Women remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. In the field of engineering, for example, women earned fewer than 20 percent of doctorates in 2014.
Such gaps, however, are not the result of differences in intellectual ability. Girls currently make up over half of the United States’ gifted student population. If girls have the smarts needed for success in STEM, then what factors explain why they don’t pursue education and careers in these fields?
In my years teaching middle school science, summer was always an ideal time to kick back and let my mind drift over events of the previous school year. Inevitably, ideas for changes and improvements drifted to the surface as I thought about what went great and not so well.
Since STEM is a relatively new initiative, summer is the ideal time to think through some ways to ratchet up your success in the coming school year. And if you’re a new STEM teacher, this is a perfect time to dive in and wrap your head around what you’ll be doing so you’ll get off to a great STEM start.
Here are some of my suggestions for what you could be doing in July to prepare for the beginning of school in August or September.
With the rapid changes that are affecting the job market every day, the expectation for school to prepare students for real life is becoming harder and harder to live up to. How are teachers supposed to make children ready for their future careers when the facts they are teaching will no longer be true and the technology they are using will already be old by the time they finish?
It is a daunting task, but technology, even if it risks being obsolete by the time they graduate, can be an invaluable tool to help the students of today become the workers of tomorrow. Let’s explore how.
When we think of technology in the classroom, the first image that comes to mind is probably a room full of students staring at screens all day, raising legitimate concerns about their eyesight, lack of meaningful interaction with other people, and for the younger ones, even about their brain development.
But technology, including the devices and apps used in education, is not only advancing, it is changing form, so the stereotype no longer has to be true. Interacting with a screen is only a part of the experience EdTech has to offer: from artificial intelligence to mixed reality, education technology has left the limited space of the screen behind and is acquiring a role in the classroom that is not just larger, but also more varied.
Many of my middle school students were natural scientists. They loved to explore, invent, build, figure things out and be actively engaged in their learning. While they would tolerate working with a fake scenario (“A space alien has just landed and . . .”) they were most engaged when dealing with problems that real scientists and engineers were working on.
Environmental issues were among their favorites; they wanted to make the world a better place.
That’s reason enough to be a STEM advocate! Kids need a place where they can get together to learn how to approach and solve problems they care about.
In a world where the importance of technology is growing by the minute, it comes as no surprise that educators understand the importance of focusing on STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Programming is already gaining popularity, but there is another area of knowledge that involves all four letters of the acronym and deserves more attention in a school system that truly means to keep up with the times: robotics.
The job market is changing by the minute. While accurately predicting the future is impossible, that is a statement with which most analysts agree. Over 60% of our current students will end up having careers that do not exist yet, and for a teacher whose task is to prepare them for those careers, keeping up with the breakneck pace of change can be daunting.
What can we do to ensure the future generations are ready? Although the future is uncertain, we do have a few certainties to start from.
Check these classroom-friendly tips and resources that you can use to introduce young learners to coding, storytelling, and creative problem-solving!
Educational Robotics allows students to learn in different ways STEM disciplines, with the objective to facilitate students’ skills and attitudes for analysis and operation of robots. But robotics in the classroom has several other benefits: let’s learn more about how it impacts on education.