Greening STEM with Environmental Education
Guest post by the
National Environmental Education Foundation
students use a smart phone scavenger hunt app to learn about endangered animals
at the Lincoln Park Zoo. In southeast Michigan, scientists and students
interact through video streams and virtual fieldtrips to monitor local water
quality. And at middle schools around the country, students can take actual
photos of the Earth from cameras aboard the International Space Station.
seen as a distraction in the classroom, can actually inspire greater engagement
in learning, especially when it comes to environmental science.
indicates that 77% of teachers believe using technology in the classroom increases
student motivation to learn, while 75% of surveyed educators said students who
spend regular time outdoors tend to be more creative and better
problem-solvers. That’s why the National Environmental Education Foundation
(NEEF) is marrying technology and the outdoors during National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), taking place from April 14-20, 2013.
EE Week is the
nation's largest celebration of environmental education held each year the week
before Earth Day to inspire environmental learning and stewardship. In 2012, EE
Week kicked off a multi-year Greening STEM (science, technology, engineering
and math) initiative on the important role the environment plays in engaging
students in STEM learning and helping them solve 21st century challenges. This
year, EE Week will focus on Taking
students with opportunities to connect with and learn about nature through
technology can also mean improved workforce readiness: The number of STEM jobs is expected to
increase by 20.6% between 2008 and 2018, compared to 10.1% for all other jobs. A
significant 71% of STEM jobs will be within the technology field.
The environment offers
a perfect gateway to STEM learning through hands-on, real-world projects on topics
like energy efficiency and resource conservation that incorporate all four
pillars of STEM. Deborah Wasylik, 2012 Environmental Education Award Winner,
noted, “When you teach environmental science, STEM is already integrated
beautifully in the curriculum.”
NEEF provides these
resources and case studies
to support environmental projects that reinforce STEM learning during EE Week:
- Are you an educator
or parent? Register for EE Week (it’s free!) to learn how today’s technology
can enhance environmental learning and develop 21st century skills.
- Download and
share the EE Week Infographic, Tech & Our Planet, for interesting facts about technology and
- Join an April 12th EE Week Google+ Hangout to go live, behind the scenes on weather forecasting using cutting-edge technology. The Hangout is inspired by EE Week’s theme on taking tech outdoors and is part of a series of biweekly Google+ Hangouts with scientists leading up to Google’s third annual Science Fair.
- Connect with NEEF
and Twitter to stay posted on activities and resources
around EE Week.
To learn more
about the importance of environmental education, visit the EarthShare environmental education issue page. And to bring your own technology outside, download
one of these green mobile apps from EarthShare member organizations.