One of the many challenges with distance learning is finding ways for students to engage in active and interpersonal learning experiences that increase their understanding of STEM. These types of activities are especially important because they can make abstract scientific concepts more accessible, and engage diverse learners in using engineering processes that are helpful for 21st century careers.
During a recent edWebinar, Jill Olson, the Director of Operations and Professional Development for EiE, a curriculum developed by Boston’s Museum of Science, provided a framework for integrating hands-on, interactive STEM projects with distance learning.
Citing the work of Lev Vygotsky, Olson noted the importance of engaging students in discourse that helps them link thought to language and make new connections as they learn. She also explained how providing structured learning activities, in which students can draw on concepts, tools, and processes, helps the students make sense of educational experiences and build knowledge.
Creating a generation of problem solvers
While using remote technologies for learning has limitations, Olson pointed out that students can still be provided with information and projects and then work together in small groups online, sharing ideas and collaborating before reporting their findings to the entire class.