How to teach MINT/STEM successfully

In Germany a competition was arranged to find schools which are very successful at teaching MINT subjects — and to find out why. Most results agree with my own experiences.

The winner school has been praised for

  • implementing a digital curriculum
  • defining digitalization to be a main focus of their school
  • selecting a group of teachers responsible for on-the-job-training and counselling

Clearly these points are necessary for success (we do this at our school) but not necessarily sufficient. Teachers from this school report that — although equipped with 6 classrooms with laptops — these computers have not been used very much, because of two main reasons:

  1. There has been no curriculum for teachers of all subjects. Now there is one telling exactly what has be done for each subject. Each group of teachers has its own teacher responsible for showing how to use digital content specific to their subject.
  2. Technically using laptops can be just this little bit too cumbersome to avoid using it (booting times, size and weight): they changed to lightweight tablets instantly (and constantly) available with a click.

The first item is the most important — we are using Moodle with special courses for teachers of each subject. The ones I know are almost all filled with resources, which is valuable. But the step from having the links to using these resources is to know when to use what (and how) — a gap which has to be filled individually most of the time: and this takes time and energy, which are scarce goods for anyone of us.

To create (or maybe only collect) curriculums must be our next step too.

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