Over the past few years, the topics of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and mathematics) have been pushed to the front line of education. STEM/STEAM has been around for decades but gained greater momentum under former President Barack Obama’s term. As a result, more Businesses and College are looking for students and teachers with some STEM/STEAM knowledge. Vocational and Career/Technical Education classes have used STEM/STEAM over the years, but the topic can be a bit intimidating to people. It shouldn’t. STEM/STEAM is educational, entertaining and fun.
Finding STEM/STEAM Resources
Teachers, parents and community members can find many STEM/STEAM resources by searching online, visiting local resources like museums, attending STEAM/STEAM workshops and conferences. Access to STEM/STEAM resources are everywhere. Many teachers are already using STEM/STEAM concepts in the classroom and may not have realized it. One of the biggest issues with STEM/STEAM is trying to pinpoint the right resources relating to STEM/STEAM and how to incorporate them in your classroom and school.
Allowing for Creativity
STEM/STEAM projects/activities allow students to use basic academic skills and combine them with real world or project-based learning (PBL) tasks or issues. Also, STEM/STEAM projects allow students to be creative. In the era of testing and repetitive review at times, STEM/STEAM projects can produce wonderful and engaging moments for students, teachers and parents.
The Impact of Computer Science
Computer Science is another skill that has also been highlighted more in the professional world with the growing age of technology. Coding, data structures, algorithms and programming are in everyday work and personal lives. Viewing content online, purchasing clothes, shopping online/in-person - all involve some type of computer science. And with greater use of computer science in schools, comes a bigger focus on ethical and legal issues with the impact on computer science.
Recommended STEM/STEAM/Computer Science Resources for Elementary, Middle and High Schools:
Here are some of my favorite resources for STEM/STEAM and Computer Science.
- International Society of Technology in Education- ISTE (STEM)
- Microsoft STEM Lesson Plans
- Microsoft for Educators-STEM
- NASA STEM
- National Science Foundation
- National Education Association
- Project Lead the Way
- U.S. Department of Education-STEM
- VEX Robotics
Charles Randolph has over 10 years experience as an Instructional Technology Coordinator (ITC) for Arlington Public Schools, VA. During that time he has worked directly with students, teachers and administration to infuse 21st century Instructional Technology/STEM/CTE skills in the classrooms and schools. Charles has also supported school and county-wide deployments and professional development initiatives.