Reading Now – 5 Ways to Use Drones in The Classroom: Cherishing Students’ Passion for Technology
Contrary to the belief that technology can be distracting for students, using drones in the classroom can be used as a tool for enriching students’ imagination and awaking their natural curiosity.
5 Ways to Use Drones in The Classroom: Cherishing Student’s Passion for Technology
Mobile devices have enabled the breakthrough of disruptive technology in modern classroom. New gadgets keep enriching the possibilities of engaging students in classes.
In addition, smartphones and tablets, as well as a number of new devices have entered the classroom. They range from smart boards to VR headsets and these tech inventions have helped reinvent traditional teaching methods.
Amongst the latest tech trends, the use of drones has become a widespread among photographers, journalists, farmers, police officers and many others.
For teachers, using drones in the classroom opens up a new set of opportunities to make classes more relevant and engaging for students.
However, drones can be used to help enhance orientation skills, motor skills, and even give students a better understanding of how the world around us works. The advantage is that they do not necessarily cost a lot, while their potential is significant.
Simple quadcopters can cost as low as 30 dollars, and up to 100 dollars, which is a small price for numerous benefits the whole class can experience.
Drones will awake the students’ natural curiosity and take it to the next level.
How can drones be integrated into your curriculum?
1. Use Drones for Speaking and Writing Exercises
The ability of drones to reach areas where the human eye can’t cannot be overemphasized. As a teacher, you can complement writing and speaking exercises with methods that include drones.
2. Use Drones to Teach Math
Math can be quite challenging to teach, especially to the students that have not developed interest for it. The lack of application in practice is what makes math so abstract to students, and thus engagement can be reduced to a minimum.
“Teachers must help students to become active and goal-oriented by building on their natural desire to explore, to understand new things and to master them.”
Students will retain information better if they can apply them in the real world. Thus, using drones to teach proportional relationships.
We can see a great example of how drones can be used to teach math in this video from Thai-Chinese International School. The students were observing drone’s movements and were given the task to illustrate its path with a distance and time graph.
3. Use Drones to Develop Children Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination
Developing motor skills and hand-eye coordination is a crucial part of the child’s development. It influences many other skills such as reading, writing, balance, sense of direction and other fine motor skills.
It is important to practice those skills and drones are a fun way to do so. Flying drones requires excellent hand-eye coordination, as children need to use visual cues and be aware of the special relations so that they could use their hands to control its path and destination.
There are many excellent drones for kids, that are both fun and safe, that can spark their interest at this stage of development while they practice coordination skills at the same time
4. Use Drones in PE (Physical Education) Class
Drone Competition can be organized during a Physical Education class. Drones can also record children playing a certain sport and the teacher can analyze what can be done to improve their moves later.
Another creative use of drones for physical activity is to play hide-and-seek. Instruct the children to go and hide while you try to find them with the help of the drone. It will be equally amusing and beneficial for their health.
5. Use Drones to Teach Science
There are many creative ways you can use drones to teach science and demonstrate some abstract notions to students to help them have a better understanding.
You can use drones to help them understand cell structure by making a largescale model and then zoom in and out to show individual parts and the larger structure.
Laws of physics can also be taught with the help of drones – you can get students to calculate how long it will take the drone to cross a certain distance, or how the wind influences drone’s path. Options are numerous, and can bring a lot of fun into science classes.
In conclusion, technology is creeping into every aspect of human life, and education is not an exception. Yet, incorporating technology in education can bring a new perspective into education and motivate children to put their curiosity into good use.
Reading Now – Top Trends in Educational Technology For 2019
One of the newest educational technologies, STEAM is an integrated approach to learning. This educational model makes use of science, education, arts, and mathematics to instill critical thinking among the students.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
As we move towards a more connected world, industry analysts predict that the use of AI as one of a major trend’s in educational technology is set to grow by more than 45% through 2021.
The role of AI in the education sector is no longer limited to aspects like speech recognition, problem-solving, and planning. Rather AI facilitates automation of administrative tasks like students’ grading, the addition of smart content in the curriculum, and personalization of the teaching process.
The USA is one of the world’s largest markets for educational technology. The artificial intelligence market in the US education sector is projected to reach a value of almost USD 85 million by 2022.
3. Virtual Reality (VR) in Education
The high adoption of VR in education is partly due to the rise in demand for experiential learning. By taking the learning process beyond the classrooms, VR has facilitated the growing trend towards independent learning route. For instance, the medical realities platform employs the VR technology to help the medical students watch live broadcasts of simulated surgeries, giving them real-world experiences – something they wouldn’t normally get until late in their training.
According to the global market for VR in the education sector, the increase in the number of social VR spaces has opened up growth opportunities for stakeholders in this industry.
The Adoption of gamification is perhaps one of the biggest trends in educational technology that turns the learning process lot more fun and engaging. By adding game elements and bringing video game designs into the learning process, this EdTech trend improves the concentration level of the students.
While until recently, the K-12 education sector has been a major user of gamification; the higher education segment is also gearing up to adopt this technology to enhance the learning experience of the students.
5. Learning Analytics
Another emerging trend in the educational technology industry is the use of learning analytics. By utilizing the existing data effectively, this EdTech facilitates better monitoring of the student behavior.
Market experts have observed that the higher education segment has contributed close to 75% of growth in the global learning analytics market in the year 2017. Governments across the globe, especially in the US, are encouraging digitization of education.
6.Smart Learning Environment (SLEs)
SLEs are one of the best ways in which the hybrid learning approach can be put into action. This IoT based learning solution encourages personalized education system, driving better engagement and skill enhancement. Seen as one of the best by-products of IoT in education, SLEs have encouraged industry stakeholders to revamp their investment strategies and launch better EdTech products.
GROWTH MINDSET PRACTICES FOR TEACHERS
We’re going to keep things as simple as possible, though, and provide you with some easy ways you can begin fitting the growth mindset practices into your daily routine, both in and out of school.
BUILD A NETWORK
This is one of the most positive and beneficial growth mindset practices you can adopt as an educator. Having a solid professional learning network helps you with making connections and forging relationships with like-minded educators near and far.
Inside this network you share ideas and resources, have amazing discussions about your profession, and safely voice your concerns. Perhaps the biggest benefit to a PLN, however, is that you’re consistently learning and developing new practices to enhance your teaching practice, and also enhance yourself as a person.
A great starting point comes from the Edutopia article How Do I Get a PLN? Tom Whitby suggests beginning with as little as twenty minutes a day doing one or more of the following:
- Start a Twitter account and follow some educators
- Connect with educators on Google+
- Read education blogs
- Follow education chats specific to your content area
- Get involved in education groups on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Accept invitations to collaborate
ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS
Those who grow always want to know—it’s a good mantra to have. The reason is because the very act of asking questions and finding answers is synonymous with what the growth mindset is all about: improvement, curiosity and, well, growth.
Consider how many questions a child can ask in one sitting. It can make your head spin, as their thirst for understanding and expansion seems inexhaustible. Obviously you won’t be following your peers around like a child would and posing query after query. You can, however, take from that youthful tenacity and fearlessness in knowing what they want to know.
For the child, it’s about exploration and development being at the heart of that curiosity. It’s the same way for you too, just on a more refined level. The answers you seek now are about exploring personal and professional questions and problems through the lens of deep inquiry. You are still learning and growing and always will be. The only difference is you’re capable of being much more selective of what it’s important to be curious about.
BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER
In as much as we must ask our questions and share our knowledge, the other half of learning is listening. We listen to understand, absorb, and make choices, and active listening helps us do it right.
In the article 10 Ways of Teaching Effective Listening Skills to Your Learners, we broke down ten key points that contribute to active listening. Begin with these and work with one or more as you converse with both your learners and your professional network colleagues.
- Don’t talk: Quiet yourself, and be open and available to what is being sought by the other person through your listening.
- Get into listeningmode: Quiet the environment and mentally open your mind to hearing by getting comfortable and engaging in eye contact.
- Make the speaker feel comfortable: Examples of this might be nodding or using gestures. Seating is also important. Decide if the speaker will feel more comfortable if you stay behind your desk, or if you took a chair beside them. For smaller children, get at their eye level instead of towering over them.
- Remove distractions: If necessary, clear the room, shut off tech screens, and silence your phone. You may also need to move to a more private location.
- Empathize: This is about looking inward and sharing similar experiences with who is speaking. Share them only if appropriate; otherwise, it’s always about the other person.
- Embrace silence: Some people need time to formulate a thoughtful response. Rushing them through, or suggesting what they want to say, robs them of the opportunity to communicate honestly. Let it be silent if it needs to be.
- Leave out personal prejudice: This can be difficult as our experiences form who we are. Putting all those experiences aside is a skill which requires practice.
- Heed the tone: Sometimes tone can hide the meaning of the words, and sometimes the tone enhances the meaning of the words. Know which is which.
- Listen for underlying meanings, not words: Listen first for comprehension, and then a second time for ideas.
- Pay attention to non-verbal communication: People communicate through body language and facial expressions, which is why eye contact is necessary.
LISTEN TO SOMETHING POSITIVE
It may sound trite, but it helps. What you are doing here is reprogramming your subconscious mind for growth and positivity, especially if you make this a daily habit.
One of the most powerful positive mindset meditations ever recorded was Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret. This is a piece of advice that, in 30 short minutes a day, changed the outlooks and the lives of millions of people all over the world. Despite the dated context (it was recorded in 1957), it still shares a helpful and encouraging perspective on mindset, the idea of success, and what’s possible for us if we choose the pain of discipline over the pain of regret.
This tip works just as well with reading something positive every day. Dive into the works of Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Napoleon Hill, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, or Rhonda Byrne. Start with ten to twenty pages a day—your life and your teaching will probably never be the same again.
When the day is done and we leave the classrooms and meetings behind, the best of all growth mindset practices for teachers involves reflecting on that day. This is a must if we are to continue improving, refining, and discovering things about our practice and about ourselves.
We get it—the school year (or day or week, for that matter) is full-on and it can be a challenge to carve out time to reflect and debrief. So how can busy teachers make it happen? One of the easiest ways is to make time for solo or group reflection in professional development sessions, or in daily meetings. It’s an essential part of the process of transforming your practice through transforming yourself.
Take some cues from the suggestions in the article 10 Reflective Questions for Teachers to Use Every Day:
- What was my best moment today and how can I have more moments like it?
- What was my most challenging moment and why? How will I respond next time?
- Were my students excited to be in class? If not, what can I do to change this?
- How was my mood with others today and how can I improve it?
- How well did I communicate with others today and how can I do this better?
- In what ways did my students surprise me most today?
- How did I support my colleagues today and how will I continue to do so?
- What are the biggest obstacles to improving my practice and how will I overcome them?
- What did I do today for myself and why is this important?
- What do I want everyone to be able to say about me?
KEEP ON GROWING
Still want some growth mindset practices? Take a five-day challenge alongside your students with the program in our free ebook The Growth Mindset Guide. This is the perfect primer for helping you and your students understand, experience, and adopt the growth mindset together. Enjoy five days of explorations and activities for growth mindset that you can fit into the course of the week. Go through the suggestions and activities and think of creative ways you can incorporate them into your daily instruction.
Innovative Ways to Bring STEM to Schools
As schools look for innovative ways to bring in STEM learning, here’s a possible road map for how to galvanize a school community.
Organize a teacher research and a development team
Organize a teacher research and development team to dig deep into STEM learning by having these teachers read widely on the topic, visit local businesses and industries engaged in STEM work to interview real-world practitioners to find out what students need to be successful in these fields. This group can be comprised of 6 to 8 people and can act as the steering group for beginning an exploration of STEM learning in a school community.
Have teachers engage in STEM conversation
Have the team lead several faculty meeting times to have teachers engage in the conversation around STEM, and to explore and develop STEM-related learning experiences in classrooms. This creates a safe space for learning and experimentation and provides a feedback loop for teachers as they try to understand the components of STEM lesson and unit design.
Invite parent for STEM conversation
Invite parents into the conversation by organizing parent focus groups around STEM careers. Find out among the parent body who works in a STEM field and mine their knowledge and expertise to identify the key core competencies essential for success in a STEM career.
Conduct curriculum reviews for science and mathematics department
Conduct curriculum reviews of science and math departments and take a close look at the Next Generation Science Standards to see where there are opportunities to incorporate STEM into the already existing curriculum. Overlay the NGSS standards on top of the existing curriculum and ask the hard questions about what is essential for STEM learning.
Have teachers visit other schools to engage in conversations
Have teachers visit other local schools to engage in conversations with other science and math teachers to figure out how best to begin to make inroads in STEM.
Get in touch with STEM Expert
Bring an outside STEM expert to cast a lens on the existing science and math programs. It is always helpful to have an outsider’s eyes on the internal workings of a school so that the school can learn more about itself and how to grow.
Invite Guest Scientists to the school
Invite guest scientists in to the school to conduct experiments with students and to talk about what it is like to work in a STEM field.
Through tools like Skype, have local scientists take students on a virtual tour of a laboratory and walk students through the stages of experimentation.
Explore co-curricular opportunites to experiment with STEM
Begin to explore co-curricular opportunities to experiment with STEM, such as organizing clubs such as Tech Challenge, First Lego League Robotics, Python programming, Minecraft, Futures Problem Solving, Destination Imagination or Odyssey of the Mind to get kids excited about innovation, creativity, and STEM.
Have fun with STEM! The best part about STEM is that it is hands-on and exciting. Schools can lean into STEM and organize STEM fairs for the community to display and engage in projects and experiments. The key message for schools to send to its students and families is that schools are laboratories for learning.
Getting students excited about STEM
Many school districts struggle with getting students excited about STEM and how to expand students’ interest, excitement, and achievement in STEM. Without the right approach, however, the result is often random acts of STEM that do little to show students how fascinating or relevant these subjects really are.
Unlike the science and math classes of yesteryear, STEM is not about reading from textbooks or memorizing facts and formulas. STEM is about doing. It’s about helping students to develop a deep understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and giving them ample opportunities to apply that learning. Creativity, communication, and innovation are essential pillars of this journey.
Here are a few of the strategies we’ve implemented to give students hands-on, inquiry-based STEM learning experiences that are preparing them for college and careers.
1. Teach the teachers first.
The first step to creating high-quality, standards-based, integrated STEM lessons is to help teachers develop their STEM content knowledge and teaching skills. We recently completed a three-year professional development project called “Accelerating Maximum Potential in STEM (AMP-STEM), thanks to a Math-Science Partnership Grant from the Florida Department of Education. Working in partnership with the University of South Florida, we created and conducted summer institutes, STEM certification courses, and STEM Writers Academies.
Throughout our PD, we modeled the same instructional approaches that we want teachers to utilize with their students. Instead of “sit and get” instruction, we implemented a constructivist framework to engage and challenge teachers to think at higher levels, and we implemented the 5E instructional model to deliver our content training. By modeling and involving teachers in STEM best practices, we improved their abilities to apply these practices in their classrooms. Within the STEM lessons we covered, we also incorporated the same tools and technologies that teachers would use with their students, which increased their confidence and helped with lesson planning as well.
2. Create an active space for STEM learning.
One big way we are leveraging the power of technology in STEM learning is in our “Innovations Lab.” To date, we have installed these high-tech, hands-on labs in two K-8 schools and two middle schools.
The Innovations Lab includes a science lab, digital microscopes, large screen TVs, mobile furniture, a robotics court and netbooks, as well as PASCO Scientific Wireless Sensors, SPARKvue data collection and analysis software, and SPARK Element handheld science learning devices. The size of three classrooms, this lab provides an active space where students can develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They can conduct experiments, make scientific data measurements, analyze their data, generate their own claims, and discuss their claims with their peers. They can even write on their desks or the walls to sketch out ideas in an environment similar to that of professional scientists and engineers. All of this helps bring STEM to life while making learning more fun.
3. Build 21st century skills and make real world connections.
Students love robots. So, within the Innovations Lab, we use robotics systems to help students build engineering skills as well as 21st century skills such as teamwork, problem solving, and leadership. In the robotics court, which snaps together and can be quickly assembled and disassembled, students build and program robots and participate in robotics competitions.
To further encourage students’ — and especially girls’ — interest in engineering, we often pose real-world problems and ask them to come up with solutions that will benefit our community or society at large. For example, we invited a marine scientist to discuss her work and then we assigned related tasks to students. In one task, we asked them to build a robot to rescue a manatee and transport it to the local zoo. In another, students were asked to create a robot that could protect the local ecosystem from an oil spill.
4. Go wireless.
The Wireless Sensors have added a whole new dimension to what we can do in the Innovations Lab, as well as STEM courses district-wide. Because the sensors remove the clutter of cables, students can now conduct experiments that would have been impossible before. For example, in our award-winning outdoor learning space, Nature’s Classroom, wireless sensors have allowed for even our youngest scientists to collect meaningful data in the field. The wireless sensors also reduce lab set-up and clean-up time and the time it takes students to collect data, which means they can spend more time on analysis and discussion. This results in deeper conceptual learning.
Increasing students’ understanding and interest in STEM
The use of technology-supported inquiry and hands-on experiences, which incorporate the environments and the tools of modern STEM careers, is helping to improve students’ understanding of core STEM concepts and practices, while increasing their motivation to learn more and get students excited about STEM
In a career interest survey we conducted in grades 7–11, nearly 80 percent of students identified STEM careers as potential options for their future. We believe this is due not only to what we are teaching students but to how we’re teaching them.
We are also seeing gains in student performance. Our district, which includes more than 203,000 students in 250 schools, typically performs at or above the state average in science and math. Among the 10 largest districts in Florida, we have moved from seventh or eighth place all the way up to third in science scores for our elementary schools.
Our focus on STEM, particularly in our Innovations Labs, has created a culture shift around the importance of these subjects and the idea that they can be fun. It is this shift in thinking that has gotten us to where we are now.
In 2017-18, we plan to engage in a series of meetings with representatives from the technology and biomedical sectors of our community. In these meetings, we plan to work together to better define the STEM skill sets students should have when they leave our schools. The goal is to create a more productive ecosystem that will better serve our students as well as local employers. Through this collaboration, we can ensure we are meeting our students’ educational needs while filling the STEM pipeline with qualified workers.
How to Boost Classroom Engagement With Technology
Engaging your students can be difficult. Students are faced with constant distractions, and the sad truth is that attention spans are getting shorter.
As educators, a high level of engagement should be a priority. It shouldn’t be surprising that the more students are engaged, the more they learn. It also makes it significantly easier to maintain your energy throughout the day.
Today’s students grew up in the digital age. Rather than viewing technology as a distraction, we should be taking advantage of it to increase student engagement. To make sure that students are getting the most out of every lesson, the content should be presented in a way that the work has a clear meaning and immediate value to your students.
Technology in the classroom allows students to gain a deeper understanding of topics that interest them, collaborate with each other, and direct their learning. We’ve created a list of some of the interesting ways that you can incorporate technology into your classroom to increase student engagement.
Submit assignments as blogs
Blogs are short online articles (less than 3000 words) that are taking the world by storm. Blogs are a great resource for both the author and the reader: the author can constructively express their thoughts, and the reader learns something new.
Best for students in grades 7–12
Engage your students: Posting written assignments as blogs allow your students to showcase their work and also help each other out by posting comments. Posting the blogs publicly also means that you’ll probably receive higher quality work.
Submit assignments as podcasts or videos
Podcasts are digital audio files available for download to a computer or portable media player. Both podcasts and videos allow students to showcase their creativity and gain new skills.
Best for students in grades 7–12
Engage your students: Podcasts and videos are engaging ways to submit assignments that remove a lot of the presentation stress felt by students. They can create several versions and will not see the people who will be evaluating the assignment. You can also create podcasts and videos of your classes for your students to review after class or when preparing for a test. This also helps students who missed a class.
Add this to your classroom: Students can record videos by simply using the camera of a smartphone. Most smartphones will have a voice recording app, which can be used for creating podcasts. Have your students share videos through Youtube and podcasts through Soundcloud.
Work with a classroom on the other side of the world
The internet allows instant communication between anyone, at any time. Take advantage of your ability to teach your students about geography or history by talking to students from that country.
Great for students in any grade
Engage your students: Nothing is more engaging than a room full of students from another continent! Take pen pals to the next level by having your students chat and learn from someone from a completely different culture and background.
Add this to your classroom: Skype provides various methods of virtually adding people to your classroom, from interacting with other classrooms, to hosting a guest lecture, to virtual field trips.
Gamify Problem Solving
Gamifying your classroom occurs anytime you bring competition or levels of achievement to a classroom exercise. Grades can be seen as a form of gamification. However, these don’t necessarily fully reflect how much the student has learned or their work habits. Adding rewards to other aspects of the classroom allows you to focus on fundamental skills.
Great for students in any grade
Engage your students: Leveraging gaming mechanics can make learning more fun. Using your students’ competitiveness also encourages them to work harder than they normally would.
Add this to your classroom: Work with your students to create badges or awards that they can receive for completing certain tasks, such as homework completion. Check out Gradecraft for some ideas. You can also introduce them to the concept of co-designing, allowing them to have a direct impact on what their favorite companies are making. For example, My Starbucks Idea accepts submissions of new Starbucks products and experience ideas, then allows users to vote on the ones that they like the best.
Create infographics to explain complicated topics
Infographics are visual representations of information. They are designed to make information easy to understand very quickly. They are typically designed to draw attention to the most important information first.
Great for students in any grade
Engage your students: Visuals are much more engaging than written text and convey a lot more information. Infographics take that to a whole new level. Infographics are typically used for displaying some sort of data; they could easily be used to compare population statistics in geography or show the history of the Internet.
Add this to your classroom: For an easy, user-friendly design interface, try Piktochart. Presentation software such as Powerpoint or Keynote can also be used to create simple infographics. More advanced design software such asGIMP or Photoshop are also great.
Record and playback reading
Students don’t always realize what their voice sounds like when they read. They may be making consistent pronunciation errors without even realizing it.
Best for students in grades 1–3 or in foreign language classes
Engage your students: Fluency and expression can be hard concepts for your students to grasp. When you record your students reading, they will be able to hear the differences in their voice and learn to recognize what it means to read with expression.
Add this to your classroom: Record each student reading using voice recording software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Then send this audio file to your students through email. If you want others in the class, or the students’ parents to listen to the recordings, share them using Soundcloud.
Taking attendance by having students raise their hands can be time-consuming. This is important to know which students are present, but not necessarily the best use of your time in the morning.
Best for students in grades 1–6
Engage your students: Make your students responsible for their attendance with an interactive whiteboard. This teaches them how to be accountable and gets them used to using an interactive whiteboard.
Add this to your classroom: Take a picture of every student during the first week of school and add them to a Notebook file. Each morning, have your students drag their photos into a “present” section when they arrive.
Contact Us For Our Drone Services
Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing shortage of professionals in a particular set of fields—mathematics, technology, science, and engineering. Did you know that within the next decade, a mind-boggling 40% of engineers are going to be ready for retirement? With so many professionals hitting the retirement stage, what does this leave the workforce to look like?
Fortunately, the remedy comes in the form of STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). STEM learning is geared toward providing children with cohesive and conducive learning environments that expand their knowledge in fields relating to technology, engineering, mathematics, and science. Although many countries have started preparing our younger generation to meet the increasing demand for STEM workers, the learning environment itself is largely impacted by the people who do the actual teaching—namely, our teachers.
If you’re a teacher who is interested in building ultimate STEM learning environments, check out our go-to guide for helpful tips and advice.
1. DON’T AIM TOWARD PERFECTION
First and foremost, teachers shouldn’t aim toward perfection when building a STEM learning space. Remember, STEM learning is all about getting your students to think creatively. If the learning space is ‘perfect,’ this defeats the entire goal of STEM learning. With this in mind, make sure to create environments that provoke critical thinking and problem-solving skills. More so, ensure the spaces promote communication and collaboration.
2. CREATE A HANDS-ON LEARNING CORNER
Because STEM learning is aimed to provide students with hands-on activities, you should have space or a corner in the classroom that is completely devoted to hands-on activities.Whether it be building robots or space to carry out science experiments, it should provide kids with a sense of “it’s okay to get messy here.”
3. ELECTRONIC DEVICES ARE A MUST
You can’t effectively teach STEM concepts without the use of technology and this is why a large percentage of your lessons should incorporate the use of computers, laptops, and tablets. Some schools, such as Kristin School in Auckland, are already providing all students with access to iPads. However, it is not uncommon for schools in rural areas to have limited access to technological devices due to budget constraints.
This does not mean you have to go without the use of technology in your classroom, though. Even bringing your own personal laptop to the classroom and letting students complete assignments and research 10 minutes per day two to three times a week is an excellent start for building ultimate STEM learning environments.
4. APPLY FOR GRANTS
If your school lacks access to funds to help you create conducive STEM learning spaces, you can always take matters into your own hands and apply for grants. Take for example the Hoover High School located in Des Moines, Iowa. The school “applied for, and won, a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council to redesign learning environments and reinvigorate the district’s STEM Academy. The district matched the grant, giving [them] $100,000 to create learning spaces that would be similar to the environments [their] students may encounter in college or in their future career. [They] overhauled three rooms — a “redesigned learning environment” or RLE, a Project Lead the Way classroom, and a math classroom. Although the three rooms serve different purposes, they all reinforce the use of collaboration and technology.”
5. INVOLVE THE PUBLIC
A key component to effective STEM teaching is providing students with examples of how their learnings can be put to use in the real world, and there’s no better way to do this than to bring in industry professionals to give presentations. When you include industry influence in the classroom, this informs and inspires students by letting them critically think about the fields of employment they may want to pursue.
Even better is that involving industry influence in your classroom promotes networking among employers and students, many of which may offer to pay for students’ college tuition fees if they agree to work for the employer for a certain number of years after graduation.
6. ENTICE TEAMWORK
A major component of building ultimate STEM learning environments is centered around teamwork and high levels of productivity. This is why you should spend a large portion of your time teaching lessons that require the use of teamwork and extensive levels of collaboration. More so, you should make sure you are properly communicating with other teachers, using teamwork among yourselves to ensure the language (tone), learning processes, and expectations of students are similar throughout all classes being taught. Teachers will find it is much simpler to create ultimate STEM learning environments when everyone is on the same page.
If possible, classrooms should be set up to promote the use of teamwork to complete class projects. At the Hoover High School we mentioned earlier, a room of cubicles was completely renovated to create a makerspace. “Students brainstorm designs around group desks and create the design using modeling and technical drawing software on desktop computers. The instructor then projects the designs via the interactive projector and leads classroom discussions. Students suggest design improvements and more using the annotation tools, and once a design is finalized, they can print out a prototype using 3D printers.”
7. FURNITURE NEEDS TO BE ERGONOMIC
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for the furniture in the classroom to be ergonomic. STEM learning involves the use of critical thinking skills and students will only think to their fullest potentials when they are comfortable. From couches to chairs to standup desks, ergonomic furniture in the classroom should be viewed as a necessity rather than an amenity. Check out this helpful article to learn more about the ways furniture impacts students’ learning capabilities.
If you don’t have access to funds to remodel the classroom with ergonomic furniture, at least make sure the existing furniture can be converted into group stations, because student collaboration among one another is vital to building ultimate STEM learning environments.
8. REFIGURE THE CLASSROOM OFTEN
Lastly, you need to understand that conducive STEM learning spaces are going to differ from one lesson to the next. One day you may need to set the class up in demonstration mode while the next day it needs to be in lecture mode. To learn more about the various modes and to get an easy-to-follow blueprint of how to set classes up in four different modes, check out slides 15 and 16 of this SlideShare.
All of the tips mentioned above are great starting points for building ultimate STEM learning environments. With research, collaboration among other teachers, and a willingness to change up your regular teaching routine, you can be well on your way to creating learning spaces that help students excel in STEM studies.
4 Ways Technology Is Making Education More Affordable & Available
When Sal Khan agreed to help tutor his niece in middle school math, he had no idea he was embarking on a journey that would lead to the creation of Khan Academy, a nonprofit that offers “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Using free digital tools such as YouTube and Yahoo! Messenger, Khan successfully helped his niece get into the advanced math track at school. Her siblings, their friends and eventually millions of others started watching Khan’s videos, and his digital educational empire was born. Khan Academy is now famous in the educational technology space, but it’s just one of many innovative companies that are using ed-tech to provide learning opportunities to students in every corner of the globe.
Here are the top ways those investments are changing the world:
1. Improving access.
Global access to basic education is a major problem. Almost 58 million children of elementary school age and approximately 63 million middle school-aged preteens worldwide were not enrolled in school in 2012, a report published in January 2015 by UNICEF noted.
Educators around the world are using technology to increase access to education. Pencil, a nonprofit organization in New York City, is leveraging technology and community involvement to impact urban schools, paving the way for struggling school systems in cities worldwide.
The organization forms partnerships between local businesses, schools, and volunteers to improve academic outcomes, prepare students for college, and invest students and families in their education. The model has impacted more than 220,000 children, the organization’s 2012 report indicates.
2. Overcoming cost.
One of the largest barriers to education is cost. In 2012, the total outstanding debt for public school systems in the U.S. totaled more than $406 million, a report published in May 2014 from the United States Census Bureau showed.
As the cost of education rises, many public school teachers are left to pick up the tab. A survey of 946 U.S. teachers conducted in June 2014 by Sheer ID and Agile Education Marketing found that respondents spent an average of $513 of their own money on classroom supplies, resources, classroom books, and professional development during the 2013-14 school year.
Ed-tech is helping to relieve some of the financial burden. A pioneering crowdfunding site, DonorsChoose.org, enables educators to post their needs and seek donations. Requests range from simple supplies such as pencils and paper to more expensive items such as hydrogen fuel cells for students learning about alternative energy.
Since it was founded in 2000, the site has raised more than $300 million and benefited about 14 million students, claims the company website.
3. Restructuring the classroom.
Ed-tech is changing the way teachers teach and students learn. In place of the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom, we have witnessed the rise of “flipped classrooms” leveraging blended online and offline instruction, where students watch video lectures at home and do their “homework” in class.
A survey of 500 educational professionals conducted by Kaltura in January 2014 found 48 percent of respondents use video to flip their classrooms and 57 percent said flipped classrooms will become the standard in higher education. More and more, blended online and offline instruction is becoming the norm.
2U, my former company, partners with universities to bring blended learning to life. Using cloud-based services, the company provides online degree programs that mesh live online classes, interactive course materials, and hands-on learning experiences to create an engaging virtual classroom.
4. Skills training.
Ed-tech solutions also provide education to adults who want to improve their job skills, learn new skills or receive higher education at a lower cost.
For instance, Udacity offers affordable higher education options. The company provides massive open online courses that focus on teaching tech skills needed by the top employers in the Silicon Valley. A range of technology skills are in short supply today, and Udacity is working to bridge the skills gap.
Pluralsight also provides accessible training for tech professionals. The site offers a professional library of 3,000 course written by more than 600 authors for developers around the world looking to expand their skills.
By developing education alternatives, these companies are ensuring that every student, regardless of age or location, can compete in a 21st century economy.
Imperial Tech is a technology company which was established in 2015, a subsidiary of Imperial Educational services which is an education, research, and technology company who was established in 2010. Our mission is to conduct, develop, and validate drone operations through innovative technology, improved safety, and project efficiency.
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