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University Takes Fresh Approach to STEM Education For Future Teachers

The University of Jamestown’s newly installed SmartLab is bringing STEM education into the mix of their Teacher Education Department. As a required course, future teachers become fully certified SmartLab facilitators, something they can boast on their resume after graduation. In an interview with Dr. Leann Nelson, the Teacher Education Department chair, says that none of these future teachers will “teach” in the SmartLab, they allow the students to take responsibility of their next generation learning. Nelson says, “the SmartLab is where students explore STEM and media arts through applied technology and project-based learning”. Nelson further explains how the students can develop something in a fully integrated learning environment that includes furniture, technology, curriculum and assessment to support hands on and minds on learning with up to date technology. Nelson says there is a growing need for technology education.

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North Dakota Partnership Brings STEM Education to Rural Schools

The North Dakota Center for Distance Education (NDCDE) is partnering with Creative Learning Systems(CLS) to bring STEM centers and STEAM programs into rural schools. Over the last two years CLS and NDCDE have worked together to launch twelve programs in rural North Dakota schools. Plans for similar STEM programs in other ND schools are currently in development. These programs bring next-generation STEM education to students. As a result, students all over North Dakota have the opportunity to explore leading-edge technologies while building critical 21st century skills.

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New STEAM Education Labs in Southern California Catholic School

What's a SmartLab? Director of Technology, Beth Thomas, described them as "Learning playgrounds for the students." 

St. Junipero Serra Catholic School in Rancho Margarita, California held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new SmartLab STEAM centers at the beginning of the month. The newly built Student Creation and Leadership Center at Junipero Serra features a STEAM lab for elementary students and a STEAM lab for middle school students. 

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Elementary STEAM Teacher Named STEAM Educator of the Year!

Heather Gibson, Facilitator at Prairie Wind Elementary School in Gillette Wyoming, has been named STEAM Elementary Educator of the Year by the Wyoming Department of Education. 

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Bank Sponsors Huge STEM Lab and Broadcast Studio in Indiana Middle School

“We’re trying to teach kids to think creatively and problem solve, as well as using 21st century skills”  

Bill Welling, Chief Academic Officer – School City of Mishawaka

To support Bill Welling's goals, a regional bank, Teacher’s Credit Union (TCU), has agreed to pay $30,000 per year for exclusive naming rights to the new SmartLab at John Young Middle School in Mishawaka Indiana. The TCU Innovation Lab at John Young Middle School officially opened with the start of school on August 14th.

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SmartLab Students Recognized by State Legislature for STEM Projects

Students from James Hart Middle School in Homewood District 153, were celebrated in the Illinois state capitol last week!

Students Aaron Latman, Jessica Lyseng and Ellie Wojcikowski, along with SmartLab Facilitator Cheri Pesina, were invited to present STEM projects at the Tech 2018 Illinois program. 

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How to Prepare Today’s Elementary Students For Tomorrow's STEM Careers

What do data scientists, social media managers, and sustainability managers all have in common?

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How a Pennsylvania School Engages Girls In STEM Education

How can schools engage more girls in STEM education? It’s a question asked by schools throughout the country across the full socioeconomic and demographic spectrum. And for good reason. While women make up roughly half of the U.S. workforce, more than 75% of STEM careers are held by men. 

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South Dakota Middle School Learns Next Generation Skills with STEM Activities

“Twenty-five years ago, computer class consisted of not much more than typing practice and playing Oregon Trail. Today, students are programming robots, making movies, building cars, composing ringtones and a lot more in SmartLab.” 

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Best Practices in Project-Based Learning for STEM Education

Does project-based learning play a role in your school or district educational mission? It should, because project-based learning is a highly effective approach to connect academic content with critical workplace skills like collaboration, communication and problem-solving. But what is considered project-based learning? Here’s a paragraph from a thoughtful article I recently read that examines that question:

“Broadly speaking, project-based learning is simply a method of structuring curriculum around projects. These projects highlight the process of learning itself by offering authentic, inquiry-based activities for learners to access content, share ideas, and revisit their own thinking.”

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