Source: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, October 2010.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and usually refers to education in one or more of these disciplines. There has been a concern over the past several years of a decline in STEM education the United States. In the new global economy an education with a STEM focus is a vital step towards providing citizens with the needed skills and technological familiarity that will enable them to take part in the exciting economies of the future. This is also a fertile area where service-learning can flourish and help bring the broadest array of students as possible into the modern workforce. There is a concerted effort by our nation's educators to encourage STEM studies that will enable students to actively engage in the knowledge-economy and to give many more youth from disadvantaged circumstances STEM service-learning opportunities. Educators are also seeking to promote STEM study by America's students, especially those from underrepresented groups, including minority, women, and disadvantaged students. Successful STEM service-learning programs are those that seek out these communities and provide student participants with the opportunity to:
- Use the knowledge and skills of one or more STEM discipline(s) to identify and address community problems;
- Collaborate with peers and community members to set and achieve goals; and
- Develop skills and attitudes useful for the workplace and for participating in civic affairs.
Three organizations are using service-learning to ignite the passion for math and science in thousands of low-income students, thanks to three-year grants from Learn and Serve America's STEM Initiative, awarded in 2008:
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Through the Science in Action program, University of Alabama (UA) faculty work with middle school teachers in Alabama and Georgia to help them use service-learning to advance science achievement. An important component of Science in Action is the Professional Learning Communities, through which teachers communicate on a regular basis about topics relevant to service-learning, product development, science education, collaboration, and other exemplary teaching methods. UA researchers will also be measuring the impact service-learning has on student learning. Read more about the Science in Action program in Research Magazine.
Earth Force, Inc., Denver, CO
Earth Force undertook a Watershed STEM Initiative to expand and institutionalize the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) program in seven school districts. Working with universities and other resource partners, local school districts train educators, provide ongoing technical assistance to individual teachers, and help schools form lasting collaborations with watershed associations.
The American Forest Foundation, Washington, DC,
Project Learning Tree (PLT), an American Forest Foundation program, infused service-learning into its well-respected, widely used environmental educational curriculum. Over the course of the three-year LSA grant, twenty middle and high schools in four regions of the country are selected each year to model PLT’s GreenSchools! program. PLT offers training to teams of teachers, helping them engage their students in action projects that address environmental issues. Read about model PLT GreenSchools!
In June 2010, thirteen additional institutions of higher education were awarded grants to bring service-learning to the STEM disciplines:
- California State University, Chancellor's Office: STEM²: Service Learning Transforming Educational Models in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
- College of the Canyons (CA)
- University of California, Santa Cruz
- Florida Campus Compact
- Hawaii & Pacific Island Campus Compact
- Donnelly College (KS)
- Delgado Community College (LA)
- University of Southern Mississippi
- Burlington County College (NJ)
- El Paso Community College (TX)
- Washington Campus Compact (with ID, OR, WA)
- Northwest Indian College (WA)
- Wisconsin Campus Compact (with IA, IL, MI, MN, KS, WI)
General STEM resources
Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Service Learning in University STEM Departments
This self-assessment rubric can help higher education service-learning practitioners assess their current efforts to advance service learning in STEM disciplines. With an increased understanding of where they stand, practitioners can utilize the rubric to chart a path toward institutionalization of service-learning in STEM.
Journal of STEM Education
The Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research is a half yearly, peer-reviewed publication for educators in STEM education. The journal emphasizes real-world case studies that focus on issues that are relevant and important to STEM practitioners. These studies may showcase field research as well as secondary-sourced cases. The journal encourages case studies that cut across the different STEM areas and that cover non-technical issues such as finance, cost, management, risk, safety, etc. Case studies are typically framed around problems and issues facing a decision maker in an organization.
Science Education and Civic Engagment: An International Journal (SECEJI)
Published online twice a year by Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, home of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. Contributions to this journal focus on using unsolved, complex civic issues as a framework to develop students' understanding of the role of scientific knowledge in personal and public decision making, along with examining how such knowledge is embedded in a broader social and political context.
STEM Education Caucus
Maintained by the National Science Teachers Association, the STEM ED Caucus seeks to strengthen STEM education at all levels (K-12, higher education and workforce) by providing a forum for Congress and the science, education and business communities to discuss challenges, problems, and solutions related to STEM education. Includes links to related STEM resources and information.
STEM Education Coalition
The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs. Find resources, reports, and legislation on STEM education or join the Coalition.
College of Menominee Nation STEM Curriculum Enhancement Project
This page describes a National Science Foundation Award winning Tribal STEM project.l
CRS Report for Congress: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Background, Federal Policy, and Legislative Action
This report provides the background and context to understand these legislative developments. The report first presents data on the state of STEM education in the United States. It then examines the federal role in promoting STEM education. The report concludes with a discussion of the legislative actions recently taken to address federal STEM education policy.
Electric Industries Alliance. Chapter 5: Policy Recommendations: K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education. In The Technology Industry at an Innovation Crossroads. Electronic Industries Alliance, 2004.
Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER)
SENCER aims to involve more students in STEM learning and strengthen students' understanding of science and their capacity for responsible work
The Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America (ASTRA)
ASTRA is a collaboration of over 130 companies, academic institutions, professional societies, trade associations, and foundations. ASTRA’s mission is to ensure that there is an adequate, and growing, investment by the Federal government in basic research in the physical sciences, the mathematical and computational sciences, and engineering. To accomplish this goal, ASTRA has developed facts-based advocacy and research programs and publications to educate and inform the general public about the relationship between R&D investments and resulting benefits to the U.S.
Science Education Resource Center (SERC)
An office of Carlton College, SERC works to improve education through projects that support educators. The office has special expertise in effective pedagogies, geoscience education, community organization, workshop leadership, digital libraries, website development and program and website evaluation.
Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL)
Part of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, PKAL is an advocate for building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in the STEM fields. PKAL accomplishes its work by engaging campus faculty and leaders in funded projects, national and regional meetings, community-building activities, leadership development programs, and publications that are focused on advancing what works in STEM education.
STEM service-learning research & resources
Haines, S. (2003). Informal life science: Incorporating service learning components into biology education. Journal of College Science Teaching, 32(7), 440-442.
Service Learning in the Geosciences
A collection of service-learning resources for geoscience faculty, including example projects as well as a model for designing projects, tips on finding project partners, information on assessment, an annual professional development workshop, and an email list.
Vaughn, R.L., Seifer, S.D. & Vye Mihalynuk, T. (2004). Chemistry & service-learning in higher education. Scotts Valley, CA: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.
Wozniak, J. (1996). Mathematics and science faculty service learning handbook. Los Angeles, CA: ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?q=ED397930&id=ED397930
Blust, R. & Pinnell, M. (2007). Using service-learning to develop a K-12 STEM service and experiential learning website.
Folkestad, J. E., Senior, B. A. & DeMiranda, M. A. (2002). The implications of service-learning for technology studies. Journal of Technology Studies, 28(1), 52-58. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ670885.pdf
International Society for Technology in Education
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a source for professional development, knowledge generation, advocacy, and leadership for innovation. From their website you can find K-12 educator resources, including books, journals, and toolkits.
Leh, A. S. C. (2005). Lessons learned from service learning and reverse mentoring in faculty development: A case study in technology training. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 13(1), 25-41.
Shulman, S., et al. (2003). Service-learning and the digital divide.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. (2004). Youth connecting communities: From digital divide to digital opportunity. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
EPICS: Engineering Projects in Community Service
EPICS is a unique program in which teams of undergraduates are designing, building, and deploying real systems to solve engineering-based problems for local community service and education organizations.
Pinnell, M., Blust, R., Brahler, J, & Stevens, M. (2008). Can service-learning in k-12 math and science classes affect a student’s perception of engineering and their career interests? Saratoga Springs, NY: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Retrieved from http://fie-conference.org/fie2008/papers/1235.pdf
Vaughn, R.L., & Seifer, S.D. (2004). Engineering education and service-learning. Scotts Valley, CA: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.
University of Washington. (2004). Case studies in community-university partnerships: Department of computer science and engineering. Seattle, WA: UW, 2004.
Allen, J. (1991). Eureka! A yurt! Integrating mathematics, cooperative learning and community service. Journal of Experiential Education, 14(3), 39-44.
Austin, S.S. & Berceli, C.L. (1999). When will I ever use this stuff, anyway? Mathematics Teacher, 92(9), 798-799.
Duke, J. I. (1999). Service learning: Taking mathematics into the real world. Mathematics Teacher, 92(9), 794-6.
Hadlock, C. R. (2005). Mathematics in service to the community: Concepts and models for service-learning in the mathematical sciences. Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America, 2005.
Reid, P. T., & Roberts, S. K. (2006). Gaining options: A mathematics program for potentially talented at-risk adolescent girls. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 52(2), 288-304. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=coe_ted&sei-redir=1&referer
Vaughn, R.L., Seifer, S.D. & Vye Mihalynuk, T. (2004). Math & service-learning in higher education. Scotts Valley, CA: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.
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