher Institute.

“The biggest thing was focusing on the problem, knowing what we wanted to solve, and then figuring out the technology to do it,” said Suzette Gagnon, an educator from Jacksonville, Fla.

The opportunity to network and collaborate with other teachers as part of the program was a unique experience, especially for educators like Eladio Chavez, an educator from Los Angeles who said connecting with others who teach his subject matter is a rare opportunity.

“We teach such specialized areas,” Chavez said. “For me, I’m the only design teacher at my school. Getting with other like-minded teachers, getting feedback and learning from their experiences is invaluable.”

As part of this year’s program, USF and Occam Technology Group, an engineering firm located at USF’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), introduced educators to technological advances of the future through workshops about the “Internet of Things” – the connection of the internet with everyday objects, allowing them to transmit data to one another. Through hosting their own in-class demonstrations about topics such as the Internet of Things, educators can develop curriculum that connects that demonstration with learning outcomes related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ray Carr, chief technology officer at Occam Technology Group, said it’s important for educators to have a broad knowledge of the innovations and technology that are coming in the future, because it will help them better prepare their students to become the innovators of tomorrow.

“This type of training gives teachers a chance to think outside of the box and it gives them more information to come up with these ideas,” Carr said. “What they’re taking from here is what they are going to take to their students and it will help them to do the same thing.”

USPTO National Summer Teacher Institute participants visit USF CAMLS

Participants visit USF’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) to learn more about the center’s work in technology and innovation.

As the nation’s fifth leading public university in generating United States utility patents, USF’s culture of innovation and research continuously inspires developments that have incredible impact on the regional economy and the world.

"When we look at the schools of the future, technology will continue to be an increasingly important part of teaching and learning, and equipping teachers with these skills is critical to preparing students to tackle the challenges and innovations of tomorrow,” said Robert C. Knoeppel, dean of the USF College of Education. “The USF College of Education is thrilled and honored to partner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to host the National Summer Teacher Institute and to fulfill our mission of serving the needs of all educators."

About the United States Patent and Trademark Office:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal agency for granting patents and registering trademarks, fulfilling the Constitutional mandate to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries.” Under this system of protection for inventors and entrepreneurs, American industry has flourished, and the USPTO is at the cutting edge of America’s technological progress. To learn more, please visit www.uspto.gov.