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STEM Innovation Spotlights

Technology can be a powerful tool to transform STEM learning. To help school and district staff implement new, research-based approaches for using technology effectively in STEM learning, the Office of Educational Technology, in partnership with Digital Promise, conducted a systematic review of the research literature on the impact of integrating innovative digital technology in STEM and computer science curricula and classrooms. We used the resulting research synthesis, in conjunction with information about school demographics, geographic locations, and markers of success or needed improvement, to identify 10 school sites that are “spotlighted” in short videos below. Both the research synthesis and the video spotlights are available to help teachers, curriculum specialists and other school and district staff learn about effective uses of technology for deepening students’ STEM experiences.
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STEM Spotlight Framework

The review of the literature surfaced nine dimensions of powerful STEM learning that can be supported with digital technology. The review looked at studies of supports for students’ development of STEM and computational thinking knowledge and practices (skills) that provided evidence of student learning outcomes, as measured by an objective test and not just self-reported perceptions of learning.

Immediate, Individualized Feedback

At Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, NC, students receive individualized and real-time feedback while working through problems sets in their mathematics class.

Computational Thinking

At South Side Elementary School in Kendalville, IN, students learn computational thinking starting in kindergarten and develop advanced reasoning skills throughout their elementary school years.

Science Argumentation Skills

At Weaver Lake STEM Elementary School in Maple Grove, MN, students learn science argumentation through data collection at the lake.

Engineering Design Processes

At Design Tech High School in Redwood City, CA, students learn the engineering design processes by planning and building their senior project.

Embedded Assessments

Students at Pine Grove Middle School in East Syracuse, NY improve their ideas about the impact of species on the food chain using feedback from teacher and peer embedded assessments.

Collaborative Reasoning

At Schoo Middle School in Lincoln, NE, students strengthen their science argumentation skills by making hypotheses how a record produces sound.

Dynamic Representations

At Walter Bracken STEAM Elementary School in Las Vegas, NV, students learn about dynamic representations by looking at weather pattern changes.

Engineering Design Processes

At Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School in St. Petersburg, FL, students learn about engineering design processes by keeping an ice cube from melting.

Evidence-Based Models

At Cedars International Next Generation High School in Austin, TX, students learn about evidence-based models while building out a plan for their dream school.

Project-based Interdisciplinary Learning

At Henrietta Lacks Health & Bioscience High School in Vancouver, WA, students experience project-based interdisciplinary in a pharmacy class project focused on sunscreens.

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