Developing a STEM program? How can blogging help?

One of the most recent facts I read related to STEM comes from the US Bureau of Statistics that predicts that within the next 20 years 80% of jobs will require a technical STEM-related skill.  As our world is changing due to technology, our educational system is also changing.  Part of that change has been STEM programs surfacing in many districts across the country.  How do you start a program?  How can you learn from each other?  How can Kidblog be used as a tool to connect teachers?

Almost exactly a year ago, I was part of a team that was tasked with ‘creating a STEM program’.  We were starting in the fall, had very different backgrounds, and felt overwhelmed as to where and how to begin.  Maybe I am alone in ever having felt this way, but I am guessing there are other teachers out there who have been or are in situations similar to this.

As STEM programs are surfacing around the country, to be able to share ideas and have specific dialogue on challenges is important.  In an effort to review the engineering design process and share an opportunity, I encourage you to review the table below.

The Engineering Design Process

Definition

Example/Opportunity

Identify Define the problem/constraints Where do I/we start in creating a STEM program?
Investigate Find information Connect with other teachers who are (or were) in the same situation you are
Imagine Brainstorm ways to solve the problem!  Be creative! Could you use technology to connect with other teachers?
Plan Take all your ideas and synthesize it into a specific plan Kidblog could be used to connect a group of STEM teachers!
Create Build/design what you planned. Here is a link to a Kidblog site that is open to no more than 10 teachers who would like to connect with other STEM teachers.

Link:  STEM Support

Test Test what you created/designed; gather data Over the next month, I will check the blog site to share thoughts and see what others have posted.
Improve Review your data; change/adapt the design; retest Depending on the results, adaptations to the use of the site may be made.
Communicate Let others know about what you learned and/or developed. I plan to do another blog post in about a month to share the results.

I look forward to not only implementing blogging into our entire STEM program, but making it one of the major components. I will be following up with a blog post next month to describe how the table above has influenced STEM blogging and how our program has been shaped by the addition of blogging.

Current Kidblog members: If you’re a teacher with multiple colleagues using Kidblog in your school/district, Admin Pro is simply a better plan for you.  Email membership@kidblog.org to learn about benefits and volume discounts.

About the Author
Bill has spent the past 20 years teaching in England, Michigan, and Colorado. He has taught in 1st through 6th grades and is currently teaching STEM to 6th graders at Holland Public Schools. He has a Masters in Integrated Natural Sciences from Colorado College and is Nationally Board Certified in Early Adolescent Mathematics.

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