STEM Education Websites
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It has always been my opinion that the education and training of the next generation of professionals starts in the home. The parents are a child’s first teachers. Society can assist though its educational systems but the beginning and foundation of a person’s upbringing has to be provided, fostered, and encouraged by the parents.
Other people in the professional community can be called upon to assist in the educational pipeline. To that end, a committee was formed in our parish to develop input to the parish grade and middle school on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Since I am an engineer and an adjunct lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Zimbabwe, I volunteered. Part of the committee’s task was to find websites that offered resources for teachers and students. These resources are just as well used by parents as they help their children explore their interests and talents.
Most of the so-called “STEM-related” websites we came upon, including those at the college level, contained little more than fluff and advertising. Shown below are brief descriptions of and links to resource websites that appear to be worthwhile. We are sure they are not the only good ones. They are just the ones we found during our search. New finds can be added to this list as they become known. Feel free to send your suggestion to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Descriptive paragraphs are paraphrases or quotes from the sites themselves.
Link Contributors: Peter Raeth, John Glaser, Todd May
PBS STEM Education Resource Center: Science Resources
PBS is well known for science series such as NOVA , NATURE and SID THE SCIENCE KID. PBS Teachers offers hundreds of standards-based, online resources designed to help teachers promote understanding of science concepts and development of hands-on science skills. There are other areas covered by this center besides STEM.
Journal of STEM Education
The Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research is a half yearly, peer-reviewed publication for educators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The journal emphasizes real-world case studies that focus on issues that are relevant and important to STEM practitioners. These studies may showcase field research as well as secondary-sourced cases. The journal encourages case studies that cut across the different STEM areas and that cover non-technical issues such as finance, cost, management, risk, safety, etc. Case studies are typically framed around problems and issues facing a decision maker in an organization. This is an open journal. I was able to get to full-text copy without even registering. It is part of Open Journal Systems (OJS, http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=ojs), which itself is part of the Public Knowledge Project (PKP, http://pkp.sfu.ca) .
Successful STEM Education
This site provides information and resources that highlight promising practices and tools in support of effective STEM education in schools and programs. Most of the material is full-text and available for download by registered users (registration is free).
NSF Resources for STEM Education
This site contains a sampling of resources and findings from NSF-funded projects. Their proposals underwent merit review; subsequent annual and final project reports were reviewed and approved. The resulting research-based resources have been pilot- or field-tested in schools or with teachers.
Compendium of Best Practice K-12 STEM Education Programs
This 106-page report is from Bayer Corporation. According to its editor, Mae C. Jemison, MD, “The pre-college science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs showcased in this compendium share three key strengths. First, they inspire all students and grow the innate interest all kids have for these subjects, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities. Next, they provide positive, real-life individuals in STEM careers for students to get to know, and make the fields more accessible. Finally, they introduce students to the myriad career opportunities available for them in today’s STEM fields. Equally important, these best practice STEM education programs demonstrate the power and effectiveness of public-private partnerships to improve education and bolster student achievement. We hope that by using this compendium as a guide, similar types of partnerships involving K-12 education, higher education, industry and government will be further explored, encouraged and expanded.”
STEM Education Alliance
The STEM Education Alliance is a project center of The College of William and Mary School of Education. The STEM Education Alliance seeks to increase the number of students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers through multi-faceted interventions in K-12 education and beyond. The STEM Education Alliance’s efforts include establishing partnerships between the military and local school systems; developing instructional materials for use in the classroom; conducting summer academies for middle school students; and training teachers, counselors, and STEM professionals. Since 2004, the STEM Education Alliance has made an increased effort to serve underrepresented communities through direct mentorship between students and STEM professionals. See their “Teacher Resources” tab.
Siemens STEM Academy
The Siemens STEM Academy is a partnership between the Siemens Foundation (http://www.siemens-foundation.org, http://www.siemens.com), Discovery Education (http://www.discoveryeducation.com), College Board (http://www.collegeboard.org), and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (http://www.orau.org). This partnership provides professional development for educators in the rapidly evolving areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Academy gives teachers an online portal containing resources that support lesson planning and implementation, while exposing teachers to new learning methods and approaches to teaching STEM concepts. Through webinars, the STARs program and the STEM Institute, the Academy creates a place for teachers to learn, share and discover the latest in STEM education.
Successful K-12 STEM Education
A free electronic book from National Academy Press. The Committee on Highly Successful Schools or Programs for K-12 STEM Education was charged with "outlining criteria for identifying effective STEM schools and programs and identifying which of those criteria could be addressed with available data and research, and those where further work is needed to develop appropriate data sources." The result is this 44-page report that identifies effective approaches to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to K-12 students. No-cost registration is required prior to download.
Sources of Free STEM Education Online
There is a wealth of educational material available on the web for those who prefer to learn at their own pace or take a more individual approach. These resources, whether classes, lectures, or tutorials, are all free of charge. See the comments for even more sources.
Dayton Regional STEM Center (DRSC)
DRSC is a teacher institute for professional practice in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The center coordinates an established network of regional institutions and professionals that provides rich opportunities for STEM education by training and supporting educators, designing curricula aligned to workforce needs, training school leaders at the district and school levels, and supporting schools and program models committed to STEM teaching and learning. The DRSC has created the STEM Fellows Model which has brought together 250 of the best and the brightest professionals in the region—a mix of preschool through high school teachers, higher education faculty and researchers, and practicing STEM industry professionals—to work in teams within key regional economic clusters. These teams help to align academic standards, curricula, and assessments with the expectations of colleges and employers. DRSC offers various resources, including seven STEM lessons, each differentiated to meet the needs of all learners including gifted students and students with disabilities.