Why the STEM Think Tank Day 2 Rocked!

After an long evening of powerful thunderstorms, vivid lightning, gusty winds and heavy rains, the weather in Nashville cooled off considerably for the last day of the Think Tank.

One of the joys of being an educator (and an experienced educator at that) i being able to sit with new teachers – or veteran teachers – and just talk shop.  Its an invigorating experience for both.

I ran my own Think Tank discussion – Our Students Are Mobile, Should We Make Our Learning Mobile?  For the final session of the conference, it was very well attended – every seat was taken.  We looked at a lot of issues related to mobile learning through a variety of lenses.  How do you balance the use of digital media with tactile, hands-0n material?  How do you ensure access to digital learning tools for all?  How do you focus on your learning objectives and not the device itself?  The sessions drew a lot of ideas from a variety of participants.  One educator expressed that her colleagues were often fearful of change, especially when it comes to technology.  That requires a lot of hand holding!

In the final session, we met with a representative from the NY Hall of Science, Christine Nealy from Trinity and Deidre Gaughan from Ursuline to discuss what our “findings” were for the past two days.  We came up wit the following:

In terms of increasing the connections among schools, universities, informal education and industry:

  1.  Attend NY Hall of Science Educator events
  2. Arrange school visits/lunches
  3. Research/disseminate/organize industry connections

The three best practices we will use

  1. Egg drop/engineering design process
  2. LS Rationale for iPad acquisition
  3. Seamless [STEM] Integration

To change the conversation

  1. New ways to conceptualize engineering, broadening and deepening the definition
  2. Accessibility of discipline for students

Suggestions for 2013

  1. Teacher professional development; making connections to research opportunities
  2. Talking out and through misconceptions
  3. Teachers as students
  4. Tinker lab – student/faculty

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