New Orleans, Louisiana
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
Technological advancements over the last decade have dramatically changed the reality of the STEM professional world, the way STEM professionals work, and the skills that are now required. One of the major changes is that STEM professionals are working in teams, generally multicultural teams in the United States or global teams collaborating through technology. Today’s students—tomorrow’s workers— without ability to learn and work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and skills to function productively in an interdependent world community will not be able to improve the United States’ economic competitiveness, and provide leadership in innovation and creativity. The Global-STEM Classroom® reflects these rapid changes, addresses the new skill requirements, and provides innovative technology experiences for students and teachers by modeling authentic, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary collaborative, STEM professional teamwork processes.
The Global STEM Education Center, Inc 501 (c) (3) nonprofit founded in 2008 with a mission to “increase participation in STEM disciplines by all students and, especially girls and students from underrepresented groups, to meet the needs of an innovation-driven globally competitive workforce”. It involves a collaborative learning environment specific to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects. The Global STEM Classroom® implies creating virtual environment of one joint classroom where students from two or more schools in different countries receive instructions from one teacher as if they are in the same classroom (using both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning approaches). The participating schools are located in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Norway and the Netherlands (Australia, Ireland, India will be joining next academic year). The Global STEM Classroom® program specifically addresses secondary education with students ages 12-17 years old (more than 50% girls and students from underrepresented groups) giving students a learning advantage in preparation for higher education, raising an awareness of and “sparks” the interest in engineering professional and studying STEM disciplines and expands cultural and technical competency for the global workforce. The Global STEM Classroom® participants complete real-life STEM/engineering (both research and hands-on) projects with an online virtual global student team. The present study was undertaken to answer the following research question: What are the effects – cognitive, attitudinal, behavioral, and social – that can be reasonably attributed to participation in the Global STEM Classroom®. The research model was a within-group, change-over-time model and data collection relied largely upon pre-post survey findings to determine whether the Global STEM Classroom® was effective at meeting its declared objectives. The methods included an extensive online survey comprising the constructs embedded in the research question. Findings from the survey showed that:
Students chose to participate because they were motivated by the content, the possibility of collaborating internationally, or because they thought it would be good for their academic and future careers. Students most enjoyed the interactive aspects of the project. Students tended to use relatively simple and ubiquitous communication tools (e.g., Skype). Teachers were motivated by the professional development opportunities and by the idea that the project would be good for their students. Teachers also enjoyed the interactive aspects of participation, including the guest speakers (professional engineers and other STEM professionals)
The above findings, however preliminary, show that the Global STEM Classroom® holds a great deal of promise for a larger-scale rollout. The Global STEM Classroom® is able to tap into students motivations and provide them with meaningful and innovative educational experiences that appear to have exercised significant effects on learning, attitudes, and behavior. There are important aspects of future research that will need to be addressed, however, including: a more complete sample with a full description of the participants, an assessment tool for measuring both fidelity of implementation and extent of exposure, and more work on assessments of learning that are tied to the actual content of the (STEM/engineering) project.
Popov, V., & Schelkin, L. K., & Faux, R. (2016, June), Preparing globally competent and competitive STEM workforce of the 21st century in the Global STEM Classroom® Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana. https://peer.asee.org/27254
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