STEAM UNIVERSE: "Makerspaces, Coding, Robotics Pick Up Major Momentum in Schools?" OK, But We First Need A Plan!

STEAM UNIVERSESTEM courses seem to be everywhere these days…and they are welcome additions for interested students and teachers in many schools. So are the headlines everywhere. The one you see above comes from a recent publication, the STEAM UNIVERSE website

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Sri Ravipati

RE@L likes their motto: “The Way Forward for Education.” So, we took a closer look at their recent article on “Makerspaces, Coding, Robotics Pick Up Major Momentum in Schools” by THE Journal author, Sri Ravipati.

Author Ravipati goes on to say: “Once again this year, schools will be ramping up robotics programs and opening more makerspaces, according to the latest report from the New Media Consortium and the Consortium for School Networking.” Those links above may be worth your bookmarking. 

She adds: The [latest] report is accompanied by a free digital toolkit which aims to serve as a planning tool for educators, school leaders, administrators, policymakers and technologists.”

Ms. Ravipati wisely suggests”strategizing a plan” to use these new tools before they are put into the hands of the users.

image-20150329-16105-dxcnqbWe at RE@L believe STEM course are both interesting and useful, and especially for the future careers it makes possible for both girls and boys.  We have also noted that more teachers are beginning to say: “Where are the plans we need to use STEM successfully?”

That question deserves an answer, and needs to include more staff development and training on how to make it happen. Few teachers today learned these skills during their training and licensure. Schools and districts must provide more workshops, resources and tech-teams to help make it happen.

They also need to choose STEM software that provides more helpful, readily accessible resources to teachers, students and parents, too. RE@L software will include it!

It gets our RE@L dander up when our many, well-meaning colleagues in EdTech Reform have their agenda backwards. Whether it’s STEM or STEAM, or reform of any kind, it makes little sense to buy new tech tools before teachers have the needed blueprints in hand, and they know how to use them.

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Many schools today are being forced to move STEM-forward without the proper training for staff to make learning more successful for more learners.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent for new tech tools with little or no planning for teachers to use them effectively. 

Parents, our essential allies in teaching, need help understanding STEM too. We believe the Family Night Guide idea is a great idea! Click on the link for more ideas.

missed_target-300x204Lack of planning becomes a classic example of that old saw: “Ready, fire, aim!” 

Yes, our firing at the target may be quicker, it’s more likely we will have again missed it.

Teachers, and students, even parents need to train, focus and aim to assure more success!

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Teachers need help in planning STEM outcomes. Selecting the right tools is essential to make it happen. That’s the best way to promote successful change. Today’s teachers are too busy trying to make the current, burgeoning curriculum fit into the allotted 180 days. The key blocking factor is that the time teachers now spend on largely useless standardized testing for “non-standardized” learners?

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Effective STEM software must be more than a download or link. What’s critical is the need for tried and tested lesson plans, supplementary materials, including up-to-date videos, tips, quizzes, project-based learning (PBL) ideas, and other key support material. RE@L is expert in providing effective software and enabling instructions and resources.

RE@L’s coming STEM software will include these key resources making them available instantly online and accessible 24/7. RE@L has found no software publisher who can make that claim.  RE@L will make it happen!  Click here for more information on RE@L’s STEM Investigation software system.

Stay tuned to our RE@L Blog! There soon will be more exciting news about our new STEM software products.

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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.