STEM At Your Fingertips!
I've discussed numerous times the importance of hands-on education. The opportunity for students to physically interact with educational tools or their environment to help further drive home important knowledge. Everything from robotics to wildlife field trips are important to plant a deeper understanding for anyone who is trying to learn more, regardless of age.
For me, my early education came primarily from textbooks. Long, drawn out classroom sessions where the end goal was simply to memorize and retain as much information as possible to prepare for the next step. It's been shown countless times however, that the ability to interact with subject matter on a deeper level enables students to not only remember the information, but also understand the application. That portion right there is key to everything I stress on this platform - the application.
Remember the common questions we all asked while in class? "When am I ever going to use this information?" When we're able to see how certain subjects, whether they be physics, math, chemistry, etc are applied to our day to day lives, it invigorates a connection unlike any other. A connection that fuses a long lasting understanding of concepts, and gives students the ability to now explain it themselves.
At this year's SciFest All Access event, the goal is to bring STEM to your fingertips. Although we're in a virtual space now with much of our education, we can still reiterate the importance of the application of science. Presenting topics with a hands-on approach, physically seeing the educator participate in the subject at hand, or bringing the subject to your home as a tool are all ways to spark curiosity and excitement in STEM.
My session on gravity touches on "everything you never thought you didn't know" about one of the most misunderstood fundamental forces. My real life experience of going weightless was one of the most connective experiences of my career, where I was truly able to feel what an astronaut goes through in zero gravity. Even better, through this virtual event, I was able to bring that experience home to students in a fun and engaging format that puts further emphasis on the application of all things gravity.
The impact we can make through educational changes like this is so important for the our next generation. Hopefully guiding them along the path, where they can not only feel STEM subjects at their fingertips, but eventually hold the entire concepts in the palm of their hands.