Inspiring and engaging students in STEM
Fostering engagement in STEM depends on two things: inspired teaching and inspiring resources. Not only to convey complex principles but to instil a lasting passion for STEM in students.
The Massachusetts “State STEM Plan” has recognized the need to use innovative, instruction teaching and learning strategies to foster student interest in STEM. But what does this mean?
It means that we cannot simply rely on traditional teaching and learning strategies to close the STEM skills gap, but rather we need to take advantage of new and innovative learning solutions to excite student interest and engagement.
Today’s students demand rich and immersive learning experiences that parallel their fast paced digital lives – and fortunately in line with this, educational technologies are evolving at an exponential rate. Teachers and students now have access to a range of innovative online learning resources, including interactive software, digital imaging, audio and visual creation tools and video games which are working to ignite student interest and achievement across STEM fields. The invaluable thing about these resources is that they not only support the Common Core standards, but more importantly, they have students excited about learning.
The power of online learning resources:
1. Fostering deeper understanding
Immersive online environments allow students to truly engage with academic endeavours, often demonstrating how complex STEM principles relate to the real-world through practical online experiments and examples.
2. Engaging students
Interactive environments and the ‘gamification’ of learning encourages a kind of creativity that not only captivates student interest but consolidates STEM learning principles.
3. Encouraging independent learning
Online learning environments encourage self-directed learning allowing students to become independent thinkers and problem-solvers – a stated goal of the Common Core, and a key skill behind STEM endeavours.
4. Easing the ‘fear’
With many STEM subjects perceived as ‘too difficult’, online environment help to remove the fear out of difficult subjects through providing students with an engaging environment that provides real-time support and feedback.