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IISME Details: SWEPTs and the SWEPT Network

SWEPTs. IISME's Summer Fellowship Program is one of about 75 different Scientific Work Experience Programs for Teachers (SWEPTs). Although independent of one another, these programs all share the common aim of providing hands-on immersion experiences to science, math, and technology teachers in order to improve the quality of education in those fields for all students.

In virtually all SWEPTs, teachers receive summer fellowships in which they are paired with industry or research-laboratory scientists and engineers, work in their laboratories or offices, and earn between $400-750 a week. During their fellowships, participants in most programs also develop a strategy or plan for transferring their summer experience into updated and enriched classroom instruction. Most SWEPTs offer teachers year-round assistance in the form of workshops, training, networking opportunities, etc., as they strive to make this transfer.

The SWEPT Network. The group of loosely-affiliated SWEPTs, which has no formal structure or formal membership requirements, is referred to informally as the www.SWEPT Network. It has evolved over time since its beginning in the late 1980s, when funding from the NSF and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation enabled the Triangle Coalition for Science & Technology Education{} and IISME to work together to replicate IISME's Summer Fellowship Program nationally.

Currently, IISME maintains an online directory, with abundant information, for all known www.SWEPTs, provides online advice on how to start a www.SWEPT, and helps facilitate the SWEPT Network through conferences, a newsletter, and a www.SWEPT electronic mailing list. www.The Triangle Coalition supports the SWEPT Network by sponsoring conferences periodically and providing consultants and seed funding to help initiate new SWEPTs.

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