Online STEM learning refers to an interdisciplinary approach for the teaching of 4 disciplines in a virtual environment:
Abbreviation STEM means:
S – Science
This is because the role of the experts in these disciplines is pivotal in the growth of its economy. It has been acknowledged that STEM program learning gives an excellent opportunity to be a part of the much wanted future workforce. There is great scope of career options for experts in these disciplines.
In general STEM learning fosters the development of the following in the learners:
- Critical thinking
- Adaptation etc.
Additionally, it also makes them tech-savvy and innovative. It not only widens the career options for the students but also promotes well-rounded education.
With the revolution of fully online schools. High-quality teaching of STEM subjects is also taking place.
Looking at the dimensions of these STEM subjects, it is essential for online teachers to plan these subjects really well.
Once the online teacher chooses appropriate strategies and approaches, STEM learning can be as effective in virtual classes as in the traditional classroom settings.
Let’s Discuss Some Points That An Online Teacher Should Keep In Mind While Planning For STEM Subjects:
- Following the Inquiry-Based pedagogy well:
STEM learning is based on inquiry-based pedagogy and active learning:
Inquiry-based pedagogy places the ideas, queries and observations of the learner at the centre of the entire learning experience.
This makes the students more thoughtful, creative and motivated.
Online teachers plan their lessons in a manner that can implement inquiry-based pedagogy in virtual STEM learning by:
- Encouraging experimentation by the students.
- Focusing on teaching the students, how to apply their knowledge to derive conclusions or create connections.
- Constructing their own knowledge which helps in permanent learning with great retention levels.
- Asking students to analyse the facts given and predict what results/outcomes can follow.
- Facilitating research-based learning.
- Promoting social interactions.
- And engaging them in meaningful and challenging activities.
How To Plan An Effective Online Teaching Strategy For STEM Subjects:
Choose the right instructional tools and resource:
Resources can play a vital role in making the teaching and learning effective. Virtual field trips, projects with pictures and video clips can be used effectively to enhance the teaching and learning experience.
Effective online instructional tools like an interactive whiteboard, handheld manual whiteboard, teaching assistant etc. can be used by the teacher. E-textbooks, blogs, learning platforms etc.
- Decide for appropriate instructional strategy and approach–
Helps in Promoting experiential learning and skill attainment. The use of problem-based and project-based learning and team approach helps in deep understanding and better engagement of students in the learning. By selecting the right approach of teaching the teacher ensures the students understand, how to create a plan for acquiring knowledge teachers felicitate by setting specific learning goals, identify the right resources and monitor their understanding.
- Provide enough opportunities for teaching concepts in STEM classrooms:
Online teachers should encourage designing and conducting investigation based learning. Students should be allowed to reach conclusions on their own. For example in a science class, the teacher can put up a framework of a topic like precipitation and students should be asked to do sufficient research to ‘collect data’ and make conclusions. Post that teacher can introduce the actual scientific concepts that apply to that particular situation/topic. Enough brainstorming and discussion should be allowed as per the need of the topic.
- STEM classroom settings and flipped classroom concept –
Teacher-led instruction is the basis of the STEM classes however, the teaching and learning process is facilitated by the teacher with enough opportunity for the students to figure out conclusions on their own. Practising positive commination also helps in developing presentation skills.
Use of Flipped Classroom concept in STEM learning, teacher-created videos, presentations, animations, research studies, on-line lectures etc. are beneficial in achieving the instructional goals well. Better comprehension and good retention makes these practices super successful for digital learners.
- Extra focus on Collaborative learning-
In an online STEM class teachers should encourage collaborative efforts to construct explanations on the topic briefed. Students should be encouraged to exchange their findings and views in a controlled environment for better understanding.
- Use effective pedagogical strategies include designing learner-centric principles –
- Explaining real-world application of the topics they are learning
- Effective linking of the previous knowledge with the new learning
- Analysing ideas of all the team members and then arriving at one’s own conclusion.
Realizing the goals of hands-on and minds-on learning can be a tough task for a teacher at times. While the student is at bay, there are chances that the distractions and deviations. Well planned lessons and resources guide the students even in asynchronous learning and keep them engaged throughout by challenging enough. Students in an online medium are highly self-reliant and have good researching skills. Teachers should bank on the strengths of each student and take the learning forward. Sticking to the inquiry-based principles and strategies helps in the development of an inquisitive bent of mind. Well planned strategies never go wrong in a class be it a traditional set-up or an online class. So plan it well and wait for wonderful results to follow!