What is STEM? Teachers and Educators know… but the vast majority of the public isn’t clear on the intricacies which create our education system at large, in today’s world.
As our education collective undergoes massive change, we take time to recognize many different areas of budding education, finding itself welcoming undisputed development.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of students in four common and specific disciplines. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The approach relates to more than one branch of knowledge, applied strategically. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
Establishing a MakerSpace in the classroom inspires students to create a planning tool which results in critical thinking, and STEM related project, often crossing over into technology such as recording one’s learning using a tool like Collaaj to showcase understanding or share their findings. A step-by-step process has been designed to for Students to streamline their decision making;
- Define the Problem
- Use Empathy and Perspective Taking
- Idea Generation
- Sketch Design
- Build Prototype – Text – Refine
- Feedback from the User
- Final Reflection
- Share Out : The goal of the design thinking process is sharing learning out to a broader public. This is typically done by sharing documentation of learning and final reflections through social media.
That said, a compelling change has entered the scope of education with specific regard to STEM.
Science, Engineering, Technology & Mathematics: Throughout history the United States has been the leader in these fields, however, recently fewer students have been focusing on these subjects.
“According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM career and have proven a proficiency in mathematics. Currently, nearly 28 percent of high school freshman declare an interest in a STEM-related field, a department website says, but 57 percent of these students will lose interest by the time they graduate from high school.” www.livescience.com
Supporting this theory, countless programs have developed to encourage K-20 students to stay engaged. Previous political campaigns supported STEM learning as well as many after school programs, individual programs, libraries, community-driven collaborations and more established to uphold the standard.
Case Story: Twenty-seven chosen communities across the United States are demonstrating strong cross-sector collaboration, selected for the initial cohort of the STEM Ecosystems Initiatives national Community of Practice.
STEM Learning Ecosystems provide the cross-sector learning such programs thrive on.
Such systems are a great example of how communities are working hard to support a creative cross-over to an age-old education standard. Offering a key platform for national and regional peer-to-peer professional learning network for communities to share information and expertise. Members of the community help shape agendas for collaboration across the country.
STEM Ecosystems established around the U.S. prove the outcry for STEM engaged projects, and learning. Such projects elevate students and the education collective alike.
The “Design Thinking Process” (mentioned above) adds an additional spin on this layered subject, encouraging a critical thinking process for STEM. Students then apply cohesive STEM learning principles to technology.
EdTech update reports: “Design thinking is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand. The projects teach students how to make a stable product, use tools, think about the needs of another, solve challenges, overcome setbacks and stay motivated on a long-term problem. The projects also teach students to build on the ideas of others, vet sources, generate questions, deeply analyze topics, and think creatively and analytically. Many of those same qualities are goals of the Common Core State Standards.” What Does ‘Design Thinking’ Look Like in School?
Ultimately, the over/under on STEM is widening the scope between hands-on learning and virtual learning. As this process continues to unfold, the opportunities are limitless.
Here at Collaaj, we bridge the gap between hands-on learning and tech. Featuring the ultimate cool tool for an impactful learning journey for blended, flipped and mirroring your findings and understanding of a subject. We acknowledge the process and encourage you to incorporate video along the STEM path for effective learning.
Written By: Chelsie Foster