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Continuing the Conversation... What Does STEM Look Like?

Guest blogger: Mike Gorman

STEM activities took a different approach in the afternoon with some practical ideas from Chris Lehman, the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive science and technology high school in Philadelphia, PA. This school is an inquiry-driven, project-based, 1:1 laptop school that is a pioneer in the school 2.0 movement. Chris opened with a genuine sense of empathy for students and educators. He related that the real paradox for education is authentic learning that students should be engaged with, in a contrast to current assessment practice. He was diligent in stating that educators must have vision, be teachers of kids not content, support inquiry, make education student centered, act as student mentors, include community, model passion, integrate curriculum through-out the school day, and practice mega-cognition. He emphasized that the final goal of education should be that students become thoughtful, passionate,wise, and kind. He challenged the STEM educators to answer the hard questions by determining the worst consequences of the best idea. Chris left the group with the goals to dream big and empower kids, after all, “It is their education* it will be their world.

The STEM educators were then challenged to understand the difference between CBL and PBL with the guidance of Julene Reed, Director of Academic Technology of St. George’s Independent School in Collierville, TN and Apple Distinguished Educator. Julia stated that Challenge Base learning must fit all standards, be scalable, not overwhelming, be built using existing time schedules, not REQUIRE high tech, and require teacher interaction. She fascinated the audience with tales about her work with students and educators across the world and her position as director of Polar Bears International’s “Tundra Connections”. Julia emphasized that video conferencing is invaluable to students and should involve not just connecting with experts, but also other students around the world. She facilitated a culminating activity that encouraged networking, collaboration, and engagement* qualities important to today’s 21st Century classroom.

The day was far from over, as the STEM Institute participants next boarded buses for a trip to the White House Information Center in Washington DC.

Posted on August 4, 2010 by Michael Gorman

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Meet the Contributors

Mike Gorman

Mike is an advocate for transforming education and bringing 21st Century Skills to classrooms. He was awarded Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and honored as a Microsoft 365 Global Education Hero.
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Lance Rougeux

Lance has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was recently highlighted in The Emergency Teacher, a book about urban teaching.
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Kyle Schutt

Kyle has worked with educators throughout the country to help them better understand how technology and digital media can be used to support instruction, motivate students, and increase passion for learning.
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