Sunday, February 1, 2015

STEM/STEAM What it Means for the Everyday

On Friday I attended the 5th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Colloquium. The focus of the day was on building students' ability to create, innovate, and think critically.  The information presented parallels a book that I am currently reading, One Nation Under Taught, by Dr. Vince M. Bertram, president and CEO of Project Lead the Way. Whether you talk about STEAM or STEM, NGSS, or CCSS we need to rethink our approaches in education. In order to prepare our students for the workplace and to be competitive globally we cannot continue to present content in isolation.
Here is an expert from the author's note in One Nation Under Taught:
     "This is a call to nurture our children's natural curiosity, inspire them, and insist they use their minds to solve problems.  This books asks us to rethink the way we think about school.  It asks that we abandon the mindset that second grade is a preparation for third grade or of teaching content merely to prepare for a test. Instead, I am asking for a new mindset about school, a mindset that our schools can be places of confidence, places that inspire a love of learning, promote curiosity, and convince students that skills and knowledge matter--not because they are on a test or necessary for the next year, but because they matter for a lifetime."

I attended three breakout sessions on Friday. Here is a recap of each. Check out each of the links!!
  1. Beak of the Finch: Connecting STEAM and NGSS through an Evolution Activity from HHMI. Presenters Jim Clark and Samantha Johnson from Arroyo High School showed participants how to engage students with the science and engineering practice of arguing from evidence while having them create and work collaboratively as teams.

  2.  Animation Integration: Bringing Learning to Life.  Presenter Natalie Mann from the Walt Disney Family Museum showed participants how to build an animation studio using basic materials and animate a short film, honing 21st Century skills such as media literacy, creativity, and collaboration. 

  • The Walt Disney Family Museum:
  • The Walt Disney Family Museum offers teacher resources.  The museum offers a variety of resources for educators.  These resources are aligned with CCSS and are designed to spark curiosity and inspire learning, both in the classroom and at the museum.

3. Stories from the Field: Designing Mobile Games to Situate Learning. Presenter David Gagnon showed participants how to find inspiration in popular video games and mobile apps, grounding successful elements of design in contemporary learning science.  Participants examined a number of projects that have been produced by the Field Day Lab at the University of Wisconsin.  

Questions to ask before creating simulation: This can be done in any content area with any topic of study. Creating authentic interaction in real time. 
  1. What identity could the learner inhabit?
  2. What actions could they take? What would they DO?
  3. What resources would they need to manage?
  4. What systems would they interact with?
  5. What forces would challenge them?
     a. Does one of your topics have “real life” examples that a learner could document in their own 
         neighborhood, family, back yard?
     b. What categories could you give them to “Perceptually Attune” their thinking?
     c. What could be done with the observations they make?

As I reflected on my own experiences with video games it made me think of the following: The context of video games as an internal competition. The addictive nature of returning back again and again to the same game to conquer where you were when you left and pursuing to get further and further. How can we incorporate that into learning in the classroom?

  • What happens when teachers, education theorists, software engineers and game designers collaborate to produce innovative educational experiences?  The Field Day Lab’s goal is to co-create dozens of mobile games, apps and hackathon events that explore the intersection of digital media design practices and contemporary education research. We are applying agile software development approaches to education by producing prototypes, testing them in the field with real kids, iterating, and developing generalized theories of design based on in situ research. By releasing our apps and curriculum freely and openly to fellow explorers worldwide, we are incubating communities of users that provide ongoing grant writing, research, documentation and support.
  • Open Source: Authoring platform to make interactive learning games, documentary games etc.
  • AtomTouch: AtomTouch is a molecular simulation app, created through a partnership between UW MRSEC and MLI, that allows learners to explore principles of thermodynamics and molecular dynamics in an tactile, exploratory way.
  •  GameMaker allows you to create cross platform games in record time at at the fraction of the cost of conventional tools. 
  • Coming Soon: Siftr  A free and open social photography tool (They are in beta testing right now.)
  • Coming Soon: Nomen Project : Now anyone can make a field guide for free.

Our ONE goal: To graduate every Fairfield High Student and to ensure that they leave FHS college and career ready!!! Inspire, Engage, Excite, Lead, Foster, Create, Empower!!

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 


1 comment:

  1. I agree with what you are trying to do.I really think this would impact more of us if we promote these kinds of things more.