By Maggie O’Brien
Each month, we list news articles on STEM education and project-based learning (PBL) that we find exceptionally inspiring and educational. Topics range from research reports to feature stories about new STEM and PBL initiatives in schools. These articles support Defined STEM’s mission of empowering students to build future-ready skills through authentic project-based learning.
Here’s what we liked this month:
This report recaps the major initiatives in teaching and learning in 2017 and predicts what’s to come in 2018. Everything from social media trends to new teaching methods is discussed. A few insights from 2017 include: 1.) STEM partnerships created to reach and support STEM teachers in rural regions and 2.) building bridges between STEM educators and professionals. One trend they foresee in 2018 is filling the STEM teacher shortage by introducing bills and legislation that enable emergency credentialing for teachers to fill vacant spots as fast as possible.
This inspiring article on project-based learning (PBL) was written by Educators at THINK Global School and is filled with thought-provoking metaphors such as “Be Water” and “Burn to Emerge” to explain how PBL prepares students for an ever-changing global society.
In this article, instructional coach Andrew Miller provides insight on how educators can plan for PBL project implementation. Miller’s ideas include: 1.) starting with learning targets, 2.) planning the “what and how, not the when”, and 3.) leveraging differentiation by providing different types of instruction and scaffolding for the whole class, for small groups, and individuals.
The Christensen Institute
Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute, explains that to move U.S. education innovation forward educators must focus on 1.) providing a clear understanding and systematic approach to “just in time supports” for students, 2.) spending less time debating technology and more time examining the competing pedagogical philosophies of constructivism and behaviorism, 3.) creating new approaches to student accountability and assessment and 4.) expanding students’ access to opportunity through student networks, and 5) monitoring education innovations in developing countries.
This article explains that critical thinking skills need to become habits adopted early in life to help students better evaluate scientific claims and figure out which are trustworthy. Included is research and information on how to help students evaluate scientific claims and recognize which are false.