Growing up, my dad spent lots of time in the garage working on things — his 1972 Ford Pinto (understandably), my brother’s bikes, and making small items for our home. The garage was his makerspace and he used it to design, plan, and follow through on his creative ideas. Later, my brother used the garage as his makerspace. These days makerspaces are moving out of the garages of hobbyists to classrooms and schools for our students to engage in interactive experiences that spark creativity and imagination.
I don’t know about you, but my activity levels have definitely decreased this past year. I find that I’m spending more time in front of my PC for work and recreation (video chatting with family and friends, going on virtual tours, streaming channels for shows and movies, etc.). With many children in remote or hybrid learning situations, their activity levels are also decreasing as it has become easier to move from one place to sit to another place to sit (i.e. chair to sofa). Besides allowing for more physical activity during breaks (run outside for 15 minutes, 5-minute stretches every hour, 60-minute lunch and recreation break sans devices), learning should also incorporate more movement. In addition, with the push for more hands-on STEM integration, students having to school at home need a viable option for STEM learning besides online games and interactive worksheets.
“STEM allows kids to build and create ideas from scratch and have deep critical thinking. We need to prepare our kids for that future.” – Braydon Moreno, co-founder of Robo 3D
Many teachers are struggling with how to address STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) topics in this time of social-distancing and remote-learning. Even for schools that are meeting in person, many of the hands-on lesson plans that teachers might have previously utilised are incredibly challenging under distancing and cleanliness guidelines. After all, who really has time to sanitise every block in a base-ten-blocks set between students? No one.
It looks like we’re closing out the year in a new “normal” of face masks, constant handwashing, and social distancing guidelines. Of course, this has impacted many areas of life including education. Our teachers are juggling with maintaining health and safety guidelines while providing quality instruction, regardless of the learning environment. To say that this can be a little stressful is an understatement, yet teachers are making every effort to keep their students engaged and motivated to try despite this challenging time. What does this entail? That teachers express enthusiasm and positivity to encourage their students, especially when they see them anxious or worried. This can take a toll on teachers.
Topics: teacher tips
Information technology managers are the eyes that help organisations maneuver the always-changing lanes of modern technology. They are the architects of many short- and long-term visions for a company’s technology needs and goals.
Virtual learning environments are particularly tricky for engineering, design, and art teachers. Unless you can send packets of activity-specific supplies home with your students, you have to be flexible and work around the resources available in each student’s home, which can vary greatly. You can’t always rely on students having paints, construction paper, or popsicle sticks readily accessible. Even what were once household staples like paper-towel rolls may not be available in some eco-friendly households that only use reusable cloths. So how can educators provide a complete STEM course with these variables in mind?
When schools and universities closed campuses earlier this year, educators and students struggled with the shift to remote learning. If educators weren’t already using some method of remote learning, such as flipped or hybrid, they soon discovered that facilitating instruction from afar was quite a challenge. Especially for those in continuing, higher, and adult education institutions, giving lectures, conducting lab experiments, and having class discussions became nearly impossible. Instructors had to alter how they were accustomed to presenting material so that it was more engaging over a video conferencing application. For many, this was a frustrating and overwhelming addition to the pile of tasks they were already having to deal with, especially if they were not accustomed to incorporating tech into their instructional plans. There was also the concern that students were not feeling as connected and motivated with the lack of interactivity and faculty contact.