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how to future proof

How to Future-Proof Your Students: Strategies for Encouraging Independent Learning and High Engagement with STEAM Technology Activities

In case you missed the March edition of Digital Media Academy webinar, you can find a summary of the key points in this article. We hosted this webinar in collaboration with Ormiston Primary School located in Auckland, New Zealand. Shivanni Nayar, who is the Digital Technology Coordinator at the Ormiston Primary School was our guest and shared amazing insight into how their team of teachers have developed a successful STEAM Technology program at the Ormiston Primary School through integrating Digital Media Academy courses. Shivanni also provided great insight into how we could future-proof our students by encouraging independent learning and high engagement with STEAM Technology activities. Continue reading about the main topics that were discussed..

As educators we cannot help but ask ourselves, how are we preparing our students for the demands of the 21st-century job market? What are some of the key skills that students need to master in order to be able to successfully navigate the careers available in the future?

One of the key student success indicators for both in-person and online learning is independent learning skills. The team of educators at the Ormiston Primary School, which is a Digital Media Academy Certified School, has been working diligently to integrate Digital Media Academy STEAM courses while fostering independent learning skills for students ranging from Kindergarten all the way to grade 12. Here are some useful tips on how to begin integrating STEAM courses into your classrooms while fostering independent learning skills for students:

Choose courses that students and teachers can access easily

To begin, make sure that your students are introduced to STEAM activities through courses and materials that are accessible and have been designed with a student-centric approach in mind. For example, Shivanni used the Digital Media Academy Foundation courses to introduce topics such as coding, app development, and artificial intelligence. Integrating accessible courses and programs will help students gain confidence and gain a strong foundation in some of the basic STEAM skills.

Integrate real-world challenges and context-appropriate topics

Always incorporate context-specific topics and connect STEAM courses with real-world challenges. Context-specific challenges will help learners to think critically about their surroundings and their local community. Critical thinking skills in coordination with independent learning skills can prepare students to tackle 21st-century challenges and become the innovators of tomorrow!

Allow for presentation opportunities and give out certificates of achievement to students

Provide learners with opportunities to showcase their work and present their final projects to their community. Through presenting, students can gain public speaking and communication skills, which are both highly demanded in the 21st-century job market. Additionally, better communication skills help students to be able to get their ideas out in the world, collaborate with peers, and get constructive feedback.

In addition to presentation opportunities, educators can motivate learners by providing them with certificates of completion and achievement at the end of each course. Certificates provide evidence of students’ efforts and allow for students to have an end goal to work towards. In other words, certificates can act as an external reward to engage students in the learning process.

Provide students with opportunities to have a choice in choosing their projects

In the traditional education system, students are mostly engaged in activities that are decided for them. This lack of choice can have detrimental effects on students’ decision-making abilities. STEAM projects give educators a perfect opportunity to allow for more student ownership. Give your students the opportunity to choose their projects and topics and think about what they are passionate about from an early age. This practice can lead to high engagement since students are choosing their projects and taking control of their learning. Additionally, It would be helpful to ask students to describe the reason they choose their topics of interest to let them think deeply about their interests.

Spark student creativity through creative challenges

Encourage your students to express themselves through their projects. One’s creativity could seem inaccessible during prescribed activities. However, once students are presented with a problem or a challenge to solve, they will organically engage their creativity and problem-solving skills. Once students access their creativity, they will be able to recognize it and take a similar approach while tackling other projects in the future.

Please leave your comments below and let us know if you have found these tips to be helpful and include other useful practices while integrating STEAM Technology lessons. If you are curious about integrating Digital Media Academy STEAM courses into your school curriculum, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Happy teaching,