A current trend in education is the emphasis on STEM classes — science, technology, engineering and math. Policymakers hope that focusing on STEM education will prepare U.S. students to become innovators in science and technology. Similarly, arts and design educators encourage STEAM education, which incorporates art into STEM education. Those looking to expand their grasp of curriculum development in an online master's degree in education program can expect to study the use of STEAM curricula in today's schools, including the tools available to STEAM educators.
Cooperative Learning Tools
Most proponents of STEAM education believe that learning occurs best in a community rather than in isolation. Communication tools such as Skype in the Classroom or the DIY App — Creative Community for Kids connect students around the world through projects they find interesting. Students can search for active projects or create their own. This type of engaged learning can expand students’ grasp of the topics covered in their classes while connecting them with other cultures.
Online Resources From STEAM-Related Organizations
A variety of STEAM education resources are available on websites published by organizations in engineering, science and technology. Many companies and research institutes provide elementary- or secondary-level teaching resources to promote STEM subject matter. For example, NASA Education provides free downloadable project sheets for STEAM teachers to use with all grade levels. The project guides help students integrate science, engineering and artistic design into projects of their own. Another popular online resource is wildlife webcams. Students can follow the daily lives of animals by checking in regularly on webcams. They can then use creative expressions such as writing or art to demonstrate what they have learned about the animals and their habitats.
The number of creativity apps available for computers and tablets grows almost daily. Teachers can choose from a wide array of apps that encourage students’ artistic use of engineering, technology and design. Students can use apps like the Robot Factory to create their own engineering projects and test them in physics-driven test scenarios. STEAM teachers can also give students the opportunity to experiment with computer programming. Programming languages such as SCRATCH allow students to combine technology and art as they create personalized animation, interactive games and illustrated stories.
Innovative tools in STEAM education allow students to bring creativity to their math and science lessons. Teachers can easily bring the arts and design to STEM education with apps for computers and mobile devices, web conferencing tools, online communities and educational resources from scientific organizations.
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