Enhancing STEM Education: Tips for Realistic Lessons and Virtual Labs & Simulations for Students
The STEM education approach was introduced in 2001 by US National Science Foundation experts and incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics into the curriculum. It first gained popularity in the United States after studies revealed students were achieving lower grades in STEM subjects than in other countries. As technology advances, creating a STEM-educated population benefits the workforce and local economies, especially as the educational disciplines also include problem-solving and creative thinking.
As with many areas of life, technology is advancing how STEM lessons are taught. Technology boosts interaction and engagement while learning. For example, simulations and virtual labs make classes easier for learners to understand, and educational software can lighten the load for teachers. Using technology tools to complement traditional teaching methods gives students a personalized curriculum that advances the way STEM students learn.
Hacking STEM: Microsoft’s revolutionary approach to STEM education
Microsoft’s Hacking STEM ensures teachers all over the world have access to affordable STEM materials. Moreover, Microsoft is committed to creating immersive student learning experiences while incorporating modern technical skills.
Hacking STEM is a collection of STEM lessons created by Microsoft Education. It suits the rapidly evolving world of technology by offering innovative educational approaches. Although class content targets middle school students, the Hacking Stem approach encourages teachers and learners to tweak and hack class content for learners of all ages. Classes are also adaptable for remote learning.
Created by teachers for teachers, Hacking STEM projects integrate seamlessly into existing curricula and are in alignment with the Next Generation Science and ISTE Standards (formerly National Educational Technology Standards). Teachers can rest assured that Microsoft’s Hacking STEM class content is designed to enhance the learning experience of STEM students in the following ways.
1. Project-Based Learning
Project-based activities are the core of Hacking STEM’s educational approach. Students learn crucial engineering design and computational thinking skills through fun, hands-on projects that pique their interest through real-world scenarios. Emphasizing data collection and analysis, students learn to think and assess critically and logically, which sets them up for life outside the classroom.
2. Resources and Tools
Hacking STEM offers teachers a comprehensive package of helpful resources, including free, downloadable Excel workbooks. Materials are user-friendly and display live-streaming data in a graphical format, making them suitable for teachers with various technical skills. Hacking STEM resources include Excel’s Data Streamer Add-in and a microcontroller like Arduino so students can visualize and analyze sensor data in real time.
3. Partnerships and Projects
Microsoft has teamed up with organizations like Mattel’s Hot Wheels, LEGO Education, BBC Learning, and NASA to provide the very best lessons and projects for STEM learners. Let students be inspired with 23 Hacking STEM lessons and projects, including a 10-part project on analyzing astronauts’ photos of Earth to predict climate change, and a design challenge to solve foot pain caused by microgravity from NASA.
4. Global Impact
With over a million students and teachers located in more than 200 countries using its materials, it is safe to say that Hacking STEM is a global hit. Microsoft has also hosted professional Hacking STEM development workshops for teachers, fostering an online community of educators that aim to bring STEM to all students around the world.
Labster: Immersive virtual labs & simulations
Labster is a revolutionary learning platform that gives students a highly immersive virtual laboratory experience. With Labster, students can conduct experiments and practice acquired skills in a safe and risk-free virtual laboratory environment. These lifelike labs allow students to visualize life science right down to the molecular level, helping them understand abstract concepts and master challenging techniques.
One major benefit is that Labster is not limited by the time or cost constraints of a physical laboratory. This lets students test cutting-edge laboratory equipment and conduct experiments that would not usually be available in a traditional classroom. Students can learn twice as much when standard lectures are supplemented by Labster’s simulation labs, boosting the educational value of classes for students.
Labster resources and accessibility
With hundreds of learning simulations and resources that slot easily into existing lesson plans, Labster provides a comprehensive platform for Science Education. It also offers course mapping services to help teachers arrange their classes quickly and easily. Simulations are also automatically graded, saving educators time and stress and providing valuable insights into student performance.
Labster is highly accessible and available in multiple languages, making it the number one tool for global educators. It can be used in conjunction with existing learning management systems and provides a clear student performance overview via a user-friendly dashboard.
How does Acer enhance the STEM learning experience?
The Acer TravelMate B5 14, B3 Spin 11, and Acer TravelMate P4 Spin 14 offer unique features purposely designed for educational settings. Large 14” screen laptops help learners see projects and class content clearly without having to squint or sit an unhealthy distance from their device. Moreover, touchscreen laptops make learning more enjoyable by encouraging interaction from learners.
Hacking STEM and virtual labs are fun and it is difficult for students to know their screen time limits when they are fully immersed in class content. Teachers must encourage a healthy balance between screen time and downtime. Luckily, Acer’s laptops can help. The Break Reminder tells students when it is time to take a break from their screens to reduce eye strain and boost their overall health. This protects learners from the negative effects of long-term computer use, creating a healthier and happier learning environment for all.
STEM learning is an educational way of life. By incorporating technology into STEM classes, teachers can enhance the learning experience for students while creating a fun and interactive environment. Hacking STEM helps educators by providing lesson plans and class content created by teachers for teachers. Relevant resources and tools help teachers bring classrooms alive and pique students’ natural inquisitiveness and curiosity. Innovative partnerships with some of the world’s top organizations enhance STEM learning by providing real-life projects — and Acer is fully committed to improving STEM education by providing outstanding laptops with user-centric features that enhance the learning experience.
Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.