We live in a world where science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) play critical roles in every job, every home, and every aspect of advanced learning.
Integrating these disciplines in learning is critical for all students, not just those who are naturally proficient in math and science. STEM-focused learning gives learners a critical foundation for post-secondary and career success.
Best Practices for Successful STEM Curriculum Programs
Successful STEM programs share a variety of common characteristics. These characteristics are key elements in every SmartLab Learning solution.
Science, technology, engineering and math are approached from a real-world, integrated perspective.
|☑||STEAM and Beyond
A true transdisciplinary framework integrates fine arts, social studies and language arts to appeal to a broad range of learner interests.
|☑||STEM for ALL Students
Effective STEM programs engage and inspire students of all abilities and interests and accommodate a wide variety of learning styles.
|☑||Next Generation/21st Century Skills
Promotes problem-solving and critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, time management, and adaptability.
Personalized learning is individualized, differentiated, and relevant to the interests and experiences of every student.
|☑||Project-Based & Problem-Based Learning
STEM content is learned through hands-on, minds-on projects. Project engagements are motivated by genuine learner inquiry and a problem-based perspective.
Learners document and present their learning through ePortfolios or similar methods.
|☑||Integrated Learning System
All program elements, including classroom configuration, hardware, software, kits and equipment, curriculum and assessment, and professional development support learning objectives.
Professional-standard technology tools are integrated into everyday workflow.
|☑||Learning Technology vs. Teaching Technology
Technology is in the hands of the students, not just teachers, administrators and service providers.
|☑||Emphasis on Applied Technology
Application of technology tools is emphasized over specific skills that become obsolete as technology changes.
|☑||Teacher as Facilitator
Teachers assume the role of facilitator and students are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning.
Students work in pairs or larger teams. Quality collaboration is as important as the final work product and is part of the regular assessment process.
Program elements scaffold from K-12 with increasing levels of challenge and self-direction.
Students select an appropriate level of challenge and take their projects as far as they’re able.
|☑||Supported and Sustainable
Ongoing professional development is an integral program element. Program continuity is not dependent upon a single teacher. Program technology is readily available. Technology and curriculum resources are regularly updated and augmented.
“SmartLabs have absolutely brought both girls and people of color into the STEM fields at our high schools.”
—Brian Ewert, Colorado Superintendent of the Year