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"STEM" - What do you think?

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by Moomin Troll, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Moomin Troll

    Moomin Troll New commenter

    I currently run an Undergraduate Teacher Training course in Design and Technology with QTS. In the forthcoming year we will be going through a process of revalidation where the content of the degree itself will be changed / updated and modified. To that extent I would be interested in hearing peoples opinions on "STEM". The reason being that currently the government is placing great store in the ability of STEM to get the country back on its feet - or at least that's what I assume by ring fencing the funding for STEM subjects at degree level (outside of education that is). So consequently, is that something that I, as a teacher educator, need to be explicitly considering in designing and delivering teacher training for the next generation of D&T teachers?

    So if you have a few more moments to spare and are interested in expressing an opinion - please do so here
  2. go on then, enlighten us....
  3. Moomin Troll

    Moomin Troll New commenter

    @the name is: Thanks for your comment, although I'm not sure to what you refer?If its the content of the survey / work, it looks like most respondents feel secure and comfortable teaching STEM as a topic once they have been in the job for 3+ years of more, also there are many ways in which it can be delivered. One of the issues seems to be the ability to combine all of the necessary STEM subjects into a single lesson / topic / project - and is this really necessary? It also appears that many people are using STEM as a methodology for delivering cross curricular links as a way of meeting that requirement in the KS3 National Curriculum..... and with regard to my original question: is it something that I need to incorporate into ITT courses? the answer is airing towards a no (although the data is only split 60% / 40% so far) BUT there needs to be a good strong focus on the promotion of cross curricular links to all subjects especially those under the STEM banner.
  4. Sorry I am becoming a grump in my old age.
    What does the acronym STEM stand for?
    There are so many I can't keep up-one of my pet hates -all of the acronyms used in education.
    That probably explains the lack of response so far.

    I will google it

  5. I filled out the survey and made a guess at the meanings, the issue is that there are SO many initiatives about what we should incorporate into our design lessons and too many acronyms used without full explanation. We already have numeracy+ literacy to highlight as well as the syllabus content to teach -but will of course incorporate"STEM" into our lessons if we are told to. The fact is we probably do it already, we just don't highlight the fact to students.
    Sorry if I come across as grumpy and negative- you can tell it's the first day back and yesterday's training day was focused on incorporating maths and literacy into our lessons- so why not one more subject?

  6. Moomin Troll

    Moomin Troll New commenter

    I think you're right - in my personal opinion D&T teachers do this already, in fact we're excellent at cross curricular links and always have been... even if we don't know it! It might be talking about the cost and source of a piece of hardwood from a rainforest, or the availability of seasonal food - or the fact that supermarkets and GM mean that it is possible to get most things all year round. We always use Mathematics - measuring / weighing and costing for example, we have our own terminology no mater what strand of D&T we teach, we can easily link much of what we teach to science. Then there is the history of technology / invention - even the industrial revolution. That's not even considering ICT where we use CAD/CAM extensively now.
  7. I don't think it's a lot of hot air!

    We got a lot of value out of STEM at my last school, encouraging afro-caribbean girls into an area that they wouldn't otherwise have had any knowledge of.

    And i think it's true, that we do already incorporate STEM into D&T lessons, just without highlighting it to students. I mean, after all, the 'T' in STEM stands for Technology, so...
  8. Moomin Troll

    Moomin Troll New commenter

    I agree with Philip - I think there's more to it than hot air! There are lots of funding opportunities for STEM, (not least of which there are things like STEMnet, STEM Ambassadors, Setpoint and the "Big Bang"). I would also add that most people think of science as the first subject and often (and in my opinion wrongly) this is where they stop thinking about STEM. I still feel that we do STEM very effectively in day to day lessons, its just that we don't label it as such!
  9. Agreed, D&T own the middle two letters. If we don't use the resources that are available then Science will grab them and as a core subject they will get priority. Maths are a bit behind (I teach Maths and there is little regard to the real world imho).
    We teach Science every time we heat something up, put together a circuit, use an egg or talk about different types of wood. We use maths everytime we weigh out or measure. We do this already so all we have to do is make a song and dance about it and it's ours. I have a display Board with STEM at the top and pictures of different Tech acticities and projects. I have joined the Young Engineers with my KS4 groups and had STEM ambassaders in for talks etc. It's all free and very worthwhile. I am going to use one of the free compeitions as a project for Yr10 engineering (AirBus flight of the Quail egg).
    The whole school know I do this and now they tend to ask me about STEM instead of going for the headlilne act of Science. Letters that arrive for STEM get put in my pigeon hole. Can't say the Head of Science is too impressed but hey! I get days out and loads of choce of activity. Might make a plaque for my door :-}
  10. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    I love STEM as a concept and its a nice source of some extra dosh but actually highlighting it in lessons i think, is a bit lame. I have the same opinion of PLTS ....

    "well done! you worked well in a group today"
    "did i??? oh yeah, was that when we did the group work sir???"

    Its an acronym to replace common sense and highlight to "the powers that be" that we know what we're doing and can justify ourselves in a very stuffy, management kind of way.
    STEM risks ending up the same way but i agree with Polly that as DT teachers we should lead this thing and not get gasumped by Science. Even if its just to ensure that money comes our way [​IMG]

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