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Inspiring the next generation of scientists and astronauts

The Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Space Foundation selected Delphian faculty member Diego Martinez as recipient of the 2018 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. The award is given annually in recognition of creative and innovative use of technology by K-12 educators. The award, named for Mercury and Apollo astronaut Alan Shepard, was presented during the 34th Space Symposium opening ceremony to an audience of 15,000 people including the Vice President of the United States. We are honored to have Diego as a part of our school and appreciate all he does to inspire and challenge our students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Below is an excerpt from Diego’s speech upon receiving the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. 

  If we can routinely release the power of the atom, why can’t we routinely release the power of students? I think the answer to that is in knowing the first principles of education. Currently teachers are being tasked with the impossible: keep 30 or more students learning the same thing, at the same rate. This is the inefficiency of the century and it’s screaming for innovation. Having worked in the trenches with public school teachers for over a decade, I know the heartache and frustration.   We instinctively know change is necessary. But is a breakthrough even possible? A great scientist, Nikola Tesla, once made breakthroughs in this very city. He inadvertently shut down a generator to the city with his artificial lightning while working on the wireless transmission of electrical power. Some of the greatest electrical experiments were done right here in Colorado Springs. Critics of Tesla couldn’t comprehend that a device like an iPhone could even exist. Tesla understood the underlying principles and his predictions of a wireless world are all but here as thousands of satellites may soon interlink to provide broadband internet access to the entire world. It may appear that scientists like Tesla can predict the future but it’s really just about understanding underlying principles. Knowing these principles allows one to solve problems, and when one can solve problems one can ​survive.​ Great empires and ​companies​ have turned to dust in the presence of poorly educated leaders. Education is important. I can’t begin to describe the successes I’ve had teaching with the tools I’ve learned at the Delphian School. I originally used two of their innovative algebra courses when I worked as a public school teacher in the San Luis Valley. I eventually decided to work at Delphian after seeing some of the amazing results. The tools used there are a lot like Tesla’s innovations; they are ahead of their time. I invite all of you to come and see what is possible when “first principles” of education are applied. The future of mankind depends on what we’re doing in education ​right now.

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