This week in STEM news the theme is new day, new ways. We’ll have a look at new STEM education methods, new facilities for materials science and a few inspiring visions of the future of STEM.
New STEM Education Methods Turbo Charge Student Learning
The star of this section is this amazing study. Researchers found that students on a special diet of hands-on and digital activities improved their maths scores by a massive 20%. The teaching program came out of the University of Canberra and used existing digital education apps.
Also, Mary Pilgrim and Thomas Dick at The Conversation write about how how maths education needs to move away from a lecture format. Instead, they say, we should be using more active formats of learning. Questioning, exploration and open discussions are great examples of ways to make a lesson more interactive.
If this were a medical study in which active learning was the experimental drug, the authors write, trials would be ‘stopped for benefit’ – because active learning is so clearly beneficial for students.
Read the whole article here.
Last up in our collection of new education methods, Judith Woods at The Telegraph investigates a swathe of programs being introduced in schools around the UK. These methods, such as spaced learning, have produced vastly improved results. The article covers not just STEM subjects, but other academic subjects such as literacy.
New Facilities For Material Scientists
Material science, as you may know, is a branch of chemistry. And now material scientists at MIT have access to a brand new lab to make cutting edge fabrics. The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) lab recently opened across the street from the technological institute. It will not just be a place where phenomenal fabrics are designed and created. It will also be a centre for innovation and learning.
Visions of the Future
The future of STEM education looks bright. A changing economy and job outlook might seem daunting. But new STEM education methods are emerging to equip today’s students for these challenges. Robotics is a popular approach to integrated STEM learning. The use of robots looks set to continue growing as the demand for digital capability increases.
But it isn’t only STEM education that’s changing. The need for high level thinking skills and cross-curricular integration is prompting calls for change across the board. This article from Fast Company makes five predictions about the future of education. It points to a more democratic, integrated and technologically driven system.
Last of all, if you’ve read this whole list and you still want more, you can dig into this chunky report. The US Department of Education published the report, which outlines a vision of STEM education for 2026. It highlights some of the same key themes you will find often on the STEM Learning Project website: real-world, open-ended problem solving tasks to encourage collaboration, creativity and critical thinking; and to train students for the challenges of the future.