Join groups to network with other STEM teacher leaders, discuss topics of interest, create webinars, and share resources.

Have you had an opportunity to influence the development or implementation of standards? Have you had other opportunities to have an impact on STEM policy? Can you share your story? Tell us what meaningful and what was challenging. 

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STEM Teacher Leaders as Change Agents

Are you a STEM Teacher Leader who has influenced education at your school, district, or state? Are you an influencer of the educational community online? One of the things we know is that STEM Teacher Leaders don't often acknowledge the impact they have beyond their own classrooms! 

Please share a story of success that you have had yourself (or that you have seen) in which a STEM Teacher Leader has made a positive change. 

To get us started, let me share a video story of one of my own colleagues, Mike Vargas, who is changing STEM education in his state:


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I thought a lot about this question.  I have presented a lot at our state conference and other teachers come to my presentations multiple years so I would think that they like the hands-on, 3D, real life methods for teaching but we never really have any deep conversations about the lessons and methods - everyone is too busy to really talk about it at the conference.  Unless we attend another workshop or other educational event, where is there time? Same with the NGSS classes, workshops, NSTA presentations - hard to know how much I influence others.  I have helped review and consult so there is great influence in the numbers of teachers that will use the textbooks.  I know that there are several educators that I follow on social media because they have great ideas, commentary, and resources.  I don’t do a lot of social media posts.  
Jeff Remington has really influenced science education in Pennsylvania by using social media and talking to lawmakers.  Other teachers are getting leadership opportunities such at the state level because of him. He has taken his talents overseas to spread the NGSS and STEM.  
Renee Pullen is a great influencer for both the elementary and middle levels as well as equity issues.  She utilizes social media well as I follow her for ideas, resources, commentary, as well as just to put a smile on my face.  

I could keep going with members of the cohort from the first cohort of the NSTA-NCTM STEM Ambassador group.  We follow each other on social media as well as Facebook.  We spent a week with each other as well as several days at the NSTA convention.  The conversations we so valuable.  

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 10:52 PM Permalink
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I am an advocate of access to quality education for all students - regardless of circumstances. I teach mathematics (all levels from remedial [basic math] to advanced placement calculus) in a high school. I was made blatantly aware of a need in my school district to close a Career and Tech Ed (CTE) gap for approximately 25% of the population. These students were not on anyone's radar because they were not all "gifted" or Advanced Placement (AP), accelerated, and nor were they (necessarily) all Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL). However, the issue was that their academic needs were not being met primarily due to our overall curriculum focusing mostly on college bound students. As a result, the 25% (of 12,000 students) were overlooked in curriculum planning. Clearly, these students (the same 25%) were forces to reckon with in the buildings in terms of perceived discipline issues (i.e., tardiness, and insubordination). Once I decided to take a closer look, I realized that their behaviors were a direct result of not having their academic needs being addressed. Not everyone learns the same way. So, I examined the possibility of engaging that population in career and job readiness. It turns out that we had some programming in place but no students enrolled in the courses, so the resources were (shamefully) being wasted. I have been focusing the last year and current year on unraveling the web of what we currently have access to, what the students desire in terms of career planning, and writing a curriculum to get our 25% student population into jobs and careers throughout our local community. A lofty plan, but I am actively pursuing it in phases. I have gathered a team of passionate educators who also acknowledge the need as mentioned, and we are currently working on a job fair that will be held in early spring, 2020. The 25% (as described) is so excited about the upcoming career fair. They are also actively working to help organize the event and learn leadership skills and presentation skills so that they will be ready in hopes of getting hired into their dream career. When I presented the overall idea to my building principal (complete with an outline of the program's infrastructure, employee forecast model, and student capacity model), he immediately was on board. In fact, he decided that the proposed plan could not only be used for the building, but it could be successful across the entire district. With that, I was confirmed as an active and passionate STEM Leader and Change Agent. The biggest challenge foreseeable is sustainability, mainly because I took it on (volunteer work) in addition to my regular, full-time teaching assignment. While I do not expect for others to do the same (volunteer work), I am concerned about the realization of the current and future teacher shortage and its negative impact on the program's success. 

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 11:11 PM Permalink
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I believe teacher and student empowerment in STEM/STEAM is best accomplished with accessible and effective onramps.   I lead conference talks and district level professional development sessions introducing teachers to no cost and low cost computer science, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) curricula that are appealing to students.  

Here is the CS1 Game Engine I am currently working on for many levels of STEM/STEAM instruction.

Here is a presentation from an introductory IoT curriculum I designed.

Here is a single lesson presentation for a robotics and physical science integration I designed.




Sat, 01/11/2020 - 7:40 AM Permalink


Thanks for sharing your incredible IoT demos and modules. Although it is outside the scope of what I do at the moment, you have made it incredibly transparent for those who wish to include hands-on robotics, coding, and logic into their STEM curriculum. Back in a previous life, I was a programmer and might I add that I appreciate the time that you took to actually map out (flow chart) your logic flow so that the end user (and programmer) might feel free to modify the lesson if need be. The way that you took the time to create an overview, individual modules, and a logical flow (with animated "this is how you set it up") is optimal! Again, thanks for sharing your craft. 



Sat, 01/11/2020 - 9:22 AM Permalink
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