These points of view are actually hurting our kids, and by adopting this mentality we aren't equipping students to take ownership of their learning.
Kids have grown smart with technology, they have information at their fingertips but don't always know how to use it. Plagiarism isn't always intentional, kids don't understand, and let's be honest, teachers don't always understand... I've been told this is not something that is taught in teacher prep programs.
Our students need boundaries and consistency. They need opportunities to use academic integrity as a learning tool. Rather than asking students to write under supervision or expecting teachers to "catch" plagiarism, we need to put the onus on our students to think critically about their work.
Here are some ways that teachers and principals can motivate students to take ownership:
Things to Consider when Evaluating a Platform for Teaching and Learning.
There are a variety of factors to consider as you investigate a system to best fit your school or district. It is important to factor in both internal and external stakeholders, recognizing that a teaching and learning platform should streamline workflow for all stakeholders and provide more bang for your buck.
1. Learning Tools
Often students, teachers, and parents are overwhelmed with too many systems. There is a lack of consistency, and disjointed processes cause unnecessary frustration and decreased efficiency. Teachers have a variety of tools at their disposal, but are unsure of where to go for what they need to support curriculum and instruction, in fact 59% of teachers complain of too many systems to interact with.
Students, teachers, parents, and administrators need a central hub for resources. So, while a variety of tools for learning is a must, a platform must allow for the sharing and integrating of digital curriculum resources into teaching. In addition, learning tools need to fit the age range within your school or district – flexibility being a key factor in the platform you select.
Opportunities for Collaboration
Learning tools must allow both teachers and students to collaborate, work at their own pace, access various resources, and extend their learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. The learning environment must be device-agnostic and support anywhere, anytime learning.
Users should have spaces to participate in authentic learning experiences with their peers; to collaborate, create, discuss, and solve problems. This may occur in a course setting, but users should also be able to create their own groups or communities. Group pages allow students to communicate with a sub-set of classmates to share files and work collaboatively. Integrated instant messaging and video or text-based conferencing tools are two additional features to look for because of their obvious benefits.
The beauty of a teaching and learning platform is that the integrated curriculum and content provide teachers with scaffolding, but the autonomy to modify and create meaningful learning experiences for students. Teachers must be able to create (and share) assignments, discussions, surveys, tests, media, files and more. Additionally, teachers must have the flexibility to design experiences that support a range of ages and skill levels.
[Our] platform saves our instructors time and allows them to focus on more important tasks—like teaching their classes instead of searching for and/or creating digital content to support curriculum. We’ve created strong links between curriculum, assessment, and standards, and connected learning to our pupils’ personal goals, aspirations, and interests.
Assessment and Evaluation
Digital assessment tools should allow for easier delivery of assessments and more reliable data analytics. These tools must go beyond what traditional paper and pencil assessments can offer by evaluating higher-order thinking skills and performance tasks.
Students must be supported to move at their own pace, allowing teachers to use monitor students’ needs in real time and push unique materials to selected groups of students. A teaching and learning platform that encourages actions linked directly to learner preferences, strengths, and gaps increases instructional effectiveness.
There is no denying that parental involvement plays a critical role in a child’s success. A teaching and learning platform should stimulate family involvement in student learning, enabling English-speaking parents to learn along with their children.
Solutions communication tools that can be delivered in the native language for non-English speaking families. These communication tools should provide more than grades. Parents should be able to view assignments, lesson plans, support materials, student work, and more. When parents have access to a variety of resources they can better support their child’s learning.
The characteristics of adult learners support the need for integrated and self-paced professional learning opportunities. Adult learning must be relevant, practical, goal-oriented; and encourage collaboration. A platform that allows teachers to develop their own learning goals, implement what they learn, and allow for their contributions to be acknowledged will result in more productive staff who are willing to put forth their best work. Tools may include learning communities, personal learning plans, digital portfolios, and self-paced coursework, with rubrics for self-assessment.
2. Curriculum Support
The integration of a curriculum and learning management system allows for a “living and breathing curriculum.” Curriculum leaders should have enough control to provide scaffolding and constantly changing instructional support, while still providing teachers with the flexibility they need to succeed. Changes should not be hard to implement. Look for a solution that ensures all changes are automatically reflected throughout your school or district.
Facilitate Best Practice
Historically, instructional design has focused on teacher- and classroom-centered instruction. As we move to a learner-centered model of instruction, planning becomes less of a schedule of events and more of a roadmap for learning. Teachers, parents, students, and administrators should all have access to these plans so that they understand how learning will be generated, supported, and assessed. Ensure the teaching and learning platform you select provides all stakeholders with visibility into the learning process.
Tools should address both short-term goals and long-term outcomes, focusing on each learner’s types of thinking, skills developed, and what each student will be learning daily. Adopt a system that will encourage best practices by building it into your course design, making all curriculum resources easily accessible to teachers, students, and parents.
3. Digital Content
It is essential that users have an environment in which they can access, develop, curate, and share digital content with each other. The Learning Counsel’s survey found that 67% of teachers spend 2-6+ hours searching for resources per week. So, while a teaching and learning platform doesn’t always provide content, it should be able to ingest digital content from commercial providers, open educational resources, and district-created or teacher-created… saving teachers valuable time.
Interoperability is key. The last thing that teachers, students, and administrators need is to log in to separate systems to access resources. In 2013, when Houston Independent School District was shopping for a high-quality teaching and learning platform, they decided it had to be IMS Global conformance-certified. The IMS Global Learning Consortium facilitates a complete set of initiatives to effective digital teaching and learning.
Open Educational Resources
OER provide free and equitable access to content because these materials can be modified and freely distributed. In addition to the obvious cost savings, these open educational resources remain up-to-date and relevant in our changing world... something we can’t say about traditional textbooks. There are many ways to access OER (Learning Registry, OER Commons, Gooru, etc.) but it is important to consider the potential obstacles. The implementation of OER can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and confusing for teachers.
A teaching and learning has the potential to streamline and simplify the application and use of OER. Ideally, a learning platform will ingest content rather than linking to external search engines. A central repository of content allows these resources to seamlessly integrated into the learning environment. For example, itslearning and Gooru have formed a partnership allowing educators and students to curate publisher, district-developed or open education content with standards-aligned instructional support. This strategic alliance provides itslearning's users with over 2 million standards-aligned resources, 5,000 collections, 3,000 assessments, and over 35 courses.
Feel free to reach out to me for more information or an assessment guide.
In education, professional development has typically consisted of stand-alone workshops and seminars in which teachers are bombarded with ideas, techniques and resources to implement in their classrooms. Teachers generally walk away excited, ready to share their findings and put their new knowledge to practice, but often become distracted as they return to their normal (and busy) schedules, placing what they learned aside. Research reveals these traditional techniques for professional development often have minimal impact on teachers.
Effective professional development is flexible, based around teachers busy schedules and includes ongoing support and coaching. It is most effective when teachers are engaged in active learning experiences that are relevant to what they are currently teaching.
Professional Learning Communities provide this structure, giving teachers the time and space to work together on a common goal. Many school systems are adopting the PLC model so that schools can be places of learning, for both students and teachers. The key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators. In the PLC, small groups of teachers should actively engage in these learning-centered, results-oriented activities:
The benefits of the Professional Learning Community include increased teacher satisfaction, decreased teacher isolation and an overall improvement in teacher performance, but one of the biggest obstacles to the PLC is time. Busy teachers don’t always have time for face-to-face meetings where they can exchange in extensive collaboration. Technology alleviates this barrier of time, enhances the professional learning community and can increase its chances for success.
Incorporating the use of digital tools to create an online or blended professional learning community allows for increased flexibility and efficiency as well as easy access to resources and materials. The Internet and mobile technologies provide teachers with opportunities to reflect and collaborate with each other and with experts outside their schools. They have access to information and other resources with few limitations of time, space or pace. Collaboration is what distinguishes online PLCs from online professional development.
Online or blended PLCs have further advantages over the traditional PLCs that include:
The online and blended professional learning community seems to be an ideal option for schools looking to maximize resources and increase teacher and student performance. I’ve outlined three concepts in which to focus when creating a successful online or blended PLC.
1. Create a Community
It is extremely important that communication & reflection are supported. Members of the PLC must have an safe, web-based environment where they are able to share victories and failures, discuss and analyze student performance and assess what works and doesn't work. This can be done through discussion forums and social networks allowing the online community to be accessible anytime and anywhere.
Virtual meetings can be set up at specific times utilizing conferencing tools such as Skype, Google Hangout or Twitter. Discussion boards and blogs allow for more flexible communication in which teachers are not tied to a specific meeting time. Community discussion boards provide a space in which all members of the PLC can regularly contribute thoughts, ideas, and even questions around teaching practices. The discussion board should be a support group in which members are able to find instructional insights, solutions to obstacles, and gather strategies from like minded professionals.
The use of blogs within the PLC encourage reflection. When teachers blog about their instructional practices, they are able to reflect on successes and failures. Blogs provide a record of progress and document personal insights that might not otherwise be shared. Blogs might even become a place for teachers to publicly share original ideas and creative practices and then include these in a professional portfolio. With this in mind, it is important for PLC leaders to design activities that build community (allowing members to socialize) and promote-self reflection.
2. Foster Collaboration
An environment where teachers are able to submit and share curricular resources is necessary for a successful online PLC. An online repository should be developed so that users have the ability to upload files, add and edit content, and share materials with other members. It is especially important that this element allow for collaboration. Because the work of teachers is often isolated, opportunities for professional collaboration and co-creation should be nurtured.
Technology also has the ability to decrease the workload of teachers and allowing them to focus on improving practices and supporting students. The creation of digital lesson plans and curricular assets prevent teachers from recreating materials year after year. Collective creativity is supported when materials are developed collaboratively, drawing upon the expertise of multiple professionals. Teachers are able to collaborate, share and exchange information and views on best practices as they create digital assets. Collaboration tools such as Google Drive or Wikispaces might be a good place to start. These digital environments also allow for openness, transparency and accountability; but it is important that the culture of the PLC support collaboration and not competition.
3. Encourage Growth
“Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not preparation for life but is life itself.” John Dewey
Dewey defined education as growth, a process of positive change, and growth should be encouraged by all members of the PLC. Leaders should celebrate teacher growth and praise success. The use of e-portfolios can help teachers determine the impact of their instruction on student learning, reflect on their own learning and beliefs about teaching, and share professional milestones. Leaders are able to utilize these e-portfolios to evaluate growth and highlight outstanding performance and accomplishments.
Within an online PLC, leaders should provide professional development and learning opportunities while permitting autonomy. Teachers no are no longer limited to the resources provided in their school’s professional library. Mobile devices and the Internet make information readily available for everyone. Kleine-Kracht suggested that administrators, along with teachers, must be learners: questioning, investigating, and seeking solutions for school improvement. An online PLC can provide individualized, just in time professional development.
Members of the PLC are able to access webinars, podcasts, blogs, journal articles and online videos. Sites like Coursera and Udemy even offer free online courses that cover a multitude of topics. Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook can be used to acquire and share ideas. Through the use of these tools, members should develop their own Personal Learning Network (PLN). This global network will enhance each member’s own learning as well as his or her contributions to the professional learning community. Subscribing to professional learning sites, blogs, wikis and twitter feeds allow members to customize their own professional learning path while creating a unique professional identity.
Creating an online or blended PLC requires a commitment by all members and begins with planning. The University of North Carolina provides three steps to consider as you begin planning:
As you follow these steps, focus on the concepts of community, collaboration, and growth. All professional learning communities have different needs and technology can provide unique opportunities to meet these needs. Technology becomes a burden when users are required to keep track of many different usernames and passwords or when digital tools are overly complicated or too complex. It is important that online PLCs don't become overwhelming for teachers.
Itslearning is an outstanding, user-friendly platform with a variety of easy to use tools ideal for the online PLC. Users are able to share and collaborate on resources including documents, presentations, and video, which can be uploaded, embedded, or created directly in the platform. RSS feed, Twitter feed, and other Web 2.0 content can also be embedded into customizable user interfaces. Because itslearning is web-based, there is no need to search app stores or worry with downloads. Teachers are able to access content on any web-based device using a single username and password.
As you begin to develop your online or blended PLC, don’t miss out on the benefits of utilizing the itslearning platform:
References (Direct quotes are linked to the following references)
Recently I was asked if I had ever come across teachers who did not want to engage in professional development. My answer was a resounding "YES!" The truth is, when I was teaching full time, I was that teacher. I dreaded mandatory professional development. I usually considered PD to be a complete waste of time… time that could be used to grade papers, plan for lessons, or research methods to engage my students. In addition, professional development was typically delivered during faculty meetings and I absolutely hated faculty meetings! I loathed the fact that I had to listen to an administrator drone on about a new initiative or mandatory directive. I was even somewhat defiant when it came to PD that I found to be worthless.
The problem wasn’t the fact that the professional development was worthless. The PD may have been great… but I wasn’t interested. Let me pause to say that I was an amazingly hard-working teacher. I went above and beyond the call of duty, and I did my own personal “professional development.” I researched ways to better engage and instruct my students. I read blogs and followed scholastic’s top teachers. I owned dozens of professional books that I used to learn about reading and writing workshops, classroom management, math methods and more. I spent hours online searching for resources and studying how to better incorporate technology in the classroom. Why did I work on my own but disregard required professional development? The answer is multifaceted, and I believe it reflects similar problems we face in today’s classrooms…. drive.
If you haven’t read Drive by Daniel Pink, I highly recommend that you do. While it is geared toward business, I find it to be highly relevant to education. In his book, Pink argues that we are all innately driven to direct our own lives (autonomy), to improve and get better at things that matter (mastery), and to do something positive or serve something larger than ourselves (purpose). I think these three elements are vital when motivating teachers and has a lot to do with lack of engagement in professional development.
Why wasn’t I interested in the professional development that was required of me? Simple, I wasn’t given any choice… who, what, when, where, and why were all decided for me. There was no consideration of my learning style/preference nor opportunity for self-direction. I was expected to work in the same fashion, on the same topic and at the same pace as everyone else. I believe that by providing more autonomy, we might find teachers to be more driven. Pink points out that autonomy has a powerful effect on individual performance and attitude. Researchers have even found a link between autonomy and overall well-being.
Teachers might be more driven to participate in professional development if they are given more flexibility. Allow teachers to decide what, when, where, with whom, how and to complete tasks. What topics do they want to learn more about? Do they study online, in person, reading books, attending lectures, etc.? I know, this might seem like a crazy idea. Most educators I know tend to be control freaks. (I surely am.) Pink states, “it requires resisting the temptation to control people — and instead doing everything we can to reawaken their deep-seated sense of autonomy.”
It is important to note that encouraging autonomy doesn’t mean discouraging accountability. There will be times in which flexibility is not an option. Specific professional development will be mandatory, but the hope is that by providing teachers with more autonomy they will want to be accountable. Leaders might also allow teachers creative free time in which they are able to practice and apply their own interests to the required professional development topics.
Mastery is defined as the desire to get better and better at something that matters. This element seems incredibly critical when discussing professional development. After all, isn’t the purpose of professional development to develop mastery? Pink explains that mastery can only be achieved through engagement. He also points out “in our offices and classrooms we have way to much compliance and way too little engagement.” It’s true. When I was teaching didn’t see value in the required professional development. It didn’t matter to me… therefore I wasn’t engaged.
Pink explains that mastery begins when the challenges we face are matched with our abilities and we become lost in what we are doing. Personally, I only become lost in what I am doing when truly enjoying it, and I did not truly enjoy obligatory professional development. What if leaders step back and stop trying to spoon-feed teachers, opening up opportunities for teachers to develop their own ideas, opinions, and techniques? What if we not only ask what is that teachers need to master, but what do they want to master and what will it take to get there? To foster an environment where mastery is possible, clearly defined goals and immediate feedback are key factors that must be established.
According to Pink, there are three rules in which mastery abides by:
Most educators enter their profession to make a difference in the lives of their others. Teachers are like personal trainers. We coach and encourage students to be the best they can be, helping them through tough work while making them do the heavy lifting to achieve results. So a teacher’s purpose depends not only on his or her own success but the success of the student. Unfortunately it is easy for teachers to become consumed by activities and lose sight of the greater purpose. In addition to preparing students for a test, grading endless piles of papers, and fulfilling mandates that include meetings, paperwork, and after-school events, professional development becomes one more activity in a teacher’s already full schedule. It is important that leaders encourage teachers and provide ample positive feedback so that they continue to feel successful.
It is also important to cultivate an environment where teachers feel valued and a sense of belonging... I mean, who doesn’t want to be valued? Teachers must understand the purpose and see the value of required professional development. Teachers must have a set of objectives and take responsibility for their own learning. Leaders should ask teachers to play an active role in the professional development and to contribute in some way. This will give teachers a sense of worth, significance and satisfaction.
Teachers have the drive to learn, to create, and to better the world. This drive must not be stifled. To maximize teacher enjoyment and productivity, we need to transform our thinking to include autonomy, mastery and purpose. In my next blog entry (and upcoming webinar) I will address ways in which technology and professional learning communities can enhance teacher engagement in professional development based on Pink’s theories.
The Common Core State Standards have certainly raised some controversy – debates regarding the amount of work for teachers, poor student performance, federal regulations versus state’s rights, and the legitimacy of the Standards themselves. I’m sure there are other arguments; but as I mentioned in my last post, I believe our educational system is on the right track by adopting the Standards.
I didn’t come to this conclusion immediately. Initially I believed the Common Core Standards to be a great effort at uniting America’s educational system, but also understood the annoyance of those against big government policies. After listening to many of my teacher friends complain about the implementation of the Standards, I decided to dive in and study the Standards in depth to gain a better understanding of their content and development.
I began my journey by reading the mission statement and “About the Standards.” I looked at the key points in English language arts and math, and I examined all of the Anchor Standards. I then read the introduction to each of the Standards and printed out the math and ELA Standards to study while I traveled. This became my go to reading material when I wasn’t allowed to use electronic devices during take off or landing! As I studied, I also looked for the consideration of technology in the design and ways technology could be used in the implementation of the Standards. I used Diigo to bookmark and highlight all of points that I felt to be significant. (You can see my notes here.) Out of everything I read, I pulled out three critical points, which I’d like to address.
First, the Standards are “designed to be robust and relevant to the real world.” I am a strong believer that students must understand that education isn’t about sitting at a desk listening to a teacher lecture, but education is about making sense of our world. I have seen so many teachers fall into the rut of teaching to the test… whether that is following the structure of a textbook or making sure that every state standard is covered one by one. Teachers are so consumed with getting everything done that students become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content being introduced but never deeply examined or they are bored by the lecture, worksheet, test routine.
The Common Core Standards were designed to be more rigorous, allowing teachers to slow down and delve deeper into the material. This is crucial as studies reveal that focusing on in-depth learning of concepts supports richer understanding and results in improved performance overall. By cutting back on multiple topics, teachers should be able to focus on central concepts and create experiences that are more meaningful and relevant to the students’ lives. Dan Meyer does an amazing job exemplifying this.
Second, the Standards do not “dictate curriculum or teaching methods.” I love Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk titled, “Do schools kill creativity?” in which he explains why educational systems should nurture creativity. I believe that teachers are some of the most creative people on earth, but due to the pressures mentioned in my last point, many have completely lost eagerness to be creative. Because the Standards “focus on results rather than means,” teachers are now given the time and flexibility to be creative without being restricted in the process. The Standards also call for students to “engage with the subject matter and model understanding.” How can teachers not utilize their own creativity when they design lessons that engage students and encourage student creativity?
Finally, the Standards take an interdisciplinary approach. I am a firm believer that education should be fluid; curricula should be designed to promote interconnections between and among the content areas. The ELA Standards call for an increase in “literacy and vocabulary in social studies, science and technical subjects to build knowledge, gain insight, and broaden perspective.” Rather than using a textbook to teach individual subjects, teachers might use trade books, informational texts, and primary sources to impart content knowledge related to social studies or science while also teaching conventions, effective language usage, and vocabulary, all of which is essential for reading, writing, speaking and listening. The Math Standards call for students to “analyze situations, model understanding, construct arguments, and critique the reasoning of others.” Students must be able to communicate effectively to justify their understanding of mathematics and apply it to practical situations in everyday life. None of this can be done without a solid grasp of language skills.
While I do not believe that the Common Core State Standards are a silver bullet in education, I am convinced that as a nation we are on the right track. I outlined three points that I believe support the implementation of the Common Core and I have found many other great points within the Standards (especially ways to incorporate the use of technology) that I discuss in my professional development sessions. My desire is for the Common Core to be the beginning of a fundamental overhaul of what and how we teach. Our students deserve to be engaged in authentic, real world, rigorous learning experiences that focus on the meaningful application of core academic knowledge.
Now that the Standards are being implemented, teachers, schools, and districts are faced with the challenge of successfully building a rigorous curriculum (aligned to the CCSS) that is built around 21st century competencies - critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication while also incorporating the use of technology. Recently, a friend loaned me a book I believe to be extremely relevant to this challenge:
Teacher as Architect was written by educators to be a guide in “instructional design and delivery for the modern teacher.” It walks the reader through the steps to become an “architect of learning,” and it provides the tools and resources needed to build the aforementioned curriculum. Teacher as Architect addresses the questions, “What does it mean to be a modern teacher? How has education changed over time?” And, “What are the best practices in education for our 21st century learners?”
I found Teacher as Architect to be insightful and highly relevant to the challenges teachers are currently facing. The hands-on style of writing allowed me to interact with the content. The tools and resources better equipped me to construct engaging curricula appropriate for the 21st century learner. Accompanying the book is an online resource library based around the book’s four core principals that maximize teaching effectiveness. The library also contains professional development kits complete with PowerPoints, PDFs, activities, and guides for facilitators and participants. A Questioning Flip Book is a part of the tool kit and is another remarkable reference to help teachers plan and effectively use questions in lessons. For anyone in education... it is a must read!
Just after I wrote my last entry regarding STEM education and critical thinking, I stumbled upon an article in The Economist titled, “Best and brightest… Only a few countries are teaching children how to think.” The article summarized Amanda Ripley’s new book, The Smartest Kids in the World: And how they Got That Way. I was absolutely amazed with the first paragraph in the article describing an American company forced to open factories abroad due to the lack of skilled workers in the U.S.
"…the skills [needed] to fill even [the] most basic factory jobs require workers to think critically. Graduates of local schools are often unable to read or do simple maths."
Wow, this was so similar to what I had been writing about earlier that I picked up my iPad and ordered the book.
I began to read and couldn’t put the book down. The author follows three foreign exchange students to Poland, Finland, and North Korea as she investigates the successes and failures of these educational systems. Her description of Finland’s educational reform in the 1970’s parallels the reform efforts taking place in America’s educational system today, and her analysis of their educational history, policy, and culture reveal two key factors essential to educational reform: academic standards and teacher quality. Not only that, but the largest contributing factor for success was not the amount of money spent on technology in the classroom nor student engagement, but “rigor”—clear and high expectations shared by students, parents, teachers, administrators.
"To give our kids the kind of education they deserve we must first agree that rigor matters most of all; that school exists to help kids learn to think, to work hard, and yes, to fail. That is the core consensus that makes everything else possible."
Ripley does an outstanding job of illustrating the need for critical thinking and the implementation of rigor into our school system. I highly recommend this book especially to educators and parents, and I believe that the American educational system is on the right path as we adopt the common core standards. (To this, I will speak more in my next entry.)
Recently, I was reading an article titled "How Technology is Destroying Jobs" published in the July/August MIT Technology Review. While this article has no direct connection to K-12 education, I found it to be quite relevant.
The article summarizes ways in which technologies like the Web, artificial intelligence, big data, and improved analytics are automating routine tasks and eliminating traditional white-collar jobs. ln the article, David Autor, an economist at MIT points out that computers are taking over tasks like bookkeeping, clerical work, and repetitive production jobs in manufacturing, while jobs requiring creativity and problem solving-skills aided by computers have proliferated. These new technologies are widening the income gap between the tech-savvy and everyone else.
I began to contemplate the implications of this concept… the need for software engineers and computer programmers is growing exponentially, which means a greater need for science, technology, engineering, and math education. According to the 10-year employment projections by the U.S. Department of Labor, of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science preparation.
However, if we adequately educate our students in math and science but do not teach them creativity or problem solving skills, how can we expect these students to apply their knowledge once in the workforce? The fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010 reflect the demand for highly technical skills and those lower-skill jobs that are hard to automate. As educators, we must instill a spirit of exploration and innovation in our students.
STEM education should be more than just teaching science, technology, engineering, and math, we must teach our students to think critically and creatively in all academic areas. This article clearly illustrates how economic growth in the 21st century will be driven by our nation's ability to both generate ideas and translate them into innovative products and services. Here are some resources that emphasize STEM education, as well as creativity and innovation.
The Design Squad Nation website is an online community that grew out of the Design Squad television series that aired on PBS KIDS. The site for educators, parents and engineers provides lesson plans, activities, animations, video profiles, and episodes that target kids ages 8 and older. The goal of Design Squad is to give kids a stronger understanding of the design process, and the connection between engineering and the things we all use in everyday life.
3M and Discovery Education partnered to bring the Science of Everyday life into your classroom. Lesson plans, activities, interactives, videos and more are designed to capture students' curiosity and engage your classroom in the scientific thinking process; while having fun! Aligned to national standards, these exciting inquiry-based lessons address key areas of life science, physical science, earth science, technology and innovation using common materials you can find in your classroom.
eGFI stands for “Engineering, Go For It!” and it is sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education. An interactive website, magazine, teacher and student newsletter and resources all promote and enhance K-12 STEM education.
Teachers TryScience provides teachers with free and engaging lessons, teaching strategies and resources which are designed to spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math. What’s more, the site features collaboration tools to enable teachers to discuss and share effective instructional practices.