I was recently contacted by a specialist with Defined STEM, and listened intently as they gave a short presentation of their web-based education program. I was extremely impressed, and immediately began to think about the potential utility of this application for any school district developing a STEM curriculum framework. The skinny here is: “Defined STEM is a web-based application designed to promote effective and relevant connections between 21st century learning skills and how those skills are used across all subjects and curriculum."
I encourage you to peruse their websites:
Defined STEM Home Website
Defined STEM Introductory Video
There you will find upper elementary, middle and high school level links. Each link will lead you to a framework of scaffold activities which serve as an instructional template for student performance tasks. These tasks are based on the premise of “Understanding by Design,” and challenge students to construct a task connected to a real STEM career. Inquiry and engineering design are woven into every step of the task design. In some cases, the task has been customized to include a local STEM company (see Plastics in Georgia). As a result, students identify the knowledge and skills required by a community-based STEM business/career, and apply these skills to solve a local and/or real world problem.
These performance-based tasks are also formally aligned to STEM Literacy, Common Core State Standards, and 21st Century Skill Standards (Next Generation Science Standards will be added following adoption). College and career readiness, along with cross-curricular integration are achieved through “Grade Level Learning Outcomes.” Defined STEM instructional strategies, including assessment tools, are addressed in online professional development training for every teacher using the program.
I am sharing this with you because while there are costs to use this program, I believe it will provide a useful model for teachers who wish to implement STEM into their classrooms, and lack the time or direction on how to accomplish this. The goal of STEM literacy is not intended to be infused into science/math classrooms alone, and should apply to all subjects, including CTE courses. Defined STEM could help make this goal possible.
- Technology in Education