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STEM News Roundup: Reflecting on STEM in 2015

STEM News Round-Up: Reflecting on STEM in 2015

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning continued to dominate the education conversation since its first introduction in the early 2000s.

Every week this year, Education World provided its audience with a roundup of STEM news for that particular week, highlighting the efforts of everyone involved--from schools to communities to global organizations to individuals.

We reflect on the big news to come out of STEM education in 2015 and speculate on what 2016 might hold for the movement.

Non-Profit Continued Efforts to Train 100,000 STEM Teachers by 2021

This year, the nonprofit 100Kin10 continued to train teachers in order to reach its goal of getting 100,000 teachers in STEM by 2021. The organization has already helped almost 30,000 teachers get into the movement thus far.

To add to its ramped-up efforts, in late September, the nonprofit successfully closed a funding round where it was able to raise $6 million for its cause, adding to $80 million in funding raised prior, said

This funding will help the organization continue its partnerships to aim for its goal in 2016. 

Read the full story

Online Global Competition United the World in Learning

In October, 30,000 in 200 countries participated in math, literacy and science education games to participate in the world’s largest education competition.

The competition reached 5 million kids, all for no charge and was designed for students of all ages and abilities. The next World Education Games will take place in 2017.

Read the full story.

Hour of Code Used Popular Themes to Inspire Record Coding Participation

This year, many education experts touted the importance of learning code for all students in some capacity. 

One movement helping students learn code is the annual Hour of Code event coordinated with Computer Science Education Week sponsored by

Using Star Wars, Minecraft and Frozen themed tutorials, the event was available in 40 different languages to help it be a globally participated in event.

As a result, this year’s third annual Hour of Code was the most participated event yet.

The organization hopes that what is being called one of the world’s largest learning events will help inspire interest in computer science, especially since many schools struggle to find the resources to provide computer science classes to students.

Certainly, it will have a big year to top for the fourth annual Hour of Code in 2016.

Read the full story.

Maker Movement Kept Moving Forward

2015 solidified that the maker movement is here to stay.

We reported in October on Dr. Jackie Goldstein’s reasoning on why the maker movement will be a tool to get students into STEM for years to come.

Thanks to an increased focus on STEM education combined with affordable maker technologies such as 3D printers ( a hot holiday gift this year as well,) more and more schools are investing into makerspaces for their students to utilize.

The bottom line is that educators both in formal and informal settings would be foolish not to take advantage of this perfect storm of maker education resources, tools, and strategies that currently exist,” Goldstein said.

If you haven’t embraced the maker movement in your classroom yet this year, 2016 might be a good year to get started as technology becomes more available and open educational resources more abundant.

Read the full story.

Experts Continued Research on Getting Girls, Minorities into STEM

With an increased focus on STEM, so is increased the focus on helping girls and minorities get into the male-dominated fields.

This year, Ohio State University launched a national four-year study to study the role of spatial training on encouraging girls to enter STEM.

“[G]irls are a huge part of the study. Separate studies have hypothesized that early men, evolving into their societal roles as hunters, demonstrate a preclusion toward spatial awareness where women, shuffled into gatherer roles, gained a natural proclivity for recognizing and remembering food sources,” the researchers said to the Hillsdale Daily News.

Aside from groundbreaking research, STEM-focused schools were also shown this year to help increase participation for female and minority students.

Education Week reported a study that STEM-focused schools provide special benefits for female and minority students, helping both to "perform better in STEM than non-STEM high schools, even after accounting for prior student achievement." 

STEM Picked up STEAM

In addition to an increased focus on STEM, many education advocates help drive support for encouraging STEAM- or the addition of Arts into STEM learning.

This year saw education experts and legislators pushing for STEAM to be the focus of school curriculums across the nation.

"In one North Dakota school district, "students have explained math concepts by building a life-size pyramid through STEAM Team, a three-year program offered through the state arts council that provides resources, funding and professional development for teachers,” Education World reported in April.

And with the new education legislation the Every Student Succeeds Act passed in December, a pivotal amendment was added in support of STEAM, meaning 2016 could very well be the year of STEAM. 

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Read about the latest news in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Read about the latest news in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
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