What if you are an experienced science teacher but you have limited knowledge of engineering? Or you are an administrator looking for the most qualified person to fill a vacancy in your STEM lab? What if you are a preservice teacher and are interested in being certified in STEM? These are just a few of the many questions pondered by attendees of the 6th Annual STEM Forum & Expo hosted by NSTA (the National Science Teachers Association) this past July in Kissimmee, Florida. For those with similar questions and concerns, let this blog and future blogs by STEM leaders help answer your questions and quell some of your concerns.
Mayor Jose Alvarez proclaimed July 10–16 STEM Education Week in Kissimmee, Florida; thus, setting the stage for the 2017 STEM Forum and Expo. The nation’s top STEM organizations, along with their members, gathered to learn, network, and tackle issues dealing with STEM education locally, nationally, and globally. On the first night, attendees were able to hear about STEM certification from the leaders of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and STEMx, managed by Battelle.
— Michael Feder (@mfeder185) July 12, 2017
The panel weighed in on questions like
- How specialized do we need to be as STEM educators?
- STEM specialists are really in a leadership role…what would that look like across states?
- What makes up a good STEM program?
- Is high-quality mathematic and science education the same as high-quality STEM education?
- How do we get the most qualified teacher to teach STEM classes?
- Does STEM certification help break us out of the box?
While this panel was insightful and stimulating to everyone in attendance, it was only heard by our attendees. These questions are pondered daily by educators around our schools and around our country. STEM education is a vital component to workforces development and economic growth in the United States, and worldwide. In the coming months, the leaders from these leading STEM organizations will be posting blogs here with their responses to these questions along with their insight and expertise into STEM education. Please subscribe to the conferences category at http://nstacommunities.org/blog/subscribe/ to get updates as these blogs are posted. Join us as we bring these expert voices in STEM education together to ponder and wrestle with these issues. Consider adding your thoughts about STEM certification in the comments below. As we tackle this issue and others like it, the steering committee for the STEM Forum & Expo will be building the program for the 7th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA, to be held July 11–13, 2018, in Philadelphia, PA. It is my hope that you will join our online community along with attending next summer’s STEM Forum & Expo.
Jennifer Williams, chair of the 2017 STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA, is in her nineteenth year of teaching STEM at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. As the Lower School Science department chair and STEM Coordinator, she provides leadership in the development of quality instruction within the Lower School STEM program for grades Pre-Kindergarten through 5th.
Future NSTA Conferences
2017 Area Conferences
2017 Discover the NGSS “Train the Trainer” Workshops
2017 NGSS Administrator Institute
2018 National Conference