Some students face more challenges than others in their learning process. They were once labelled as ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’; today, with our better understanding of the medical conditions that can hinder learning, they are simply students with special needs.
Students with physical or cognitive disabilities require special education teachers who can give them individual attention, which is often a problem for institutions that are understaffed or have a modest budget; however, investing in assistive technology can increase their level of independence and decrease the need for one-on-one time—it does not eliminate the need for special ed teachers completely, but it certainly reduces the strain. Let’s see how.
Having probed parents for their feelings on STEM/STEAM, we now turn to toy experts for their perspectives on what makes a good STEM/STEAM toy.
This section consists of input from a survey in which 67 Toy Association members and toy experts participated. This was followed with 26 in-depth phone interviews along with insights gathered from two expert panels hosted at both the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and at the 116th annual North American International Toy Fair.
Based on the above input, the Toy Association identified 14 unifying characteristics of STEM/STEAM toys, including 2 mandatory and 12 strengthening, all of which are detailed below.