NiCE (Networks in Classroom Education)
is a workshop for K-12 teachers and administrators with the goal of educating both about network science, enabling those teachers to bring network science thinking and ideas to their students.

Generations have long been described by the science of their time. The last 200 years provides a set of familiar examples: the landscape of the Gilded Age was dominated by labor, vast in its quantity and skill. The Second Industrial Revolution was characterized by machines and the science of mass production. In the Information Age, science and technology enabled exponential increases in speed and miniaturization. Those countries, businesses, and people who remain fixated on the science of the day are left behind tomorrow. A shift to the next generation of scientific advancement is ongoing. Network Science studies our world as it is becoming defined by connectivity. The world needs new science to understand implications of large scale connectedness: less at the individual level and more as an entire system.

As the world changes and has changed, one may expect education to likewise evolve. However, in many (not all) ways our education is the same now as it was in the early 20th century when we broke apart the "one-room schoolhouse" and began teaching different groups at different times in different rooms. Thankfully, we now reward (and punish) our students with grades rather than flogging, but linear thinking persists in our education system now as it did then. We live in a non-linear world and many educators have recognized that it is past time for our education system to update and reflect the world in which we live. The NiCE program is another step in that direction.

Though our environment may be characterized by networks and connectivity, network elements do not enter the educational lexicon until the Master’s and PhD levels of education. NiCE shifts that paradigm. 

We not only provide examples of how teachers may expose primary and secondary students to network thinking, but we use network elements to make curriculum development and delivery easier and more successful. How? Navigate through the tabs at the top to learn more about the program.

Through the lens of entities and connections, we see a tremendous opportunity to improve education by quantitatively identifying curricular elements central to interdisciplinary learning and sequencing the implementation of curriculum so these central topics may receive more classroom minutes. Students have natural intuition about networks because they live connected lives. We leverage this intuition toward greater understanding as we introduce alternative methods for teaching challenging subjects that include network elements to make these subjects more attainable to the students.

We are in the beginning stages of this program and would like to extend an invitation for you to participate. Please contact the organizers for further engagement.