NSTA STEM Forum

I presented again at the NSTA STEM Forum, this year held in St. Louis, Mo. I presented Examining World Problems: Creating Solutions Through Interdisciplinary STEM activities. I met more wonderful people and made new friends.

Takeaways

The NSTA STEM Forum begins with a choice of four expert panel discussions. This is a great learning structure. I attended a informative presentation of the STEM X network. Four state STEM directors discussed how their states were progressing towards integrating STEM education and business networks. It was fun listening to the individuals with the vision, helping us to understand how national movements support our efforts.

The panel agreed their biggest challenge was creating a cultural shift to STEM education.

When the culture begins to define itself, the STEM revolution will begin in full force.

I also attended a session highlighting STEM programs to watch. Although all programs (Illinois State University, New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning, and Next Generation Science Standard Exemplar) were enlightening, I attended the NGSS Exemplar follow-up session.

A group of professors are piloting a teacher in-service training module for NGSS that seems promising. Based upon video and student work from existing work in Qwest, the teacher training is scheduled to be available in some format by the beginning of 2014. Although our session did not easily connect the training (over 30 hours) to  NGSS, it does look promising.

And Now A little Boring Background

I attended a Next Generation Science Standard workshop at the DuPage County Regional Office of Education, conducted by Carol Baker. Carol discussed the future of science testing. She suggested on-line experiment simulations will be used to assess student understanding of science. Her presentation sparked my interest in on-line simulations.

I participated in two simulation-science learning experiences.

At the NSTA STEM forum, I started with the exhibitor PhET. Educated by a young physics major, I began with the argument, “Why do a virtual lab if you can do a real lab?” He countered with “Why not do both?” His enthusiasm for the potential of learning in virtual environments was epidemic. He proceeded to show me a circuit simulation and a biology presentation. I was hooked…. line and sinker.

I also attended the Concord Consortium presentation regarding science simulations. Here I was “WOWed” with the architecture heat transfer simulation. I hope to go back to school and show the kids. We are just finishing heat transfer as it relates to architecture. Perfect

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