Posts Tagged ‘Technology’
As professionals in the field of education, we all know the term STEM. This is a movement that exposes students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It promotes the teaching of these disciplines’ theories and content with a hands-on learning approach. The goal is not only to provide students with a deep, multidisciplinary understanding but to foster understanding of STEM concepts in the real world.
If a letter were added to the STEM acronym, what would the best choice be? In this video, Harvard University education professor Howard Gardner has a definitive answer: “I have no hesitation in saying we need to add the letter A….An education devoid of arts…is an empty, half-brain kind of education.”
To the point.
In that same video, Yale Child Study Center lecturer Erika Christakis isolates perhaps the core reason that adding the Arts to STEM education is so important: “The arts hav[e] something really essential to say about the human condition, just as science does.”
Let’s First Look at STEM.
We are humans living in a rapidly developing society. In no point in recorded human history has there been as many innovative technologies bringing people together. The disciplines represented in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—are integral to the technologies we use every day—and the tools we will use tomorrow. As stated in the State Idaho Department of Education’s What Is STEM Education?, “Math is the language; Science and Engineering are the processes for thinking; all this leads to Innovation.”
Young people—students—have known no other world. It is in all of our best interest to teach, encourage, and support them in a STEM environment.
So Why STEAM?: Arts and the Human Condition
Knowing and understanding the significance of STEM in our schools may not, at first glance, lead us to recognize the significance of adding an A to this multidisciplinary approach to education.
So we must ask: Exactly what do the arts add to our lives?
Consider what the arts encompass. Music, painting, sculpting, theater, literature, architecture, fashion, and so much more. Just as new technologies bring us together and help create our shared experiences, the arts span time to connect us with each other and ourselves. Consider briefly Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. How many people have viewed this painting across the centuries and have been moved by its beauty and brilliance? Across time and cultures, Mona Lisa created a shared, communal experience that impacted 16th-century viewers in much the same way is it does today. An encounter that becomes both a personal and shared experience.
In fact, at the foundation of all artistic endeavors are creativity, personal experience, and shared experience. It is the same with newfound technologies. Why is this important? Consider what Mae Jemison—an astronaut, doctor, art collector, and dancer—had to say on the topic in this transcript of her 2009 TED Talk on teaching arts and science:
“The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin, even, or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather they’re manifestations of the same thing….The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity. It’s our attempt as humans to build an understanding of the universe, the world around us….[S]cience provides an understanding of a universal experience, and arts provides a universal understanding of a personal experience.”
STEAM in Action
Creativity, personal experience, and shared experience are evident in stories and videos of STEAM in action. When creative writing is incorporated as the A in this Science of Superheroes Lesson, students are able to make connections between the science of flight—which was the STEM component of the lesson—and creating a superhero character and story, which was the A component of the lesson. The video highlights the many layers of involvement and collaboration STEAM can engender.
Math concepts, such as number lines, counting, and fractions, are merged seamlessly with interactive theater play in Staging STEM, a video that also conveys the joy students attain when engaging in STEAM activities. The personal and shared experiences, generated by both personal and communal creativity, become essential to and integrated with the learning experience.
Education should be exciting, engaging, uplifting, and inspiring…and it should provide an outlet for creativity and both personal and shared experiences. The multidisciplinary STEAM educational model certainly is an approach worth exploring.
Explore more about STEM and STEAM in this infographic from the University of Florida:
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics
Libraries across the country are celebrating Halloween with spooky stories, devilish decorations, and clever costumes. Some are even adding an educational twist to the festivities through the use of enriching Halloween STEAM activities.
What is STEAM?
STEAM is an acronym that stands for the integration of an A for the arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning. STEAM activities help equip kids with essential 21st-century skills that will help prepare them for the job market. The creative arts component — the “A” — in STEAM activities can engage students and spark interest in science and technology. STEAM is especially useful for helping students develop skills that are necessary to prepare for creative industries, including digital games, software, design, and marketing. However, research reveals the importance for all employees, not just those in creative industries, to demonstrate creativity in the workforce.
Libraries to Inspire You
Are you working on a STEAM Halloween project and need a little inspiration? The libraries below caught our attention for adding STEAM to their Halloween.
Today (October 26), middle school and high school kids will be creating 3D pumpkins from 3:00 to 5:00 at the main library. Sarah Butt, the library associate we contacted at the Champaign Public Library in Champaign, Illinois, explained that she created a pumpkin template in a program called Sculptris. The kids are then able to use the tools and create faces for their pumpkins. Once they are finished, the files can be printed on the 3D printer and ready for the kids from the middle school next door to pick up.Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL):
SMPL (Yes, the very same library we blogged about that has a summer beach library!) is also holding STEAM events at their Ocean Park and Fairview branches.
Also today, in connection with Star Wars Reads, SMPL’s Ocean Park branch is holding a Star Wars STEAM program from 3:30 to 4:30 for kids and teens. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes at the event.
Youth librarian Julia Casas, who is coordinating the event, has planned several activity stations that will give kids the chance to explore science concepts at their own pace. Among the activities are an “Ewok Launcher” (marshmallow launcher), which helps kids to learn about force, motion and gravity, and a “Rescue a Jedi from Carbonite” (lego minifigs trapped inside a baking soda mixture), which explores chemical reactions.
Children’s librarian Jennifer Boyce let us know that on October 31, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., the Fairview Branch will be featuring a program, “STEAM Craft: Glow-in-the-Dark Slime,” for children ages four and up. According to Ms. Boyce, the program will explore science concepts (in this case, chemistry) in a “fun, unstructured way.” Fairview’s Halloween STEAM event is part of their monthly STEAM programs, which in the past have included events such as a DIY Girls Club that focused on creative electronics and a “Build with Minecraft” program.
Children’s librarian Michelle Zimmermann of North Mankato Taylor Library in North Mankato, Minnesota, hosted a spooky science lab for their Halloween STEAM event, which was held on October 20th. The event, for ages eight to 12, was part of a monthly program, STEAM Rollers.
The mad scientists — some of whom had an evil laugh down perfectly — learned how sound is made with vibrations by making eerie sound devices with plastic cups, yarn, paper clips and water. They also made slime to learn about chemical and physical properties and examined how using different ratios changed the composition of the material they were making. The third activity involved making pumpkin lava lamps and dealt with the concepts of polar and non polar molecules. Kids also learned about how oil and water don’t mix. According to Ms. Zimmermann, the lava lamps seemed to make the biggest impression on the young scientists.
More Halloween STEAM Activities
Still looking for inspiration? Below are five spooktacular links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your Halloween event:
- Pumpkin Geoboard
- Pumpkin Optical Illusion
- Batwing Challenge
- Witch-Inspired Salt Crystal Science
- Spider Web Science
Special Guest Post
And be sure to check back tomorrow for another wicked STEAM/STEM post with featured blogger Dawn Treude. The Library Assistant in Youth Services will explore the Halloween activities at the Scottsdale Public Library. She will be discussing how to create science-based projects by using everyday items with a spooky theme.
If you’ve implemented a Halloween STEAM activity in your classroom or library, let us know what you’re doing in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.
Educational interpretations and implementations of STEM–an acronym for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–are as varied as the fields of study themselves. Only one thing is clear: the general consensus of educators and educational professionals is that STEM education can provide enormous benefits for students.
How could it not? In 2009, the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) report showed that U.S. high-school students were ranked 18th in math scores and 13th in science scores. Thirty-four nations participated, so these results were troubling. So troubling, in fact, that–in seeming response to the PISA rankings–the White House issued numerous reports on the significance of STEM education and allocated funding toward STEM initiatives and programs. In 2010, President Obama set a goal of increasing teachers’ and students’ proficiency in STEM fields of study.
So the question became…how? There are, of course, no easy answers. Possible solutions continue to be pondered, discussed, argued, and carried out in classrooms. Some things have worked, others haven’t. Thus is the evolution of education.
We at ProQuest applaud the efforts toward comprehensive STEM education and celebrate the national attention it has engendered. One goal of STEM education is to instill a sense of curiosity and exploration in students. This goal is one shared by ProQuest and its K-12 products.
Join us this summer in celebration of STEM education and its practice and growth in the United States. STEM disciplines are prominently featured on SIRS Discoverer–our product for young researchers–in its Science topic tree and in Science Fair Explorer. SIRS Issues Researcher offers a number of STEM-related topics in its Leading Issues database, such as Alternative Energy Sources, Biomedical Technology, Genetic Engineering, Nuclear Energy, Ozone Depletion, Space Exploration and Travel, and Technology. Click on any of these topics for up-to-date articles and information. And in the SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month for June, Summer Science Projects, we encourage students to see the science, technology, engineering, and math that surrounds them through hands-on activities. Everyone can be a scientist! STEM is all around us…the night sky, a frog’s call, a blooming flower, a car’s engine, an Internet transmission, a deep breath…STEM at work.
If we can impress upon one student the joy of seeing science, technology, engineering, and math all around, we have done our jobs.
We all know by now that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is important for students, who need to build 21st-century skills to compete in today’s workforce. But STEM feels a bit like a prescription to eat more vegetables instead of birthday cake. Yes, STEM is nutritious, but the arts and humanities are so much more alluring, succulent, and enriching. At least that’s what I thought until a group of middle and high school students—and their robots—proved me wrong.
Botfest and Botball
At the 2016 New England Botfest Exhibition and Botball Tournament at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, students showed off their robotic creations. Lego pieces transformed into a walking pig, a butler, and a police station. LED lights adorned clothes and accessories. Several robots zoomed around to greet curious guests. And autonomous robots competed at Botball.
This annual event is the culmination of a STEM outreach partnership between the UMASS-Lowell Computer Science department and K-12 schools throughout Massachusetts and New England. According to the UMASS website, “Botball and Botfest provide fun, challenging, team-based, hands-on learning experiences for middle and high school students in computer science, robotics and technology. These efforts instill curiosity, knowledge and confidence to prepare students for college, career choices and the high tech workplace.” With the help of donations, this program provides teacher training and robotic classroom supplies.
While students explained how they built their creations (common materials: Lego pieces, motion sensors, motors, and computer software), I learned that my preconceptions about STEM were wildly inaccurate. STEM education encompasses so much more than science, technology, engineering, and math; it also includes teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and—most shockingly—art.
Students from Brookside Elementary in Dracut, Massachusetts, worked together to design a walking pig, which they built with Lego pieces. They solved challenges such as programing their pig and using the appropriate motor to control its speed. Their labor resulted in a work of art. In fact, all of the creations I saw were indeed works of art.
STEM education, I realized, is not just about a bunch of abstract concepts. It is about creating things that have value in the real world, whether artistically, functionally, or both. Robots like NASA’s Valkyries, one of which recently arrived at UMASS-Lowell, are the future after all. Most importantly, though, when I asked the students if they had fun, each answered with an enthusiastic “yes!” So I guess STEM isn’t so bad.
How has your school integrated STEM into the curriculum?
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.
2016 is the fifth year since the inception of Digital Learning Day. This is a day to enhance the way students learn through technology. It’s a day to celebrate computers, apps, digital tools, devices, and the ways they’ve transformed education. The more comfortable students are with technology, the better prepared they will be for the future. This is also a day to have fun and learn something new. There are multiple ways you can join the digital learning day conversation. Bring ed-tech to your classroom or library and share the digital fun with everyone. Here are some ways you can get involved:
Get on social media:
Twitter is an online social network perfect for spreading the Digital Learning Day message and sharing the ways you and your students are getting involved. @OfficialDLDay is the official Digital Learning Day Twitter account page and using the hashtag #DLDay will keep you connected with the latest postings.
Visit the #EdTech Perspectives blog:
The #EdTech Perspectives blog is located on the Digital Learning Day website. It is a curated blog and lists its contributors with their latest posts. Check out some of the archived posts and learn how Digital Learning Day is impacting educators, students and schools.
Share online resources:
The online resources page at the Digital Learning Day website provides a sampling of free digital tools that can benefit all types of learners. While there are many more ed-tech resources available online, this compilation is a good place to start.
Try a new education app with your students:
With an endless array of education apps to choose from, educators may become overwhelmed by which ones are the best ones for them. Helpful lists like the one at Shake Up Learning categorize some of the Google Chrome compatible options. The Digital Learning Day website contains a small list of apps that both students and educators may find useful. DailyGenius contains a list of the “best education apps for connected classrooms.”
How will you join the Digital Learning Day conversation? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.
Libraries are endless sources of information and discovery. With the help of computers, libraries have transitioned beyond the days of just books. Librarians have evolved too, retaining knowledge about popular culture, current events, technology and more–ready to help guide patrons in their research sessions. Librarians are here to help. Whether it’s reading, navigating, writing, studying or researching, librarians have an arsenal of tools ready to share. Libraries offer so much more than they used to. This is five ways in which libraries have “leveled up” and kept up with the changing times.
Dewey to Digital
Remember Melvil Dewey? The man who created the Dewey Decimal System? This helpful book organization and classification system is still used today worldwide. The difference, however, is that you can also search for books and countless other library materials in an online catalog. Having a digital option helps locate items faster and even allows you to reserve items ahead of time. Because of the Internet, locating library items has never been easier.
Just Books to Beyond Books
Libraries, once praised for granting free access to books and other information consumption materials and media, are now praised for this and their wide array of unusual items, as highlighted in our post, “50 Things You Can Borrow from Libraries Besides Books.” Therapy dogs, games, ice cream machines and more are just some of the examples. Each library offers uniquely different options, and some pride themselves on just how unique their offerings are!
Strictly Studying to Center of Action
Librarians used to be the leaders in “Shushing.” Though libraries still try to keep a quiet atmosphere and patrons using their inside voices, the culture has changed. Libraries have become places for Makerspace tinkering, places to hold poetry readings, venues for events and much more. Library culture has evolved from strictly studying to being the center of the action and cool hangouts.
Free Advice to Free Services
Librarians harvest knowledge. They curate all the best tips and tidbits so that when someone asks, “Do you have any books on human beings?” a librarian can answer that. Librarians of today are so much more than providers of free advice. They can direct you to free services offered at the library too. Free literacy programs, classes, author readings, social events and much more are some services your library may offer.
Reference Access to Online Database Access
With the advent of technology, research has definitely leveled up. You can still find all your beloved reference books at the library, but it’s even better now. A visit to the library can mean access to a slew of other digital research tools. Next time you visit your library, check to see if our products are offered. ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher is just one tool that helps young researchers form debates, analyze social issues, write research papers and learn about the world all in one place. Open your mind with online databases and see where your research takes you!
How have you noticed libraries leveling up? Share in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.
Gen Z. GenWii. Gen2020. Gen Tech. iGen. NetGen. These are a few of the names applied to the post-Millennial generation. No one really knows what to call them yet, but Generation Z (Gen Z) seems to be the general consensus—at least for now. Although there is disagreement on the exact dates, Gen Z began after 2000 according to NPR, which means that the majority of today’s K-12 students are likely to be a member of Gen Z.
Even though generational labels are oftentimes too simplistic, there are some common traits beginning to emerge among members of Gen Z. So what are some of those traits and how does it affect learning? As you might expect, technology has had a huge effect on how Gen Z learns. Here are five traits of Gen Z students.
5 Traits of Gen Z Students
1. They are (true) digital natives.
Millennials are often called digital natives, but many, especially those born at the early end (hello, 1980), grew up with no Internet access or cellphones. Gen Z has never known a time without the Internet or cellphones. Technology is seamlessly integrated into their lives. The challenge for educators is to use technology in ways that are relevant and aid learning.
2. They are multitaskers (sort of).
A recent CNN survey found that some 13-year-olds are checking their social media accounts up to one hundred times daily. Gen Z is used to doing multiple things at once, but let’s face it: multitasking is a myth. Ubiquitous smartphone use among today’s students means that countless distractions lay in the palm of their hands, and it adversely affects learning. Today’s students have difficulty staying focused, which is why some have dubbed Gen Z as Generation ADHD. As a result, they learn best in a fast-paced environment where information is presented in smaller bits.
3. They are Googlers.
Gen Z is used to having information resources available at their fingertips. They are quick to Google rather than use reliable library resources to find answers. They expect to find answers instantaneously and tend to have difficulty assessing whether or not sources are credible. Despite—or perhaps because of—a wealth of information, Gen Z students need help honing their critical thinking and information literacy skills.
4. They are creators.
Whereas Millennials are known to passively consume multimedia, members of Gen Z are known to create it. Instead of looking at a picture, they’d rather be taking one. Instead of watching a video, they’d rather be filming one. This trend is also demonstrated by the rise of makerspaces, which are popping up in libraries and schools across the U.S. Gen Z students prefer active, hands-on learning over lectures.
5. They are collaborators.
Gen Z’s preference for hands-on learning makes them great candidates for group projects. Thanks to the Internet, they are used to being connected to the world. Collaborative online projects with their classmates or with students around the world can encourage engaged learning and help them hone their digital communication skills.
What are some of your takeaways on Gen Z students? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.
Before any of us used the World Wide Web, we worried about privacy, experienced bullying, had crime, and fought wars. These issues have now infiltrated cyberspace, which has left society scrambling to adapt. Cyber issues will continue to drive some of society’s fiercest debates. Today’s Internet-connected students should have much to say on these issues.
Here are four trending Leading Issues related to cyberspace:
Privacy is a major concern with Internet users. According to a 2014 Pew poll, 91% of Americans believe they have lost control of their online privacy. It is not hard to see why. It seems like everyone wants to collect our personal data—marketers, hackers, identity thieves, government agencies, etc.—albeit for varying reasons. When do privacy intrusions go from useful to downright creepy? And what role should government take to protect privacy rights?
Bullying preceded the Web, but the Web has changed the face of bullying. A 2014 Pew poll found that 40% of Internet users have experienced online harassment. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently opined that Twitter needs to do more to stop cyberbullies, prompting some critics to cry censorship. How can we prevent cyberbullying? And what kind of laws, if any, should be passed to prosecute cyberbullies?
Cyber-breaches have become commonplace. Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Sony, and—more recently—Anthem are just a few high-profile examples of major hacks. Motivation behind hacking varies, but sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers and credit card information, is usually the intended target. U.S. President Barack Obama has issued an executive order mandating better communication between government and the private sector. Who should be responsible for safeguarding our information? And should the federal government regulate how companies handle personal data?
Fears of cyberwar are mounting. Nations, including the United States and North Korea, are building up their cyber-defenses. Government-sponsored cyber-hacks have the potential to spy on and sabotage government networks. They could also disrupt critical infrastructure. How should we deal with cyberwar threats? Do we need an international cyberwar treaty? Would a treaty be enforceable?
What do you and your students think about these issues? Comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.
SIRS Issues Researcher editors continually monitor and update over 350 Leading Issues. See our site for more information.
Each year, technology advances ignite excitement and change throughout the education world. For 2014, education trends specifically in the K12 area were a healthy mix of digital tools, classroom ingenuity and a handful of both controversial and creative movements. Here’s our Best of 2014: K12 Education Trends.
The need for empowering policies that teach students how to use technology responsibly proved to be a welcomed addition in schools. The Edutopia article: Digital Citizenship: Developing a Culture of Trust and Transparency by Andrew Marcinek helps explain the benefits of applying digital citizenship with students.
With standing desks and healthy work-life balance making an impact with adults, it’s no wonder educators are trying to incorporate more exercise time with students into the day. One example involved the Read and Ride program. Read about how the program worked for this school.
After lawmakers realized there is still a need for arts integration in core academic education, the arts once again gained steam and proponents advocated STEM to STEAM.
Flipping traditional classrooms, allowing students to bring mobile devices to school, focusing on projects, and experimenting with virtual classroom models injected some more innovative teaching methods into schools.
Tools like Google Classroom have transformed everything. Now assignments can be worked on digitally saving both paper and maximizing homework organization.
Social media in schools isn’t limited to the definition of Facebook and Twitter. Tools specifically for the classroom like Edmodo continue to flourish.
Research has noted that educational games can facilitate deep learning. Even “digital badges” earned through skills and achievements recognized for acquiring them have become games in themselves, encouraging students to continue learning and growing.
The Maker movement gave educators and students ideas for inventing, creating and exploring all types of things both science-related and beyond.
The Common Core movement has been stirring controversy from implementation. Regardless, it’s gaining traction and remains a topic of debate in schools.
Mobile devices have become more prominent in classrooms, and along with them are apps designed to enhance the learning experience. Everything from reading to math can be explored through a fun well-designed app.
What trends did you notice this year? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest!
Have Facebook, Twitter, and other social media made the “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay obsolete? Today’s students are so digitally connected that they seem barely able to function without their mobile devices. Not only is technology changing the way students communicate and interact socially, but it is also changing the way they learn.
The SIRS Issues Researcher database is continuously updated with the latest articles documenting trends on the use of technology in the classroom. In addition, these Leading Issues challenge students to explore the controversies and challenges that these new technologies present: Cell Phones in School, Children’s Online Protection Laws, Cyberbullying, Cybersocializing, Filtering Software, and Web 2.0.