How Teachers Incorporate STEM Learning into the Classroom

To prepare students for jobs in STEM fields, the U.S. Department of Education is shining a spotlight on how educators can incorporate technology into their classroom activities. A new report from ED’s Office of Education Technology and Digital Promise identifies nine dimensions of effect STEM learning practices that are enabled by technology.

Accompanying the report, researchers produced 10 videos that are posted on YouTube showing how teachers and students are using different STEM tools.

The nine dimensions are:

  1. Dynamic Representations: Students learn or master STEM concepts through interacting with digital models, simulations, and dynamic representations of mathematical, scientific and engineering systems.
  2. Collaborative Reasoning: Technology tools support students’ collaborative reasoning around STEM concepts, equalizing participation among group members and helping individuals and groups improve their ideas.
  3. Immediate and Individualized Feedback: Digital tools provide students practicing or learning STEM skills or concepts with immediate and individualized feedback, beyond right or wrong.
  4. Science Argumentation Skills: Students use technology that supports science argumentation skills including presenting and evaluating evidence about scientific or mathematical claims.
  5. Engineering Design Processes: Students plan, revise, implement and test problem solutions using engineering design processes and appropriate support technologies.
  6. Computational Thinking: Students use technology to formulate and analyze problems and their solutions, reason abstractly, and automate procedures through algorithmic thinking.
  7. Project-based Interdisciplinary Learning: Students use digital technology tools in the context of authentic project- or challenge-based learning activities that integrate multiple STEM fields (e.g., science and mathematics).
  8. Embedded Assessments: Digital assessments are embedded in STEM instruction to prompt students' reflection on the quality of their explanations, models or problem solutions.
  9. Evidence-based Models: Students use technology to develop models based on data and evidence.

The 10th video shows how students are receiving individualized feedback on mathematical problem sets in Greene Central High School in North Carolina.

The report showcases how technology can be used in practice, but researchers emphasize the need for educators to make instructional decisions to determine the best approaches that will work for their students.

The full report and links to the videos can be found on the Office of Educational Technology’s website.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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