- More Information From The FOA:
Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide
Videos on YouTube
Approved Training Schools
Careers In Fiber Optics
Fiber Optic Association is
international non-profit professional association of
the fiber optic industry. More
about the FOA here.
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Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time,
(C)1999-2015, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.
Optics Lesson Plans For STEM Teachers
STEM or STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts
and math – is the key to future success (and maybe
survival) for everyone, especially students in schools
today. These subjects can be complicated and confusing to
some students – we like to quote science fiction writer
Arthur C. Clarke who wrote 2001, A Space Odyssey, who said
technology is indistinguishable from magic!" But
like magic, these topics can be interesting and fun, if
presented in an entertaining manner.
It's our goal to introduce you, and help you to introduce
your students, to the technology that makes much of the
technology we use today possible – fiber optic
communications – and show the STEAM topics related to it,
including the arts – and make it entertaining and fun.
What's "Fiber Optics"
Fiber optics is the primary medium we use to communicate
today. Phones, landline or wireless, the Internet and
cable TV all communicate on fiber optic cables. Even when
you are using your cell phone, it's not connected with a
fiber optic cable, but the cell tower it's connected to
Fiber optics carries signals as pulses of light while
copper cables carry signals as pulses of electrons. As the
photo below by AT&T from
the 1970s showed, one hair-thin fiber can carry more
signals than the giant copper telephone cable in the
photo. Today's fibers can carry millions of times the data
that that fiber could 40 years ago!
It's easy to demonstrate how fiber works - we can do it
with a sample of plastic fiber and a laser pointer like
the photo below and
shown in the YouTube video "Fiber
Optics For Teachers - An Introduction." Here
are directions to do it yourself with the sample of
plastic optical fiber (POF).
Demo fiber optics in your classroom!
FOA has samples of this kind of fiber that we will send to
teachers at schools in the US or you can find it at
science distributors. Request a sample by sending an email
to the FOA at <firstname.lastname@example.org> with your name, the
school where you teach and a mailing address.
demonstration you can do uses a larger plastic
rod. FOA can provide instructions on how you can obtain materials to do
Where is Fiber Used?
If you have ever wondered how you can download
information from the Internet so fast or talk to someone
anywhere in the world and hear them so clearly, it's
mainly because the connection is over fiber optics. You
are communicating at the "speed of light."
Basically all communications (phones, the Internet,
etc.) depends on fiber optics. Fiber has replaced copper
cables, wireless and satellites for worldwide
communications links as shown in the photo below. It's a
NASA composite photo of the earth at night where lights
show the centers of population. Overlaying a map of
undersea fiber optic cables shows how they connect the
places where the people are.
In the US, cables on the land connect all the population
centers, providing the backbone for all phones and the
Today, fiber is being used to connect homes directly
-famous systems like "Verizon FiOS" and "Google
Fiber" and hundreds of other local networks use fiber to
connect the home with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second -
that's one billion bits of data every second, fast enough
to download a movie in seconds.
Videos And Demos Or Labs
FOA creates lots of curriculum materials for our hundreds
of schools around the world and much of it is appropriate
for introducing students to fiber optics.
place to begin is the FOA YouTube video "Fiber
Optics For Teachers - An Introduction." It shows
some demos you can do in the classroom and offers a
sample of the plastic optical fiber for teachers.
are directions to do this demonstration yourself
with a sample of POF from FOA.
There are 3 videos in the FOA "Fiber Optics Live" series
that show how fiber works using large (30mm) acrylic
rods and a laser pointer:
Light Travels In A Fiber
FOA has a video lecture series on YouTube with over 40
lectures and the first one is a good introduction on how
fiber is used in communications: FOA
Lecture 1: Fiber Optics & Communications
FOA has a video about all the places where fiber is used -
it's called "Where
Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics" and it not only shows
you where fiber is used but where job opportunities are
for those interested in working in this field.
are links to all the FOA YouTube videos.
PowerPoint Presentation On Fiber Optics For Teachers
is a short PowerPoint presentation you can give to your
classes yourself. It is aimed at introducing fiber optic
technology to science or career education students and
showing what career opportunities exist in the
can download this short introduction to fiber optics
appropriate for any middle or high school class studying
communications or general science. Download
it here (PPT, 3MB).
Are Your Students Interested In Careers In Fiber Optics?
FOA has a page on Careers In Fiber Optics and a YouTube video Careers In Fiber Optics. They can learn more about what fiber techs do and the opportunities for well-paying jobs in the field.
Optic Science Project For Class or Science Fairs
Fiber Optic Science Project - The first science
project using fiber optics was created by a middle school
student with the FOA's help long ago. Now FOA offers several
projects that can be duplicated and expanded by science
students for a class project or a science fair project.
Projects are noted for grade levels.
Resources From FOA
else does the FOA offer for teachers?
Online Guide covers everything from the basics to
advanced technology on the FOA website. It's about 1000
pages of technical information with it's own Google Search
engine to help you find things.
at FOA-approved schools can offer the FOA CFOT
to know more?
you want to offer FOA certification in your program, FOA
The Trainer and Instructor Certification" Program.
Become a certified fiber optic instructor and take home
a complete training program.
For Fiber Optic Training? You can find a list of FOA
approved schools that offer CFOT certification here
on the list of FOA approved schools .