Educators and parents had to navigate uncharted waters on their own in the maelstrom of school reopening regulations, social distancing, contact tracing, and all the uncertainty of 2020. Children’s engagement was limited by breakout rooms and Google Classrooms, and academic, social, and emotional learning suffered as a result. The impact on STEAM education was even greater! Rather than encouraging students to construct robots and experiment with Arduino boards, teachers were required to deliver classes via video lectures in order to meet curricular requirements.
If you can connect, we’re here to tell you that we hear you, see you, and feel you! Our staff is here to provide you with the tools and mentality you need to engage effectively with your students and restore the sparkle in their eyes as they create and iterate. Based on feedback from educators and parents, we’ve compiled a list of three things to avoid while teaching STEM, STEAM, and coding in 2021. Make sure you finish reading since the last paragraph is the most significant.
1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE CREATIVE WHEN IT COMES TO HANDS-ON INSTRUCTION.
Teaching STEAM or coding to most STEM educators appears to be a daunting task. Without tangible blocks or technology, how am I supposed to teach computational thinking to 7-year-olds? Is it even worth it to employ hardware kits for students in hybrid classes, given the COVID health concerns? You can feel limited in your STEAM training because, let’s face it, incorporating hardware components into courses isn’t always possible. Here are some suggestions for being inventive while teaching computational thinking skills.
Is it possible for your pupils to tidy their rooms while also learning computational thinking skills? To us, it appears to be a win-win situation. With this enjoyable, tech-free game, teach your pupils the fundamentals of computational thinking by encouraging them to think about and plan how to solve a problem. Believe us when we say that their parents will thank you afterward. If-then is a typical programming language that tells a computer to perform an action based on an input (or cause and effect). This crucial principle isn’t confined to computer-based, tablet-based, Chromebook-based, or other hardware-based training. With this simple and lively game, you can teach your pupils how to think about conditional statements.
2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY NEW TECHNIQUES TO INTERACT WITH STUDENTS.
A new learning scenario brings with it a new set of problems. “How can I engage my students without being in the actual classroom?” is one of the most serious concerns educators confront every day. What is our response? Make the most of free resources. Try out a fresh teaching method. Try out a different teaching method. Are you looking for a way to spice up your classroom discussions? Are you sick of reading text conversations and blog posts? Instead, watch a video! Students can quickly make video responses to discussion questions and share them with their classmates using Flipgrid. This is the simplest method to recreate in-person group learning from back in the day!
3. REMEMBER TO CREATE PERSONAL AREAS FOR COLLABORATION
How many times have you felt rushed as a teacher to make sure you delivered outstanding education in the 30 or 45 minutes you were given? How many times have you given a lecture instead of a lesson, only to have your students’ eyes or screens glaze over? This is a very genuine struggle. While introducing collaboration into a virtual lecture may appear time demanding, we may use features on platforms like Zoom to improve engagement and learning in the following ways: Allowing students 5 minutes per class to mingle and connect with one another, perhaps in small groups of 3-4 people. Educators can assign optional discussion questions or allow students to guide the discourse themselves. (Here’s a question to get you started: “As a __th grader, what is one skill you can practice on today that will help you in the future?”) Creating timed, project-based examinations that may be administered to a group of 4-5 students via an online breakout room can be a fantastic approach to increase student engagement and identify learning gaps.
Cold calling is done on occasion. You may imitate the presence and energy of an in-person classroom by adding cold calling into your courses and soliciting live feedback from your students. It also provides you the opportunity to do a one-on-one check-in! Students are physically involved, yet they are not physically present. Instead of using the built-in poll mechanism, have students raise their fists for one option and jazz hands for the other. If space allows, educators might start each class with a two-minute stretch or meditation exercise in the mornings or afternoons. These activities assist pupils to refocus and readjust for the upcoming lesson. Introducing ‘for students, by students’ office hours, during which students can help each other debug their code or clarify one other’s questions.
#4. DON’T BELIEVE YOU NEED TO BE SUPERHUMAN.
You are already doing your best as educators and parents. The enthusiasm that educators and parents offer to the pupils is more significant than any education guidance in the world. Take care of yourself when you need it, and remember that this is unexplored territory in the educational world. When you’re in need, do something for yourself! Take a walk (and make sure you’re properly dressed if you’re in a cold region), have your lunch outside, and bake some cookies! Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you should do.