We know that students learn best when they take the lead in their learning. We’ve seen the way that students’ faces light up when they get to explore something they’re passionate about and have the opportunity to dive right in.
This type of experiential learning ignites the excitement and curiosity of students and empowers them to take ownership of their learning. It gives them the confidence they need to grow as critical and creative thinkers.
In the traditional classroom setting, however, a lot of learning occurs passively. This is why we were thrilled to hear about the Experiential Learning Program at the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB). This program encourages students to participate in rich experiences connected to a community outside of school, reflect on these experiences and understand what they mean to them, and apply their learning to influence their pathway decisions.
One of the areas of focus for the program is technology. Unfortunately, many schools do not have readily available technology on-site for students. To help provide the technology resources that the students needed to embark on their experiential learning journeys, STEM Minds stepped in.
Since November of 2021, STEM Minds has been providing virtual STEM workshops for students in the Experiential Learning Program. These workshops have covered a wide range of topics, including animation, coding, LEGO building, and video game design. To date, we have had the pleasure of exploring these exciting STEM topics with over 1,400 students, ranging from the kindergarten level all the way to Grade 8 as well as high school students in special education programs. We have also had the privilege of working with about 70 dedicated teachers within the school board to bring STEM learning to their classrooms!
Throughout this program, our focus has been providing these students with way to engage with technology and unleash their creativity and critical thinking skills in a way that is accessible. We have focused on technology that could easily be accessed in a classroom, or even from students’ homes if they wished to explore further.
We are extremely grateful to the GECDSB for welcoming us into their schools to share our enthusiasm for technology with students and teachers. It has been incredibly rewarding to work with these classes and to gather lots of positive feedback both from teachers and students. Many of the teachers we had the pleasure of working with have gone on to utilize our unit plans so that they could continue to explore STEM in their classrooms in a way that is meaningful and engaging for their students.
We’ve been very grateful for the feedback we’ve received from teachers from this program. Read about their experiences below!
The coding workshop was very engaging for most of my students and the instructions were very easy to follow. The more advanced students were able to go ahead and get started right away but students who weren’t confident still were able to create something. Thanks for a great class!