We are now fully immersed in 50th anniversary of Apollo mode. While it is easy to focus only on Apollo 11, this celebration of human achievement actually began in a somber way when we commemorated 50 years since the loss the Apollo 1 crew, which occurred back in January of 1967. We moved on to remembering the first manned Apollo 7 mission from October 1968, and the audacious Apollo 8 flight to the moon in December of that same year. Apollo 9 cleared the way by testing the lunar lander in Earth orbit in March of 1969. Apollo 10 proved our ability to rendezvous in lunar orbit in May, which all led to the big event on July 20 when humans first set foot on the moon.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is one of the biggest education trends of the decade. With an estimated 2.4 million STEM jobs that were unfilled by the end of 2018, it’s more important than ever to promote curiosity in these subjects so students will choose valuable STEM careers.
Teachers try to balance many different elements while planning lessons. Content standards, interest level of students, high levels of rigor, prior knowledge, and empowering and engaging student learning all play a role as teachers are determining how to structure a lesson. As teachers think about increasing relevance in the classroom and applying critical thinking strategies, they can look no further than the current debate about climate change in our world—a topic that meets most, if not all, of the criteria listed above.
On May 3, we celebrated the fourth Boxlight STEM Day (#BLSTEM) in conjunction with TAG-Ed’s Georgia STEM Day (#GASTEMDay). Students around Georgia, as well as several locations in Latin America, participated in lessons conducted with the Boxlight Labdisc. STEM Day is a hands-on, inquiry-based learning event designed to help students discover critical STEM skills and understand how STEM disciplines apply to the world around them. Lessons ranged in topics from heart rate and light absorbance to Newton’s second law.
There are initiatives all across the country in the field of education and in industry that encourage girls to consider joining STEM-related occupations as adults. This is a great idea as a female perspective is highly valuable in these areas. The question is, how do we support young girls to make this happen?
In the previous century, computer science and computer coding was left to a few highly trained individuals. There was a level of expertise and skill needed to “speak the language” of computer science—for most people, it was a foreign language.
As we embark deeper into the technological age, we are finding that the language of computer coding is not a “foreign language” anymore. K-12 schools have worked to introduce coding earlier and earlier into the curriculum. Education organizations like www.code.org provide amazing resources for teachers to be able to cover this subject matter.
In part one of the CTE overview, we provided a short history of career and technical education along with some examples of pros and cons for students and schools when it comes to implementing CTE courses. The real power of CTE, in my opinion, comes when career preparation and college preparation are not independent, but when they work in conjunction with one another.
Learning for the sake of learning is a great idea—students are able to learn what they want and focus on anything of interest. Sounds great, right? Our schools, and in particular our public educational system, exist in part to fill the needs of the careers that our country needs. This isn’t the sole reason that we educate our students, but it is definitely part of it. And rather than just teaching students what may interest them, we attempt to prepare them for specific careers that they can easily transition into after high school or other post-secondary education.
This concept may be a hard one for a lot of us to wrap our heads around, but there is a good chance that whatever your first job was will not be the first job of your students. This may sound pretty straightforward, but I think the idea is somewhat profound. When we stop to think about it, the entry-level positions of yesterday probably won't exist in the future. Whether these jobs come from the service sector, food service, or manual labor, there is a good chance that our students will not have access to the same positions that we did—and if they do, probably not on the same scale.
Exciting news: November 8, 2018 will mark the third Boxlight STEM Day (#BLSTEM)! Just like last time, students will work with their classmates in a hands-on, inquiry-based learning event designed to help them learn critical STEM skills and understand how STEM disciplines apply to the world around them. And as before, Boxlight will provide the lab experiment—the event will involve using our wireless Labdisc portable STEM lab, so it’s less “same old classroom activity” and more “exciting new real-world work.”
The event is open to every school that has the Labdisc data logger. No matter where you are, as long as you have a Labdisc, your class can join in the learning fun. This year, students will use the Labdisc to perform simultaneous experiments to observe and measure the light intensity of different light sources. Think about how incredible it will be to conduct this experiment and share data along with other science classes across the US and Latin America!