“We begin to change the world when we stimulate long-term prosperity using technology. There is not a problem that’s large enough that innovation and entrepreneurship can’t solve.” – Naveen Jain
This quote wasn’t written specifically about Fab Labs, but it could have been. Entrepreneurship, innovation and technology are all at the heart of any Fabrication Lab. - Interior Concepts
Learn more about why Fab Labs are an essential part of STEM education, and how you can implement one in your school. Visit Interior Concepts blog post for inspiration:
<Source: Interior Concepts>
Classroom furniture used to mean student desks with arms on them, arranged any way the teacher wanted on a particular day. (Some days they were in rows, some days in a circle!) We never used to give classroom design much thought or consideration. But, with studies coming out about the importance of the classroom learning environment and the affect it can have on student performance, educators are giving more consideration to furniture design as part of their overall education strategy.
The right classroom design complements the right curriculum and enhances the student experience. We’ve done the research for you and developed a list of must-haves for the modern classroom.
Classroom Furniture Essentials:
Need ideas? Interior Concepts has put together a Slide Deck of the Top 10 STEM Lab Designs. This presentation includes configuration suggestions and materials appropriate for different room functions.
Moss is your one-stop-shop for affordable, reliable, durable classroom furniture. Our Education Specialists can help you customize a furniture solution right for your district.
It’s 2015 – the “future” that Back to the Future dreamed about almost 30 years ago. While we don’t have hover boards or self-lacing tennis shoes, we have made some important advances – especially in the classroom. No class has changed more over the last 30 years than Career and Technical Education.
In 1985, Career and Technical Education would have been known as “wood shop” or “metals” or “shop class.” In 2015, CTE classrooms have taken a decidedly different spin – and are a vital part of today’s education. So, what will CTE education look like in the next 30 years?
Emphasis on Technology
In the next 30 years, CTE will rely more heavily on technology – whether computer coding, robotics, or drafting work, technology will play a significant role in technical education. Hands on will always be important, but the way we deliver hands on education are changing today. In 30 years, we will rely more on 3D virtual reality for our education, where students will be able to learn a wider variety of subjects with a single piece of technology. (The future is closer than we think - check out zSpace for next level technology!)
In the next 30 years, 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) will be more prominent when designing and developing new models. Students will be familiar with computer design, and have a greater understanding of how math and visual design work together in the design process. Educators will place a greater emphasis on building knowledge and skills early. In the future, math skills will not only be taught in math class, but taught in the CTE wing as well. As a result, students will have a greater understanding of the hands on applications of math (and other STEM subjects).
A Greater Umbrella
Gone are the days when “CTE” refers only to wood shop. As Career and Technical Education transforms, so do the classes in the CTE wing: CTE can refer to computer programming, to welding, to Business and Marketing, Family and Consumer Science, or Renewable Energy education. In the future, CTE will take on a greater emphasis in career planning and education, making education more customized and efficient for all students. Many schools are already encouraging students to take classes in the CTE wing because it encourages K-12 students to prepare for careers after high school.
Through the Test of Time
Some technologies are tried and true – and the skills will always be relevant. Skills like welding, laser cutting and engraving, and industrial certification training will stand the test of time. These skills will remain relevant, even though techniques will evolve as the need for these skills changes.
Do you need help bringing your CTE programs into the future? Are you looking for ideas to bring your current program into the 21st Century? Our Secondary Education Specialist is here to help – Contact Dan Sorenson for tools and ideas.
In what ways is 3D design and printing beneficial to student learning? Based on what teachers from around the globe are saying, working with 3D:
Your students have something to say about the direction their education is taking. Believe it – more students are taking an active role in crafting the direction of their training opportunities. Your students want to tell you a few things about the curriculum you choose.
In this fast-paced, high-tech, consumer-driven world, students want to know that what they are learning today will be relevant in the real world. They also care about HOW they learn, and how you could make it better for them. (Here’s a hint: they prefer simulators in most situations!) Here are the top six things they have to say:
“We learn just as effectively on a simulator as we do on the real thing.”
Many educators worry that simulators aren’t life-like, and won’t provide adequate training for real situations. However, simulators have taken a page from the gaming industry and have built better graphics into modern-day simulators, making the simulations more true and engaging than ever before. Need proof? Check out the simulation on SimLog’s Forklift series here.
“We need your feedback more than ever.”
Whether you are using a welding simulator, a heavy equipment simulator, or something to teach pneumatics, simulation can play a key role in the education process. As an educator, you can identify specific opportunities for improvement at the spot where the student missed the target. Often, you can download a record of the simulation and coach directly to a student’s need.
“We will be more engaged with the use of technology.”
Integrating technology into the classroom drives engagement. Students today have grown up with laptops, smart phones, and mobile devices. They learn through the use of technology – classrooms are adapting to suit the way students learn benefits the student’s final outcomes.
“The same tool can be used with multiple students.”
Every educator is looking for a cost-effective way to replicate the same education from student to student. Furnishing each student with one-and-done supplies gets costly, and takes up storage space that a lot of schools don’t have. Tools like zSpace and CyberScience allow you to replicate the same dissection for multiple students – without sourcing dissection materials for each student.
“We still get the hands on experience.”
Many schools are afraid that the hands on experience will be lost with simulation software. However, the opposite is the case – when a school uses simulation software to teach the fundamentals, they can provide a much more meaningful experience for students who pursue advanced coursework.
“We get it – budgets are tight.”
Simulators are cost-effective – meaning that they can produce results with a much price tag. Students pursuing a variety of subject matters, though, can benefit from cost-effective simulation. From science to heavy machinery, there are simulators appropriate for the inquiring student, and can positively affect student outcomes. Simulators provide a more cost-effective, more sustainable alternative to the old methods.
Ready to investigate? Check out Moss' cost-effective simulation options:
Have you used simulation in your classroom? Tell us about it in the comments section!
The U.S. Department of Education reports PD can enhance student performance by as much as 21 percentile points. Not all Professional Development is created equal – PD is designed to address specific classroom needs, as well as specific educational content. How can you be sure that the PD is appropriate, and will achieve the end result (driving student performance)? We have a few keys to keep in mind when choosing or designing PD.
Professional Development – Types Matter:
· Content Delivery – Options range from online to hands-on (and everything in between). For a successful PD session, blend pedagogy and hands-on applications so educators can build their confidence in delivering content to their students. Teachers will develop confidence for the content they will be leading their students through in classroom settings.
· Professional Workshops – who delivers the content in your district PD sessions? Bringing in a content or curriculum professional can help teachers make connections they might not otherwise make. If you are looking for ideas (without the sales pitch) check out Pitsco’s STEM PD.
· Product Workshops – when you bring new tools into the classroom, learning the ins and outs of the tool is key. But Professional Development should take it one step further and introduce best practices that will ultimately improve the student experience. This is why so many of our partners (including zSpace) offer ongoing staff development specific to their education solution.
· Make Time – don’t expect to cover every topic in one session. Successful PD happens over multiple sessions when teachers can absorb, implement and ask thoughtful questions.
There are countless resources available when it comes to Professional Development. Edutopia shared a great piece titled How Strong is Your PD Kung Fu? that shared tips for finding PD for new teachers. What are your go-to tips for successful PD?
Need help getting started? Moss offers Professional Development Opportunities from our partners, experts in curriculum delivery. Opportunities range from on-site consultation and classes to workshops to webinars and seminars. We can help you find the right fit.
Could your classroom use a financial boost? Are you looking for funds to add a new tool to your classroom? Does your school or your classroom need extra financial backing to go from “good” to “great”? You’re definitely not alone! The best classroom tools are out of reach for many schools without the means to pay for them.
We’ve scoured the internet for best grant and funding websites and came up with a list of grant programs designed exclusively for educators. The following are our favorite grant resources:
8 Grant and Funding Resources for your Classroom*
1. The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources – Edutopia created this roundup of educational grants, contests, awards, free toolkits, and classroom guides aimed at helping students, classrooms, schools, and communities. The list is updated weekly, so check back often!
2. Grants.gov – this website has a searchable list of grant opportunities. Users can filter the search criteria to find grants right for their school or project. Simply click on the “Search Grants” tab at the top of the page to get started.
3. GrantsAlert.com – this website is designed specifically to connect educators with available grant money. Users can search geographically, by types of grants, and the date added. The website also connects users with professional grant writers that can assist with the applications.
4. The NEA Foundation – the NEA Foundation’s goal is to strengthen teaching and learning opportunities. In addition to sharing best practices with educators, they provide links to funding opportunities on both a state and national level.
5. Grants for Teachers – this website arranges grant opportunities by subject matter, from Professional Development grants to STEM grants, Classroom Enrichment and Student Achievement.
6. Teachers Count – this website arranges grant opportunities by subject matter. If you are looking for subject-specific grant information, this is a great resource.
7. Classroom Technology Grants – this is a list 7 ways to secure technology funds for your classroom.
Career and Technical Education Grants
8. CTE Funding – the Association for Career and Technical Education has a list of CTE-specific funds for schools looking to bolster technical education programs.
This list is the tip of the iceberg – there are thousands of grant and funding opportunities, from local, statewide and national sources. The funds are there -- be creative when searching for funding opportunities.
We’d like to hear from you: Do you have any sure-fire grant writing tips? Leave them in the comments, below!
*These are grant and funding opportunities, and by no means a guarantee of funding award.
STEM classrooms are different – not only in coursework, but in educational outcomes. These classrooms rely less on memorization and more on critical thinking skills. When you visit a STEM classroom it just feels different – more alive, more energized, more like what you would expect.
Five Key Components of a Successful STEM Classroom:
Engaged Students – when students are engaged, they exhibit a higher level of critical thinking and content is not only memorized, but mastered. Timothy Huneycutt suggests in the National Math + Science Initiative Blog that creating a classroom where students are independently thinking in the classroom is the key to long term success.
Project Based Learning – For many students, doing is the key to understanding AND retaining the information. Solid curriculum incorporates all learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) to address the learning styles of all students.
Age Appropriate Curriculum – the building blocks of scientific inquiry are built in elementary classes, and build in middle school, though high school and post-secondary education. The right curriculum challenges students at every level, adding to previously mastered topics. Need an example? Pitsco Education has developed age appropriate curriculum for every age level.
Career Focused – it’s never too early to start incorporating the real-world into the classroom. Real world applications will create connections for the student; they will never again need to ask “when will I ever use this in the REAL WORLD?” because every lesson will reinforce that (and make the lesson more tangible to the student).
Flexible – high performance STEM classrooms all have classrooms that are designed for discovery and facilitate the lessons. Furniture becomes part of the teaching tool kit. Desks are mobile, table tops double as white boards for doodling and notes. Interior Concepts provides photos of the most popular room designs in this slide deck.
What works well in your classroom? What tools and ideas are you excited to incorporate?
You have questions about STEM education? You're not alone! We're here to share ideas and provide thought-provoking commentary. Let us know your thoughts!