Bringing The “T” From STEM In Your Lessons
STEM is considered one of the most important curriculums in education. It’s an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. And many people believe these four disciplines are the cornerstones of a successful future. And that means educators who incorporate STEM in their lessons are important!
But you don't need to be a STEM-only educator to teach these concepts. In fact, you can easily integrate STEM into any lesson, no matter what the subject is. Today, we'll show you how to do just that. Specifically, we'll focus on the "technology" part of STEM.
How To Add STEM Technology Lessons To Your Classroom
Introduce the technology topic
You can start by asking your students what they think technology is.
Let them brainstorm. And then write down their responses on the board or a piece of paper. Then, explain that technology is anything that humans use to make their lives easier, better, or more fun.
Start with examples they can relate to, such as a computer, smartphone, or video game. Then ask them to name other examples of technology, such as a TV remote, an oven, or a car. You can also show them pictures or videos of different types of technology to help them understand the idea.
Once you've defined technology, it'll be easier to identify how it's used in class and society as a whole.
Reveal how technology is used in class
Now that you've defined technology, it's time to show your students how it's applied in class.
This will be more of an ongoing conversation than a one-time lesson. By constantly bringing attention to it, you'll help your students see how important technology is in their education. Over time, they'll start to recognize all the technology they use on a daily basis, both inside and outside of school.
Some examples of technology you can point out in class are:
- The projector
- The computer
- The internet
Make sure to point out items that aren't normally considered technology as well. For example, a chair is a type of "sitting technology." Or a pencil is a type of "writing technology." By showing your students that anything can be considered technology, you'll help them see how common it really is.
And if you know it, you can also discuss the history of the technology you're using. For instance, you can talk about how the projector was invented and how it's changed over time. This will help your students understand how technology evolves. And why it's important to use the latest and greatest version.
Have students "improve" a technology
One of the best ways to teach students about technology (and their development) is to have them "improve" existing technology.
This can be done as a class or in small groups. First, choose a technology that's common in your classroom, such as a pencil sharpener or stapler. Then, give your students a chance to brainstorm ways to improve it.
They could focus on realistic improvements like making a pencil sharpener that's quieter. Or a stapler that's easier to use. Or they could come up with more creative or off-the-wall solutions, like a stapler that also dispenses candy or a pencil sharpener that can be used as a phone charger. This will make the lesson a lot more fun so don’t skip it!
After they've had a chance to brainstorm, have them vote on the best ideas and then create blueprints (i.e. drawings) of their designs. Finally, have them present their designs to the class. This will not only show your students how important technology is, but it'll also help them develop the mindset of "improvement" that's so important in the STEM technology field.
Technology is all around us and it's important to show students how to use it and why it matters. By following the tips above, you'll be well on your way to incorporating technology into your classroom in a way that's both fun and educational.
By the way, computers are one of the most important technologies out there. In fact, you're likely using one right now to read this very article. So why not help your students use this technology more effectively by improving their typing skills? They can use the programs over at KeyboardingOnline to practice their typing skills in class. And who knows, they might just thank you for it later!