The Impact of Technology on STEM learning
Research has shown that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is vital for the future success of students. The ability to integrate technology with STEM education is one way to make learning more connected and relevant for students (Stohlmann, Moore, Roehrig, 2012).
As the job openings in STEM areas are driven by the inclusion of technology in every aspect of our lives, North America is expected to require more than a million professionals in the next decade (Oberoi, 2016). Therefore, it is important to consider the impact on student’s knowledge acquisition and the benefits of early exposure STEM related subjects and technology.
However, there’s still limited amount of research that examines the prerequisite skills, beliefs, knowledge bases, and experiences necessary for teachers to implement STEM instruction (Fykholm & Glasson, 2005). Educators, and the whole of the learning community, need to address this concerns by making the process a holistic one, involving skill development programs for all stakeholders to facilitate a seamless adoption.
Researches have created a list for an efficient implementation of technology-enriched STEM programs which include initiatives such as gaming, virtual laboratories, international collaborative projects, real-time formative assessment and skills-based assessment (Kärkkäinen & Vincent-Lancrin, 2013).
Some of the general guidelines and benefits of these technologies have been exposed by other colleagues in this blog and highlight how the have the potential to improve students’ learning outcomes, including development of higher-order thinking skills, and how to expand the range of learning opportunities.
A short sample of tools available for STEM education in a K-12 setting as follows:
This app features six types of machines: levers, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, wheels and axles, and screws for kids to discover how they work. They will be able to explore physics and math from a fun side as they test each machine to learn about force and motion, actions and reactions, inputs and outputs, conservation of energy, and mechanical advantages. Simple Machines offers a free handbook download for better understanding of the concepts for both educators and students.
Is a 3D design app that helps create and print 3D models. Tinkercad has a simple and intuitive interface useful to be a first step in computer aided design (CAD) for students. Tinkercad seems suitable for middle- and high-school kids aiming to learn CAD skills and apply them for professional design.
It’s a block-based 3D modeling software that enables kids to make virtual things on their iPhone or iPad, and then get them printed out as physical models. It allows users to build with cubes which resembles building with LEGOs or in Minecraft, making the app fun and educational at the same time.
The benefits of technology to enhance learning in STEM subjects are a valuable educational asset students can acquire today, for their personal and professional futures.
Frykholm, J., & Glasson G. (2005). Connecting science and mathematics instruction:
pedagogical context knowledge for teachers. School Science and Mathematics. 105(3),
127–141. doi: 10.1111/j.1949-8594. 2005.tb18047.x
Kärkkäinen, K.S., & Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2013). Sparking Innovation in STEM Education
with Technology and Collaboration: A Case Study of the HP Catalyst Initiative. OECD
Education Working Papers. 91(1). OECD Publishing.
Stohlmann, M., Moore, T.J., & Roehrig, G.H. (2012). Considerations for Teaching Integrated STEM Education. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER). 2 (1), 4. https://doi.org/10.5703/1288284314653