Why the NSTA STEM Forum Rocked

This past weekend, NSTA held its first ever STEM Forum and Expo in Atlantic City.  The Forum rocked!

First, it was great to see so many STEM educators all in one place.  Whether they were new STEM teachers or veteran educators, everyone at the Forum had a common goal – developing better STEM education programs for K-9 students or to highlight the stellar STEM programs already in existence.  Many of the workshops focused on problem/project-based learning.  I walked away with a lot of great ideas!

Second, the keynote speaker on Thursday Dr. Kenneth Wesson, really challenged the audience to think about how we approach education.  Many of the messages we have heard before, but thinking about science/STEM education from a neuroscience perspective put a new spin on it.  Perhaps the phrase that resonated with me the most – reali life is an essay question.

I also served as a moderator for the Roundtable Task Force.  Our task: hear from business and industry representatives, as well as higher ed and secondary teachers of STEM and provide recommendations and ideas that are designed to improve academic experiences for preK-8 students.

I was quite lucky to work with Gregg Molotsky from Vorhees – so thoughtful, so dedicated.  Our group’s recommendations included:

  • Presumption of competence and positive expectations.
  • Use of transdisciplinary content/contexts to produce cutting edge products.
  • Topics and learning that is relevant to the students’ personal lives.
  • Think beyond the school.
  • Citizen-scientists.
  • Understanding the scientific and engineering design processes.
  • Learner-centered!

A more formal list of recommendations from each constituency will be posted on the NSTA website soon.

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