Guest Post via @wmjackson: Why Parents Should Encourage #STEAM In Education

Why Parents Should Encourage STEAM In Education

By William Jackson, M.Ed.
Edward Waters College – @wmjackson

There is an interesting
dynamic that has
grown over several years
related to academic
assessments: school districts
across the nation
have adopted a growing policy
for testing (assessments).
There are local district assessments, state
assessments and national assessments.
There are still questions what does all the testing mean
and who is using the data?

There seems to be an overwhelming focus on accessing
or testing students from Pre-K to High School. The
reality is that students once they enter into formative
education will be tested in some form or fashion
throughout their academic years. Testing to see if
they understand, comprehend, grasp, accept,
conceptualize and other verbs that relate to the
“light bulb” effect of knowledge illumination and
grasping of important concepts to advance to the next grade.

Assessments are just one part of the equation,
students must be able to apply what they are
learning to real world application. These applications
are sometimes not evident in the classrooms of
this nation so parents, being the first teachers
must allow their children to experience opportunities
to apply their learning.

Parents find the
events or activities
that kids can join to
apply those skills they
will learn in the
classroom. Whether it
is Boy Scouts or Girl
Scout,  Boys and Girls
Clubs of America,
Girls Inc., the national
or local groups based in
cities like Jacksonville,
Florida; Journey Into Womanhood
a successful mentoring and training program. These
are opportunities for parents to get their
children engaged in learning the people skills they
need to apply to future career building.

The involvement shows that skills related to
STEM, and STEAM are not limited to just science
and those areas that kids expect, but the social
skills that allow students to communicate and share information.

STEM
Science Technology
Engineering Mathematics
are knowledge areas that
help prepare students for
careers building to the
opportunity to start a career.
Students must know the
language and be able
to speak it when striving
for a career.

Science and Technology changes just about
every 6 to 9 months so students must adapt their
vocabulary to match the vernacular of their area
of interest. Engineering terminology is consistent
with the process of solving problems that many
kids enjoy doing. Engineers solve problems;
Mathematics can be learned from K to graduating
high school, but still must be applied so no one
cheats you out of your money when you buy candy
at the store or even a fast food restaurant. When
purchasing a home, vehicle or even understanding
budgeting for life, mathematics
is important, schools must teach it to apply to real life.

Education allows for the accumulation of information,
facts, access to data, students still need to learn how
to apply these to real life experiences. Parents must
understand that value of “exposure,” the purpose of
application and implementation is valuable.
So in the 21st century, STEAMing your kids is necessary.
“The careers now and in the future require a
foundation of education and transference of
information from memory to momentum of
execution.”
Wm Jackson, Edward Waters College

Engagement in STEM
and STEAM, are ways
to grasp the concepts
necessary to build
knowledge to be
successful in a dynamically
changing world.
Parents take your children
to museums, library events,
cultural activities, family field
trips to where you are
doing stuff to be engaged.
What is the issue with having
children learn about what the
world has to offer and provide
in a productive and positive way?

Parents allow your children to build, design,
create, be innovative and explorers.Their future
depends on what type of foundation they have
now. Students learn by doing not by listening,
so engagement is vitally important and necessary.
Student lead instruction, guided learning, project
based learning and the list goes on when
children need to be engaged and active.
Hands-on learning that is student centered is not
a trend, it is a reality and much needed.

Too many teachers are still teaching in the
past mode of factory workers style and lecture
instructional model. Students are not factory
workers, they are not all the same so instruction
should be diverse in its approach to meet
the educational needs of the diversity of
the classroom. The explosion of video games,
interactive toys, digital platforms and tools
is needed to guide learning that challenges
students to be creative and innovative. Teachers
need to incorporate collaborative learning with
content rich resources.

Adapting to a STEM / STEAM project based
instruction addresses the issues to engagement
and active learning. A game of questions for
STEM? Encourage students to ask each other
in an intelligent way questions to encourage
discussion:

What did you see happen? – What did you
try and why? What things did you notice
when it happened? What is another way to
do it? – What has changed now?
What were your expectations and were they
met? – What did you learn? – Where can you
apply what you learned? – Can you teach others?

Teachers must be members
of Professional  Learning
Communities (PLC’s) to
share and gain resources
from other professional
educators.
Children are naturally curious,
so why not enhance, support
and encourage a natural
ability to question.
Just guide the questioning to everyday life
and teach children to be “smart creatives,”
and “thought leaders.” Allow students to be
innovators and explorers, show students
especially students of color and culture they are
capable. STEM and STEAM are the new ways to
accomplish this and should be used to lead
future generations to learn how
to solve problems before we realize they are problems.

The need for STEM workers can be seen
as technology is integrated increasingly in
society. Drones, driverless cars, medical
research, global warming, increased space
exploration and even inner space in our
oceans requires knowledge workers that
are visionaries, smart creatives and innovators.

STEM – STEAM – STREAM – CSTEAM – STEM2

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