By Hillary Salmons, PASA Executive Director
I’ll do a lot for PASA
For the past two days I’ve been participating in the STEM is Everywhere Convocation in Irvine, CA* and it’s been an amazing experience to join PASA’s STEM learning colleagues from around the country. The time has been spent having lively discussions and seeing compelling presentations about how formal, informal, and after-school educators can work together to improve STEM learning in K-8.
I particularly appreciated the emphasis on creating STEM ecosystems that have aspects that are unique strengths in each community, as opposed to a “one size fits all” approach. Cross-sector collaboration has been at the heart of every conversation—that to build a healthy and impactful ecosystem, we have to engage formal and informal educators, as well as parents and the community at large.
Here in Providence, PASA, our community of program partners, and teachers have not only been working together to build STEM skills for our young people, but also to build 21st Century skills (like critical thinking, perserverance, and communication) that support long-term success.
The Venn Diagram of Success (photo credit: Carol Tang)
To reinforce the conference theme and illustrate how a diversity of educators can learn from and support one another, hands-on STEM learning has been infused into every aspect of the conference. In every corner, there’s something to learn and experiment with, which is how I ended up on a bed of nails in the middle of a food break. The nail bed is certainly an intimidating experiment, but not only do you learn about weight distribution and pressure points, you also learn about perservering and conquering fears.
If adults take such lessons to heart, and work together to build a STEM education approach that prioritizes a process of discovery and encourages students to engage all aspects of themselves, imagine what a difference that could make in the quality of learning for our youth.
*Hear presentations from STEM is Everywhere by downloading the free conference app.