Integrate Technology to Improve Interest in STEM

Are your students lagging in science? You’re not alone. According to the results of a recent NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) exam, seven out of ten US eighth-graders are not considered proficient in science. Additionally, only two percent scored high enough to indicate they have the advanced knowledge that could lead to a job in the field.

While the average score increased from 2009 results, the difference is marginal. In 2009, students received an average score of 150 on the exam. In the most recent results, the average rose to 152.

teacher chemistry 300x199 Integrate Technology to Improve Interest in STEM

If this teacher integrated technology into her classroom, she could expect to see student interest and retention improve.

While the results of the test, which measures student’s knowledge of earth, life, physical and space science, leave much to be desired, there is hope. Introducing technology into the classroom has proven to provide a substantial boost in student’s interest and retention in science as well as math.

Students in classes where technology is used to support learning show a greater interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). When exposed to technology in class, 27 percent of students show an interest in STEM careers, compared to only 20 percent of students in classes with little to no technology use.

There are many ways to integrate technology into daily classroom activities. When introducing a new subject, a video can be show to clearly demonstrate what the class will be covering and give the students a basis for understanding the following lecture. Videos can also be used to demonstrate complex concepts or demonstrate experiments that are too risky to complete in class.

Incorporating educational based games into classroom activities allow students to learn without realizing they are doing so. For schools with iPads, onlineuniversities.com has compiled a list of what they believe are the 50 best iPad apps for STEM education. See the list here.

Additionally, technology can be used to encourage student collaboration by making it easy for them to share ideas and work. Students can work together to research a hypothesis they create, or they can create their own video explaining the outcomes of their research.

According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are expected to be 2 million STEM related jobs by 2014. Currently, thousands of jobs requiring technical STEM skills are left vacant because there are not enough skilled workers to fill these positions. By sparking enthusiasm for these careers at an early age, we may be able to turn the future of this county around. If something as simple as incorporating technology in the classroom can improve student achievement and interest in STEM subjects, then we should all work towards making technology available to every student in every class.

What ways have you found to effectively integrate technology into STEM classes?

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