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STEM Learning Resources To Explore

<p style="text-align: justify;">The new year presents a great time to explore different ideas or try some new tools in the classroom. Educators need to take time to explore new ideas and find ways that will enable us to best prepare our students for the future.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Although we may have yet to determine exactly what types of jobs will exist or the interests of our students, they will need various skill sets to be prepared for whatever changes the future brings. When we provide students with more meaningful learning experiences and engage them with the content, they can shift from consumers to creators, increasing student engagement.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">A great reference is to look at the World Economic Forum resources to better understand the job outlook and types of skills students will need. The World Economic Forum stated that approximately 1 billion jobs would be transformed by technology over the course of the next ten years. The Jobs of Tomorrow report listed the jobs that will see growth in areas such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and STEM. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">With a reported 3.5 million jobs available by 2025 that require STEM skills, it is important to create opportunities that will help students to develop essential 21st-century and workplace skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and decision-making.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">With many emerging topics like AI, AR/VR, blockchain, NFTs, the metaverse, and more, finding the right resources to help students explore these concepts and build their interest and skills in these areas is important.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Here are four resources to explore that will allow students to learn about STEM-related topics, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, and coding:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Birdbrain Technologies offers the Hummingbird and Finch Robots that are great for use in any content area, and teachers can even request to try these resources with their students for a demo period. Students can dive into learning about Artificial Intelligence and robotics using Google Teachable Machine with the Finch robot!</li><li><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Code with Google</a> is focused on closing equity gaps in computer science opportunities and providing students with free resources. For middle school students, Google CS First has programming explorations and lessons that include scripts and resources for teachers, making it even easier to get started</li><li>Daily STEM is a platform created by Chris Woods for educators and families to find ideas for exploring STEM activities. Check out the &ldquo;STEM everyday&rdquo; posts and the podcast, which features how educators bring STEM into their classrooms.</li><li>ISTE&rsquo;s AI and STEM Explorations Network has created four free hands-on AI projects for the classroom <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">guides</a>, which are available for download from ISTE and GM. For elementary, secondary, elective, and technology courses, these guides offer various topics relevant to all content areas. The guides are available in English, Spanish, and Arabic</li><li>Scratch was created by the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">MIT Media Lab</a> in 2007 and the Scratch Foundation, &nbsp;a non-profit organization, oversees the program to ensure that it remains a free resource for students. The target range listed was ages 8 through 16, but IIT is offered in more than 70 languages which helps to promote accessibility, which is so important that all students have access to these essential learning opportunities. Because it is offered for free, it promotes equity in learning</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">There are many possibilities to choose from. We must provide access to resources that give students access to the right information and opportunities to work at their own pace and explore based on their specific interests and needs. By providing students with opportunities to engage in more student-driven, hands-on learning, the learning has more meaning and authenticity.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachelle Den&eacute; Poth</a></em></span><br />&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Rachelle Den&eacute; Poth</span></h3><h3 style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</h3><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. How do you use STEM in the classroom?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">I teach a course for 8th graders on STEAM and emerging technology. We cover various topics, including basics about technology, coding, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and topics like blockchain, NFTs, metaverse, and web 3.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What skills will students practice in STEM lessons?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Students develop a variety of skills, also in alignment with self. They learn how to problem solve, collaborate, build skills and critical thinking, and work through challenges. It also fosters creativity. Students develop skills that can be applicable to many areas of life and work.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What is the latest technology used in STEM education?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Many schools are looking at using coding in the classroom and finding resources to help students develop skills in that area. Some courses focus on computational thinking because of the skill sets that students develop, similar to what I mentioned in answer two.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In my experience, there has been an increased interest in the augmented and virtual reality areas to greater immerse students in learning opportunities and experiences.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. How can the STEM education framework help students with special needs?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The use of certain technologies enables all students to experience something that otherwise would be difficult or would limit a student's ability to participate in an experience. It promotes accessibility, whether because of specific features built into certain tools or apps, one example being the immersive reader.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">And in terms of ensuring all students have access to devices, there are many resources available that educators can find to bring in a variety of opportunities for students to experience learning about coding or augmented or virtual reality, or other emerging topics.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Rachelle Dené Poth

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