"Growing concern about developing America’s future scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians to remain viable and competitive in the global economy has re-energized attention to STEM education. To remain competitive in a growing global economy, it is imperative that we raise student’s achievement in STEM subjects. " (Wang, Tamara, Gillian, and Park p. 1)
"Engaging students in high quality STEM education requires programs to include rigorous curriculum, instruction, and assessment, integrate technology and engineering into the science and mathematics curriculum, and also promotes scientific inquiry and the engineering design process." (Kennedy and Odell p. 246)
There are of course many issues that technology can help solve as well as issues that can arise from using technology. Today's technology allows for the learning environment to take many different forms. Students and teachers are no longer tied to a desk and a whiteboard in a classroom. The computer and internet era have allowed teachers to reach students they couldn't have before through distance learning. Teachers, whether online or face to face, now have access to computer software that can analyze student data and adapt resources to meet the learners needs so that their learning is personalized. In personalizing learning, teachers also have the ability to allow students to work at their own pace and master each concept. Technology can also be utilized by learners to authentically demonstrate what they have learned.
While technology improves our learning and connects us like never before, there are drawbacks to those connections. Privacy, student interactions, as well as student distraction are constant concerns. Malware, viruses, and connectivity issues constantly threaten our ability to use technology tools. With the access to massive amounts of information, academic honesty has also become a problem in education. But often times, there are steps that teachers/schools can take to mitigate or solve these issues. If schools have good IT departments, they can respond quickly to issues like internet connectivity or viruses and create solutions. Teachers can explicitly teach their students digital citizenship and eliminate distractions with good classroom management. And while committing academic dishonesty might be easier than ever before, catching it is also easier thanks to programs like TurnItI
Today's Educational Technology is driven by constructivism theory. Under constructivism, learning is more student centered and less teacher directed. Technology tools replace the traditional teacher role and teachers become more of a facilitator. Teachers create lessons that utilize inquiry and experimental hands on instruction to allow students to generate their own learning. This style of learning is more engaging for learners because they are more involved in the process.
One of the greatest ways that technology can help teachers implement a constructivist approach is through collaboration. Students can communicate with other students and teachers thanks to the internet and programs like Skype or Gmail. Some software also allows students to work on assignments with other students in real time. Based on the results of a study by Unal and Cakir (2016), student learned life long collaborative and problem solving skills while using collaborative technologies. Constructivist learning activities can be accomplished without technology, but "using technological tools in this process will make teachers’ job easier." (Ayse pg. 7)
Ayse, Derya Isik. “Use of Technology in Constructivist Approach.” Educational Research and Reviews 13, no. 21 (November 10, 2018): 704–11. https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2018.3609.
Kennedy, T J, and M R L Odell. “Engaging Students In STEM Education,” n.d., 13.
Unal E, Cakir H (2016). Isbirlikli Teknolojilerle Desteklenen Yapilandirmaci Ogrenme Ortaminin Akademik Ugrasiya Etkisi. Journal of Instructional Technologies and Teacher Education 5(1):13-18.
Wang, Hui-Hui; Moore, Tamara J.; Roehrig, Gillian H.; and Park, Mi Sun (2011) "STEM Integration: Teacher Perceptions andPractice," Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER): Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 2.