Summary of the eSTEM Survey Report
The report was divided into two main parts:
- Status of STEM education worldwide
- STEM resources survey
In the first part, the report included the STEM conditions as well as initiatives in Egypt, EU and USA. The report states the definition of STEM according to Tsupros as “STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy”.
The rationale behind STEM is twofold: It parallels the work of a real-life scientist or engineer. And it is the push for graduating more students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields so different countries can maintain their competitiveness and not fall behind emerging countries.
The report shows the STEM conditions in the US, most popular STEM initiatives, and upward trends there. It also represents through statistics the growth of STEM education programs in the US.
In the EU, the report shows Science and Math education systems in Europe. It also explains about 15 STEM initiatives such as Scientix, European Schoolnet, and Stencil. More detailed information about STEM education in UK and Latvia are provided by the project partners GCU and UL. In UK, the report surveys 12 STEM initiatives in the UK.
The STEM central (http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/stemcentral/index.asp) is one of the STEM project in UK and provides a hub for STEM education tools in the UK. Primary Engineer is another project (http://www.primaryengineer.com). Primary Engineer is a role model because it brings together teachers and engineers to engage primary and secondary pupils with engineering via curriculum mapped projects. The aim is that engineers will provide the context for the projects and enable pupils and teachers to understand more about the diversity and excitement of engineering. Primary Engineer offers primary schools CPD and resources to support the delivery of design and make activities taught through practical Mathematics, Science and Design Technology activities. The STEM teachers’ competencies in UK are also listed in the report.
Similarly, the STEM teachers’ competences are shown and well detailed according to the Cabinet of Ministries regulations in 2010 in Latvia. The teachers’ profiles, qualifications and teacher evaluation are explained. The standards of math and science teachers are set according to the National Science Foundation in Latvia with comparison to the US system.
Finally, the first part of the report provides a world perspective for STEM education leaders worldwide.
The second part of the report surveys STEM resources worldwide. The report shows examples of already existing STEM tools.
The report shows 49 examples of e-Resources in physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, geometry, medicine, etc. Interactivity is very important in these resources. Three dimensional models simulates real-life experiments. The report concludes the common strategies used on designing these resources such as interactivity, entertainment, gaming, cues, visualization, problem based learning, and student centered approaches
Some concepts are better demonstrated through hardware kits rather than e-Resources. The report shows 13 examples of hardware kits especially in robotics, engineering, magnetism, and technology.
The report provides links for comprehensive Resource Centers for STEM education. Examples of these centers include University of California Merced Center and USGA.
The report concludes the most common instructional and learning strategies used in the eSTEM, and suggests the instructional and learning strategies to be used with the amount of interactivity to be provided in the resources.
The second part finally compares between the programming tools and frameworks. The comparison includes JavaFX, Unity3D, Unreal Engine 4, Spring 4+ WebGL, Spring 4+ GSap, and Adobe Edge Animate. It also compares between potential Learning Management Systems (LMS) as well as network and hardware requirements.
Out of the programming tools and frameworks, JavaFX and Unreal were instantly rejected, the former because of the fact that it is no longer supported on the web and the latter because of the high requirements for both developing and running it. The major difference between Unity3D, WebGL and GSap were the fact that out of the three, Spring 4 + GSap proved to be both easy to learn and well supported with captivating animations and visuals, making it the obvious choice to use in the upcoming web-based project. Moodle will be used as the LMS. Adobe EDGE Animate will be used to develop the needed interactive animations.
You can download the complete survey report from here.