1. Nurture problem-designers and solvers
Problem-based learning helps students develop team-building skills and experience trial and error. Problems must be authentic engineering challenges connected to current issues that matter to students. They must be do-able and adopt an engineering design process. This encourages students to engage with STEM skills to find solutions. Letting students build a robot to solve a problem is one example.
2. Create global collaborators
Encourage students to parallel problem-solve with global partner schools. Use tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, Appear.in, and Twitter to bridge the global divide. Partner with faraway classrooms or even engage with experts so students can explore STEM learning with a global mindset. Language barriers can be overcome with apps like Google/Microsoft Translate.
3. Inspire virtual architects
Use solutions like Minecraft: Education Edition as a virtual engineering space. That’s what NASA does. Empower students to re-design physical spaces online. Learners can start of as an urban planner. They can then graduate to virtual engineers. Each exercise assists them in learning computational thinking.
4. Construct coders
Speaking of computational thinking, students of all ages are now learning to code. Start with solutions like MakeCode.com, a free block coding language. Learners can use it to control the world around them. MakeCode makes programmable mini-machines possible. Free curriculum resources are available to get you started.
5. Cultivate a maker’s attitude
Finally, we need to cultivate a maker’s attitude in learners. Makers blend high-tech with handmade crafts. They explore many paths toward problem-solving. Makers embrace growing out of failure. By engaging with content in this way, they explore STEM concepts with a greater depth of understanding.
Miguel Guhlin, TCEA, [email protected]