Information Age Education Blog
Possible Futures of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education
In December, 2009, the National Science Foundation sponsored a workshop on the future of STEM education. See http://www.mathcurriculumcenter.org/conferences/stem/index.php. Pay special attention to the "Reflections Papers" article by Sherry Hsi.
Note: In attempting to retrieve this paper on 9/17/2012 I was led to http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/staff/committees/allhalllearning/2010/BlueSky/Reflection_STEM-BlueSky.pdf. Here is a paragraph from the 2009 paper:
A Cultural Commons was one compelling idea that emerged from our discussion—community-based consortia of cultural and civic institutions. These Commons would serve students, teachers, and the local community in collaboration with schools, and would be supported by a computer network that hosts a common set of tools—licensed curricula, open content, applications, professional development, online courses, and assessments.
In addition, see the 2007 paper by Sherry Hsi, Joyce Ma, Adrian Van Allen, Kristin Sikes, and Melissa Alexander at http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/mw2007/papers/hsi/hsi.html. Here is the abstract from that paper:
This paper presents formative Web testing and evaluation methods created at the Exploratorium, ranging from floor testing with museum visitors using low-cost 'guerrilla' methods to structured evaluations that engage museum visitors and on-line remote audiences in the design process. This paper illustrates these methods using examples from two U.S. National Science Foundation-funded informal science education projects. "Evidence: How Do We Know What We Know?" addresses how to improve the public's understanding of a key element of the scientific process: how scientists attempt to construct a functional understanding of the world by gathering evidence, and how they make discoveries based on evidence. "Mind: Attention, Emotion, and Judgment – How do minds figure out what to do?" addresses developing a companion Web site to a new exhibition and educational programs that support museum visitors' exploration and experimentation with their own minds. In both of these projects, close collaboration between Web developers and evaluators enabled the collection of useful feedback. Different configurations of interactive media, the Internet, the museum floor, and visitors were used in concert to disentangle open-design questions and to generate constructive feedback and Web design revisions. This partnership approach and these evaluation methods offer developers new alternatives to standard usability testing approaches for improving Web site designs in the early development stages of complex projects.
The Hsi paper proposes the creation of Cultural Commons—organizations collaborating to provide types of outside-of-school STEM education. Hsi suggests a Science and Technology museum approach, drawing on her background working at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
I (Dave Moursund) currently serve on the Board of Directors of The Science Center, a modest-sized science and technology center located in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon. The comments by Sherry Hsi seem particularly relevant to the education programs we offer in this center.
What You Can Do
Parents are often called upon to help their children with science projects. The science projects that students develop for science fairs are often only displayed for a very short time. Consider helping to make a school's science projects available for a longer period of time in the school and also making the projects available for loan to other schools.
The IAE Blog entries tend to have a relatively long "shelf life." However, over time, the references tend to get out of date. You can help your fellow readers and IAE by adding a Comment that includes an up-to-date reference and its URL. Your Comment should include a couple of sentences summarizing the up-to date-information and ideas.
Suggested Readings from IAE and Other Publications
You can use Google to search all of the IAE publications. Click here to begin. Then click in the IAE Search box that is provided, insert your search terms, and click on the Search button.
Click here to search the entire collection of IAE Blog entries.
Here are some examples of publications that might interest you.
Artificial intelligence. See http://iae-pedia.org/Artificial_Intelligence.
Biology in the 21st century. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/biology-in-the-21st-century.html.
Dealing with information overload by use of newsletters that give very brief summaries of articles of potential interest to you. See http://www.i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2009-30.html
ICT integrated into the discipline content areas. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/ict-integrated-into-the-discipline-content-areas.html.
Information age. See http://iae-pedia.org/Information_Age.
Information underload and overload. See http://iae-pedia.org/Information_Underload_and_Overload.
Knowledge discovery and data-mining. See http://iae-pedia.org/Knowledge_Discovery_and_Data-mining.
Mirror neurons. See http://iae-pedia.org/Mirror_Neurons.
Neuromythologies (brain science mythologies) in education. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/neuromythologies-brain-science-mythologies-in-education.html.
Think globally, act locally. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/think-globally-act-locally.html.
What the future is bringing us. See http://iae-pedia.org/What_the_Future_is_Bringing_Us.
Written by Dave Moursund, August 29, 2010
Our formal schooling educational system is significantly handicapped by the rules, regulations, and assessment systems schools are required to follow. Semi-formal eduction, such as provided by Science and Technology Museums, summer camps, after-school programs, and so on have much more flexibility in adjusting to the changing needs of students and our society.
Written by Dave Moursund, November 14, 2010.
This IAE Blog entry has received more than twice as many hits as the average of all of the IAE Blog entries. I wonder why?
Perhaps it is because we are futurists in some sense, and lots of us hope for a future in which many current problems have decreased in magnitude. Maybe STEM can provide or contribute a great deal to providing solutions?
Progress in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education is cumulative, building on the work of people in the past. It is also interdisciplinary, drawing on ideas from the various STEM sub-disciplines.
Progress in science is driven by creative, talented, smart people. These people come from all walks of life and from throughout the world. Their education is a combination of informal and formal. Moreover, they tend to be intrinsically motivated and to have a drive that leads them to work very hard to solve complex, challenging problems.
This type of analysis leads me to believe that we need to be doing better in both informal and formal STEM education.