Input needed! STEM award program

Hi All!

We need your input TODAY (April 6, 2010). Discovery Education is considering creating an educator award program to acknowledge excellence in STEM education. What attributes would be important to you? What would you encourage us to consider?

Please respond in the comments or on Twitter using the #DESTEM hashtag.

Thanks for your feedback and help!


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  1. Michele Martin said:

    As a nation, we are experiencing serious shortages in STEM careers, which means we need to get young people really excited about and engaged in the subject.

    Some thoughts for an educator award are:
    *Shares personal passion for the subject with students
    *Makes learning fun and interesting so that students get excited about STEM.
    *Exposes students to a variety of STEM-related career opportunities.
    *Exposes students to real-life STEM-related projects and experiences.
    *Encourages women, minorities, students with disabilities and other “non-traditional” students to get excited about STEM opportunities.

  2. Katherine Gullixson said:

    I think an important attribute is an educator who is linking STEM to job needs in their community. The US needs to stop importing STEM workers from other countries, and that can only happen if we prepare students and link local business with school districts.

  3. Cathi Cox said:

    Teacher provides a learning environment that is student-centered with an emphasis placed on conceptual understanding through inquiry and project-based learning, process skills, laboratory experiences, research, advances in technology, and applications in engineering and mathematics. Under the teacher’s direction, students develop and utilize strong literacy skills in reporting and presenting research findings and project results while working collaboratively with community partners.

  4. Debra White said:

    The major thing I would like to see from an educator is an emphasis in student projects on creative thinking, collaboration and risk taking. (Safe risk taking)

  5. Carolyn Rains said:

    The willingness to collaborate with other educators, to try new and different tools and resources, plus a passion for learning and teaching are important as well as the strong knowledge of their subject area.

  6. E Malick said:

    Keeping in mind that the incorporation of the STEM is 2 main phases:
    1. A healthy balance of cross disciplines of Science and Math and Technology with teh multiple branches of Engineering (Mechanical, Structural, Civil, Software, etc)
    2. It should be application-math or application-science to generate problem solvers and innovative thinking

  7. Heather Hurley said:

    Definitely a focus on problem solving and critical thinking. Also please include elementary teachers as well. There are lots of great things going on with children’s engineering in the elementary schools.

  8. Cynthia Dwyer said:

    Incorporating STEM into a unit of instruction, not isolated activities without an underlying connection. Also, incorporating critical thinking & high-order thinking skills.

  9. Fredda Krinsky said:

    I am STEM. I use to think I was a NERD and a GEEK, but these attributes may just be branches or offshoots of STEM. Nearly 20yrs ago, I was named in the 1st edition of Who’s Who in Science & Engineering, and Who’s Who of American Women. My professional career is multi-disciplined, cross-industry and spans 35yrs in healthcare, aerospace, hi-tech, academia (my life-learning is a bit longer!) I know what it takes to easily transition across industries, and communicate effectively with different audiences (from the bench to C-level). I have mentored and encouraged young people in the importance of education & the sciences. When I have talked, about convergence and emergence of technologies, technology transfer & commercialization, it is with a passion of… what if?

    There are no shortages of STEM careers. As a nation we need to focus on laying the foundation or the ‘roots’ of STEM in grade school. I strongly believe, for there to be analytical thinking, creative thought processes and innovation, the activation point in ones’ development and for STEM graduates to be successful, is starting in grade school around 4th grade. The earlier the education systems get students engaged, curious, excited about discovery and the thought process, the rewards will be tremendous, for the students, education and the nation.

    First, take a historical perspective of the past @50years, see where STEM has come, and have the class create their own database of the itemized contributions (don’t put the list in silos, cross-reference them!), explore and analyze patents issued, and then anything is possible when looking at the future emerging opportunities of converging ideas and fields.

    Teachers will find there is a wealth of intellectual capital to harness during the course of the school year in teaching ‘real-life’ applications of technology, innovation (from retired engineers and pioneers in the aerospace industry, as well as inventors and researchers in medicine, entrepreneurs in communications etc.). Take advantage of extracurricular activities in collaboration with corporate partners-sponsors for projects (all industries have companies that have in-community programs, and offer mentors). Students will be amazed what their parents and grandparents in some cases helped to innovate, and the technologies that became part of everyday life.

    Teachers and students in rural areas, must take advantage of using technology (web-conferencing, SKYPE) to connect with adopted ‘sister’ classrooms where there can be a mutual benefit from interactive education experiences. Alternative energy technologies, and wind farm technology (from design, manufacturing and operations) aren’t happening in the middle of cities and suburbia. GPS isn’t just for finding the closest coffee shop, it is also used in agricultural applications. STEM is just as critical for these future innovators, and leaders, as well as for the security of our country.

    “Your imagination is the preview to life’s coming attractions” ~Albert Einstein

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