The National STEM Centre is based at the University of York and is managed by Myscience (an initiative of the While Rose and Sheffield Universities). Funding is supplied by the Department of Education and the Wellcome Trust. A number of programs and initiatives supporting STEM education operate from the centre.
Science Learning Centres
A national network of Science Learning Centres operates across the country offering over 60 programs supporting teacher professional learning and laboratory assistant training. Centres operate at local level through school and institution partnerships. Over 10000 TPL days have been delivered and the National Center offers onsite residential TPL with depth of course structure. Teachers complete pre-course activities and preparation, face to face sessions and project follow up. The center is staffed by teachers and others with engineering expertise.
The center hosts the largest onsite UK collection of STEM teaching and learning resources including print and multimedia materials, teaching resources and an archive of STEM material from recent decades. Over 23000 resources are available for inspection.
The elibrary offers access to over 8000 teaching and learning resources selected by STEM teacher experts at the Centre. Importantly the resources are of exception quality and are sourced from leading science publishers. The site offers primary maths and science portals and secondary portals in clearly arranged and easy to use content based themes. It is also possible to search by skill strands. A range of text, multimedia and interactive resources are available.
Free registration is required and any teacher can register for an account.
UK Curriculum – Computing
One of the interesting aspects of the UK visit has been to discuss changes to the national curriculum leading to the introduction of Computing as a K-12 subject. Previously the term ICT has been used however computing now encompasses, computer science, information technology and digital literacy. Computer science states that students ‘can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation’ and that students ‘…have repeated practical experience of writing programs in order to solve problems’
I believe that coding and programming offer a great opportunity to engage and enthuse students to understand the maths, logic and programming skills expected of 21st century citizens. By incorporating coding into the classroom be it stand alone or as part of PBL approach as in High Tech High, we are getting students to investigate in a hands-on fashion with clearly visible levels of success or failure.
Scratch, Beebots, Probots, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, MIT App developer, LEGO NXT and EV3 robotics, VEX robotics.