Top 10 STEM Education News Articles of 2018

By Maggie O'Brien

We've reviewed articles on STEM education and project-based learning (PBL) throughout the year and took note of the stories we found exceptionally inspiring and educational. Below are our favorite articles and some of the most highly read in 2018. Topics range from research reports to feature stories about new STEM and PBL initiatives in schools.

These articles support Defined STEM’s mission of assisting students in developing the critical 21st-century skills they need to succeed in college, career, and life.

Top STEM Education and PBL News Stories of 2018:

I Was A Bad Student Who Became an Astronaut. Let’s Stop Telling People They Can’t Be Good at Science
This was the most highly read article on STEM education in 2018 —shared across social media over 31.8K times.    
TIME
Since I’ve returned from spending a year in space, I’ve been traveling the world sharing my experiences. I’ve been surprised by one of the things I’ve heard from audiences: that they believe science is too difficult, too complex for a normal person to comprehend. Apparently, over one-third of the world thinks I’m a genius because according to the 3M State of Science Index, 36% of people around the globe think you need to be a genius in order to have a career in science. I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Read more…

Can Schools Change Measures of Success by Focusing on Meaningful Work Instead of Test Scores?
Kqed | Mindshift
PHILADELPHIA — In a city that’s struggled to meet the educational needs of many of its children, especially its most vulnerable ones, a select group of district high schools is shunning the traditional classroom model in which teachers dispense knowledge from the front of the room and measure progress with tests. Instead, the schools have adopted an approach that’s become increasingly popular among education advocates and funders: project-based learning. Read more…

Boosting Student Engagement Through Project-Based Learning
Edutopia
Taji Allen-Sanchez, a sixth- and seventh-grade science teacher at San Francisco’s Aptos Middle School, is one of a growing number of teachers who believe that traditional methods of teaching aren’t preparing students for life beyond school. Lectures and direct instruction can be used to convey information to students, but they don’t enhance skills like teamwork, problem solving, and curiosity that employers are increasingly looking for. Read more…

How we developed a personalized PBL model for STEM
eSchool News
How can schools and districts prepare students for college and careers in STEM? Is it by asking them to passively read a textbook or listen to a teacher lecture? Or is it by challenging them to actively engage in projects that attempt to solve real-world problems?
In Harmony Public Schools in Texas, we want students to become active learners, problem solvers, and STEM advocates. We want to increase their knowledge, skills, and interest in STEM, and balance student-centered teaching with state and national standards. To do this, we developed a personalized project-based learning (PBL) model called STEM Students on the Stage (SOS)™. Read more…

Commentary: Where STEM Context and Careers Meet
U.S. News & World Report
STEM JOBS REPRESENT ONE of the fastest-growing opportunities in our economy, leaping past other careers. These jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields often pay better than other jobs for workers with the same level of education, and there is a shortage of young people pursuing these paths, in the public and private sectors. Despite all of these reasons to pursue a STEM degree, a recent Pew Research Center survey found, “only a third of workers (33%) ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field.” With a network of 20,000-plus schools throughout North America, EVERFI delivers digital resources that help teachers equip students with the skills they need to succeed. Read more…

3 Strategies to keep students engaged in STEM
eSchool News
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is more than just an acronym or a collection of letters. Rather, it is an instructional movement that embodies cross-curricular concepts from four fundamental disciplines, as well as a research-based strategy that addresses the future needs of a technology-driven work force and sustaining a global economy. Read more…

Ensuring that PBL is Accessible to All
Edutopia
Project-based learning (PBL) continues to gain momentum as a powerful approach to teaching and learning, and for good reason. Research indicates that when implemented well, PBL improves student motivation and achievement, and helps students master skills that are essential for college and career readiness. Read more…

Four Inquiry Qualities At The Heart of Student-Centered Teaching
Mindshift
Whether it be project-based learning, design thinking or genius hour, it's easy to get confused by the many education buzzwords floating about. But at their heart these pedagogies are all student-centered and there are commonalities across them that are the key to their success and far more critical than keeping the jargon straight. Read more…

Early STEM Exposure Through Career-Focused PBL
eSchool News
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is most effective when students understand how these concepts apply in the real world. Learning how actual scientists, engineers, and other professionals use STEM concepts to solve complex problems helps bring these ideas to life and answers the age-old question, “Why do we have to learn this?” Read more…

Career-Focused PBL
Edutopia
In Kankakee, Illinois, students begin exploring future careers as soon as they start kindergarten. By engaging in project-based learning units that have a strong career focus, students experience education through the eyes of landscape architects, lawyers, culinary artists, entrepreneurs, and more. “We want them to start thinking early about opportunities,” says Kankakee superintendent Genevra Walters, “and understand the connection between what they’re doing in school and their long-term goals.” Since becoming superintendent in 2014, Walters has been redesigning the K–12 system so that all children have access to education that prepares them for the future. Read more…


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