As we’ve been saying all along – 2012 is set to be a HUGE year for STEM education as well as for the intersection of technology and education. Hopefully many of these young sprouts of knowledge, information and technology will grow into fully realized advancements in how we educate and how our students learn. The accessibility of technology has created a very interesting and new ecosystem where we so many individuals and companies are crafting solutions to problems that frankly were not even on the radar only a decade ago. Simply amazing. Of course as these solutions are being developed, the result is that there is now considerably more interest in others looking to find even more new solutions. This is exactly where we are now, where we are seeing the beginnings of what could be a very healthy ecosystem of learning technology that in turn will encourage our youth to be that much better educated. Within this new and emerging ecosystem we are also starting to see some new trends develop. In the private sector both “students” and “parents” are starting to actively look for alternative education solutions. School districts are now much more open to technology playing a roll in the classroom. Government is also getting much more active and vocal on this front. Our President has just hosted his second science fair! And now in case you were wondering if this “Technology Based STEM Learning” was moving beyond just a mere trend, the Department of Defense (DOD) has just announced that they are Launching the STEM App Challenge 2012.
The goal of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) App Challenge is to identify innovative mobile applications that address STEM learning for grades 9-12.
The goal for this contest feels very noble to us as The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) seems to be very intent on fostering greater enthusiasm for and understanding of STEM.We of course are looking forward to hearing more about this contest and also to continuing to watch how the coverage for this contest develops.
The objective of the STEM App Challenge is to create a winning App that will help students acquire content/concept knowledge and understanding by manipulating tasks, simulations, or situations that require students to critically evaluate what they are learning. This would help students discover and realize basic understanding vital to learning about science.
As an interested participant in the space of educational technologies, we also couldn’t help but notice that this content is focused explicitly on mobile development. That said, we are looking forward to seeing what comes next for the STEM App Challenge and of course we are looking forward to seeing what interesting and innovative ideas make their way to the general public. And yes, we are very well aware of the many contributions the DOD has made in terms of advancing technology – so once again congratulations to everyone over there for managing to stay ahead of the curve.