Last week, after 12 years of service as a science teacher and Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), I resigned from the Fullerton School District, effective this Friday. Beginning on the 28th of this month, I will serve the Orange County Department of Education as the new STEM Administrator. In that capacity, I will work closely an amazing team to serve all of our Orange County school districts as we work to empower all learners to use innovation and inquiry to better our world. And this work, of course, includes the Fullerton School District.
Today's conference was a great reminder at how complex the STEM education system really is. Only by having all of the stakeholders at the table can we begin to work together to change how the system components interact in order to take our inputs - our students - and produce our desired output - a STEM-literate citizenry and a STEM-ready workforce. Events like this as a step in the right direction!
At the "Engaging Girls in STEM" town hall event hosted by Riverside County Office of Education, Paula Evans reminded us that, "Without context, STEM is just a gimmick." It was a simple statement, but the more I reflect on it, the more wisdom I see in those simple words. This is why I loathe the index card towers and think that just driving robots around is a missed learning opportunity. Here, inquiry-based pedagogies such as 5E and project-based learning (PBL) play an important role. Done well, they encourage students to ask and answer meaningful questions and identify and solve relevant problems. That's the heart what I think we're here for - but more on that tomorrow.