If the United States is to continue to be a world leader, we need to develop more scientists. Today’s students must be able to solve tough problems, and helping students develop the four Cs—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity—is more important than ever. By 2018, there will be more than two million open jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions; however, only 19 percent of current college degrees are in STEM fields. Even worse, 75 percent of students that do well in science and math decide to not pursue STEM in college. We all need to do a better job of making science and math more stimulating, and help teachers find ways to make the material matter.
Here at Boxlight Mimio, we’re deeply concerned about the shortage of people entering the STEM workforce—I’ve seen statistics that say we’ll need at least one million more STEM professionals over the next decade. Encouraging children to enter these fields is crucial, and we believe that we can help by providing teachers with the tools to incorporate innovative, exciting hand-on STEM projects into the classroom.
In a recent interview with Neil Hughes (The Tech Guy Podcast), we discussed this important topic and what we are doing to support STEM learning.
Enter the Labdisc portable STEM lab.
The Labdisc is a wireless, compact data logger with 15 built-in calibrated sensors and a long battery life—making it a perfect tool to use anywhere, including outside. We designed the Labdisc so that teachers can perform inquiry-based projects in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and geography.
We’re really excited to be working with the Coweta School System in Georgia, where the state’s new science standards are encouraging districts to focus on hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Regina Ahmann, who teaches zoology and AP environmental science at East Coweta High School, is using the Labdisc to study the relationship between temperature and humidity in several locations around her school, including both urban and green spaces. Ahmann told us that she loves that the Labdisc collects data every second. “There’s no possible way my kids could have done that with a thermometer,” she told us. “It’s all recorded and it makes gorgeous graphs. And you can get your big core concept across to students in a real-world framework.”
Real World in the Classroom
Dr. Donald White, Coweta’s science content specialist, has said that his district is using the Labdisc to replicate what students will face in the job market. He hopes that the experiences the product lets students practice will open the door to careers in a variety of science fields.
Boxlight STEM Day—Bringing Science Everywhere
On December 9, our company hosted the first-ever Boxlight STEM Day to encourage students of all socioeconomic levels to consider pursuing STEM careers. We invited five low-income elementary and high schools in Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Mexico, and Guatemala to join us for a day of inquiry-based learning so they could understand how STEM skills fit into the larger picture.
All of the schools received a free Labdisc portable STEM lab, and students performed simultaneous experiments and shared their data. The schools have continued to participate in joint experiments, and we hope that many of the students will see that a STEM career is within their reach.
Here at Boxlight, we will continue to develop products that make learning meaningful and help children connect the importance and value of learning math and science to the skills they need to change the world.
What are you doing in your classrooms to connect students to STEM careers? We’d love for you to share below. And if you want to listen to my entire conversation with Neil, click this link: https://player.fm/series/80936/171655376
Want to learn more about the Labdisc portable STEM lab? Visit here now.>>
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” - Aristotle
As teachers, we know our students learn in many different ways: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and social. But most of us teach the way we're most comfortable—and that's not necessarily the way our students learn. It's a missed opportunity if we don't use the way that a student learns best to hook them and get them excited about learning.
As a classroom teacher, you may have heard about the recent push to incorporate more computer science and coding into students’ lives. The problem could be—as it is with most teachers I know—that you feel vastly underqualified to teach anything in that realm. Coding seems like an intimidating subject and something that requires a lot of professional learning before jumping in.
When looking at the big picture of a school system, it can be daunting to think about effective ways to incorporate change. Systems are complex by nature, and education can be a hard one to change for a variety of reasons.
Now that Black History Month is here, you may be looking for ways to tie the celebration into your lessons. The National Education Association (NEA) offers an array of lesson plans for students of all ages that can help you integrate the subject into your classroom. And if you’re looking for EdTech tools that celebrate diversity and technology, check out these resources from Edutopia. You can also access lesson packs on MimioConnect®, our online educator community, with activities to help you celebrate African-American history all month long.
5 Resources to Make the Biggest Game of the Year a Learning Touchdown
With football’s biggest night coming up, how can you turn the event into a learning opportunity? Turns out, there’s plenty of science to be found in this popular game! From Newton’s laws and Deflategate to health and injuries, football offers plenty of opportunities help improve student engagement in the classroom.
Thus far, I have never met a teacher who would willingly give up their document camera. Once teachers discover how practical and useful these devices are, they don’t ever want to let them go.
Unfortunately, the core content teachers often get first dibs at this kind of technology. Elective classes already require other resources like space and supplies, so if money is tight, this technology may not be available to these teachers.
Administrators making purchasing decisions should consider all the advantages of providing document cameras in various classes. Using these devices well can allow teachers to go beyond just displaying images. If our goal is to create higher-level thinkers, here are some ideas for students and teachers using document cameras in the classroom:
We live in a highly technological age, which has made the majority of today’s students incredibly tech-savvy. Unfortunately, many students still see courses that lead to careers in STEM fields—crucial in our high-tech world—as boring. So how can we engage and excite the next generation of students in order to show them how science is relevant to their lives and their futures?