Fun Science: Encouraging Learning
Science in the Classroom
As educators, we’re always looking for ways to encourage learning without making the topic look boring. That’s a pretty difficult task; kids can lose focus pretty easily, especially with modern technology becoming more intrusive. Standardized testing and low standards have also made it difficult for educators and students alike to get pumped up about science. So how can we make things exciting again? The answer may lie, surprisingly, in technology.
America’s results in standardized testing aren’t showing good things. We’re hovering somewhere around 30th globally in science, even with recent pushes by the government for kids to explore STEM-related fields. There’s a big disconnect between what students are learning and what’s going on in the real world, which is driving the conception that classrooms are drilling information just to pass a test.
What’s this leading to? Well, a general apathy among students. No one’s jumping at the chance to study for a state exam. The more practical and world-specific the information, the better. This means hands-on experiments and real-world applications. The problem here? Time and fiscal constraints.
Many budgets just don’t allow for extraneous equipment or supplies to be purchased, placing the burden on nonprofits and teachers to provide for their students, if they even feel the need to go the extra mile. And most don’t have that incentive. They’re hired to teach for the state exams, which means not only apathetic students, but apathetic teachers as well. Further, fun science isn’t at the forefront of even the state’s concerns. The big push is going towards math and reading, which leaves little time for social studies, the arts, and science.
How’s technology changing this? What once took pricey demo equipment to perform an experiment, can now be done online. With cheaper, bulk-order laptop deals for schools, and innovative ed-tech apps like FactSumo, students are able to explore the wonderful world of science without putting a strain on the budget.
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