Back in 2008, only three to four percent of K-12 science teachers were using sensors and data loggers in the classroom, according to the nonprofit educational research group Concord Consortium. While that percentage has increased over the past decade, many STEM teachers are still relatively new to the practice, and as a result, devising or finding activities involving those tools is often a challenge. To help fill this need, Boxlight is developing and releasing monthly STEM lessons, most of which will be centered around use of one or more of the 15 sensors embedded within the Labdisc portable STEM lab. The lessons are available at https://goo.gl/xAr2uv.
Some of the interactive STEM lessons also will utilize technology such as document cameras and IWBs. In addition, they will incorporate opportunities for knowledge checks and student collaboration.
“Science standards now really emphasize problem solving skills and inquiry-based learning,” said Boxlight’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Sunshine Nance. “While this is a change for the better, it means that teachers are having to add the task of coming up with new lesson ideas to an already hectic work load. In our experience, many teachers are very pleased to receive well thought out, ready-made lessons, so we knew that they would appreciate having access to a steady stream of easy-to-execute lesson ideas at their fingertips.”
Boxlight is committed to supporting both schools and teachers working to increase participation in STEM classes and careers, with a special focus on increasing girls’ involvement.
In June, Boxlight’s second STEM initiative was to sign on to be the convening agency for the Georgia Girls STEM Collaborative formed under the auspices of the National Girls Collaborative Project. The Georgia Girls STEM Collaborative is a statewide network of professionals, researchers and practitioners focused on expanding and strengthening STEM-related career opportunities for girls. Boxlight will be responsible for encouraging collaboration and improving inter-program communication among these various organizations and individuals, helping them come together to share best practices, develop new collaborations and share resources. Collaborative partners include schools, informal educators, programs that offer expanded learning opportunities, and businesses and industries that are committed to informing and motivating girls to pursue classes and careers in STEM.
Previously, the company began working with the STEM Atlanta Women group, a nonprofit founded and run by STEM advocate Maxine Cain for the purpose of helping underrepresented and underserved women and girls to take advantage of global STEM opportunities and acquire skills needed to compete and succeed in the 21st century.