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?
Science Experiment Challenges
One of the main issues is the use of manual science experiments, which can seem tedious and boring to students—especially those who are younger. With so much room for error as data is slowly collected, the process can become quite frustrating to students who are already on the fence when it comes to science. Time constraints and class size are other major issues, as educators are typically tasked with finding experiments they can perform to completion with 30+ students in a 45-minute time frame.
Get Hands-On with Science Fun
In order to engage students, educators need the opportunity to introduce hands-on learning into the classroom. Not only will this help get students excited about science, it will also ensure that they are fully absorbing the scientific concepts behind each lesson. By making science more fun and easier to understand, frustration and boredom will be removed from the equation, which could spark a greater interest in STEM fields.
Technology Can Make Science More Accessible and Immersive
Over the past twenty-five years, technology has slowly been introduced into school systems, giving educators the means to perform hands-on experiments more easily and at lower costs. However, not all teachers are given the proper training to feel confident enough to incorporate these tools into their teaching. Additionally, some tools are restricted to specific classrooms, forcing teachers to book a room and mobilize their students in order to take advantage of the technology available to them.
Luckily, there are a variety of solutions available to educators who want to add simple, engaging hands-on learning into their curriculum—both inside and outside the classroom. Educators can make use of digital games and apps that reinforce scientific concepts, which students can use on mobile devices or computers, either in the classroom or in their own time.
Great STEM Apps
- Molecules - View three-dimensional renderings of molecules and manipulate them using your fingers
- Cat Physics - Explore Physics through cat games
- MIT App Inventor - Allows students to create their own apps
- Hopscotch - Learn to code through creative play
- NASA Visualization Explorer - Get stories about NASA's exploration of the Earth, sun, moon, planets, and universe delivered right to your device
- Project Noah - Explore and document wildlife with a platform designed to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere
- Life Science Through Photography - Life science taught through images and sound
- DIY Nano - Experience and learn about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology
- Even More Resources - Check out our blog for even more STEM resources
Educators can also utilize portable data logging devices, such as our Labdisc, to put science experiments directly into the hands of students. Document cameras are the perfect tool for bringing the detail of the living world alive through HD images and video, and students can capture their own science journal through cameras and video on their mobile devices. Online educator groups are another great way to get inspiration for lessons—teachers can discuss what worked and what didn’t in their classroom, their favorite tools, and suggestions for simple, yet interesting, experiments.
The STEM Recipe for Success
Schools need to have the right equipment, well-trained teachers, and convenient access in order to fully immerse students into STEM learning through technology. What’s more, the technology needs to be easy to use—for teachers and students alike—to ensure that learning can occur without interruption. With the right tools and training, we believe that educators can help ignite a passion for STEM fields in the next generation of students.
Want to learn more? Read our complete white paper, Empowering Science here.>>