My Quest To Teach

November 14, 2018

What is STEAM and Why Parents Should Care

What is STEAM and Why Parents Should Care
By William Jackson, M.Edu
Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics/Music

The world is changing, the incorporation of technology will
not stop in our society, integration of technology is changing
how we function in this world. Educational initiatives use to
train children for the future is ever progressing and creating
a transformative paradigm shift in how teachers teach even
the basics of educational foundation.

Children must be prepared for careers not even available
now and they must be able to solve complex problems that
will challenge our ability to function in an ever shifting world.
The earth is much smaller because of digital communication,
satellites that use infrared, radar and microwave technologies
to survey millions of miles of land, sonar technologies that can
“see” in the deepest of oceans and seas. The same satellites
that have their digital “eyes” aimed at deep space and even
new technology that can detect movement of animals and
intricate weather patterns. Providing accurate weather
predictions for weeks and months in advance.

All provided by the growth and integration of academic elements
being taught in schools across this country. Because technology
has advanced it is important for the engagement of tools to be
fused into educational initiatives like STEM/STEAM/STREAM/CSTREAM
and STEMsquared, they are all connected, but each has a powerful
individual effect in our world.

The goal is to engage the whole child and foster high achievement
in all areas, “as defined by STE[+a]M, which is a website created
to share information about the blending of arts and sciences. The
past error in thinking was that each of these elements were separate
and unequal. The new thinking is that STEAM creates a curriculum
that embraces all these elements which allow students to hone their
personal skills and advance in areas that are new, but just as
important. Project based learning where there is a end result that
is not based on data, but based on evidence of a finished product.

There is a new way of thinking, grounded in research on the brain
shows creativity helps students to learn. The artistic development
and the scientific techniques are complimentary than once first
believed. The blending of these skills require students to engage
in creative, critical and higher order thinking that supports
collaborative and cooperative learning. Learning that pushes and
challenges, and brings about success that is transferable in advanced
areas of appliance and application. In a layman’s explanation, kids
are encourage to do something, given the tools and the parents
are facilitators and get out of the way.

Parents need to understand many careers are now influenced
by STEM curriculum’s and should be more involved in schools
that are preparing students to be future leaders Educators, artists,
and scientists recognize the importance of blending the arts and
sciences and believe that this can lead to richer student learning.
STEAM is complimentary with 21st artistic, scientific and
technological century skills. There is much more than just teacher
centered instruction, the student must be the center of learning
and involve the “4 Cs”:
Creativity, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Communication.
So important are these elements and how instruction is performed
that the organizations of  the National Science Foundation, the
National Endowment for the Arts, and the U.S. Department of
Education are joining to make sure current and future models
of learning properly prepare students to be the skilled laborers
this nation needs to lead in the 21st 22nd and 23rd centuries.

William Jackson is an educator over 30 years experience.
Teaching Physical Education, STEAM/STEM/STREAM
Past Professor with Edward Waters College teaching
Educational Technology, Social Media and STEAM
A national and international blogger and advocate
for WordCamp as a blogger, volunteer, speaker and
organizer.
Hashtag #MyQuestToTeach
20181007_114234

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January 19, 2018

Why Families Should Visit the Orlando Science Center

Filed under: Education,STEAM and STEM — William Jackson @ 12:30
Tags: , , , , , ,

family time
Why Families Should Visit the Orlando Science Center

by William Jackson and Aida Correa
@wmjackson @laphoneix

The visit at the Orlando Science Center (OSC) was
one of the highlights for our family during the winter
school break. A great period for family time, learning,
participation in activities that were fun, educational
and creating “ah ha” moments. There were many
instances that highlighted the day included those
below.

1. The interactive play areas at OSC are fun and educational.
They have the family involved and engaged.
2. OSC embraces the STEAM educational initiative
that 21st century careers demand.
3. OSC embraces the diversity of cultures visiting
the center with a welcoming atmosphere.
4. The presenters of the programs are knowledgeable,
engaging and entertaining.
5. The building and infrastructure is inviting and
sensory stimulating. The visuals are colorful.
6. Families are welcomed and assisted by the staff.
7. There are opportunities for children to be
involved in multiple activities that require different
skills.
8. Children with disabilities are welcomed and
supported.
9. The facility is clean and well maintained.
10. Families with autistic or special needs will
find activities that are hands on and stimulate,
but not overly excite the senses.
I (Aida) would like to add a few additional points
to this list that, as a mom, I noticed.
11. The OSC has something for everyone in the family.
As William mentioned above, we had as much fun as
the kids did.  What he didn’t mention, however is that
one of the kids is 9 and the other is in college yet,
they both enjoyed themselves. There is even a
section of the museum set-up exclusively for
children 7 and under.  Knowing that there is something
for everyone can be a stress reliever when trying
to find something to do with the whole family.
12.  Along the lines of “something for everyone,”
the exhibits varied. There were dinosaurs in one
exhibit, complete with animatronics and a
fossil dig in one area and a complete
gingerbread village in another area, which I
thought was wonderful. Also, while everyone else
was enjoying the show on space, my little one
was having a go at being a weather forecaster –
so no one was “bored.”
13. The exhibits change.  While we were there
we noticed some areas blocked off in preparation
of new exhibits, which made us decide that we
need to come again and check them out.
14. There’s plenty of interaction.
As William mentioned above, there are plenty of
interactive activities throughout the entire museum.
We cut out paper snowflakes, jumped in the
hurricane simulator, “dug” for fossils and so much
more.
15. Location and practicality.  Firstly the OSC is
conveniently located and offers plenty of parking.
We also noticed that in same location as the OSC,
there are other centers and museums we can check
out during future visits. As for practicality, there is
a cafeteria located on the ground floor of the museum
and there are plenty of restrooms.
16. The cost is reasonable.  While the regular cost is
fairly reasonable, check out their website for
additional discounts you may be eligible for.

Activities from the hurricane simulator, to the
dinosaur discovery, to the high tech presentation
about our solar system provide unique learning.
There is evidence of STEM, STEAM and even STREAM
learning. Aida and I (well past our teen years) had a
wonderful experience, not just watching
our girls, but participating with them as well.
Family time is about enjoying the experience
together and building lasting memories.
The OSC employs traditional and hands on
activities that allow for touching (tactile)
stimulation, video and auditory presentations.
Visual acuity and auditory sensory experiences
are not overwhelmed. The VR or virtual reality
provides a full range of learning.
Parents take the time to schedule family
time and arrive early enough to have
children participate in a rich learning
environment. There is plenty to do see,
hear, learn and experience.
Resources:
Orlando Science Center – http://www.osc.org

 

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