Today’s digital tools provide excellent means for sharing powerful student work. Created with digital tools, student work is augmented through communication and collaboration with others in digital spaces. One only has to view a school’s website or social media account to see evidence of technology’s impact in the classroom and a school’s ability to share great student work with the world. When it comes to STREAM, social media presents schools with a unique opportunity.
For some schools, though they are doing exemplary STREAM work, they haven’t yet taken the extra step to bring it to social media. These schools may want to share this work but they may lack clear examples of how and when to do so. In this article and accompanying video, at the special request Pam Bernards, Director of Professional Development of NCEA, I am highlighting school examples of using social media to share STREAM projects. Through these examples, schools looking to expand the reach of their student’s work can consider creating their own campaigns for sharing STREAM work with their school community.
STREAM DEFINED – PAM BERNARDS, NCEA
For Catholic Schools, the STREAM speaks to both future ready academic competencies and a mission rooted in faith. Pam Bernards, Director of Professional Development for NCEA states,
‘STREAM provides an excellent opportunity for arch/dioceses and schools to provide a challenging, transdisciplinary learning environment focused on the integration of the STREAM content areas through the lens of the Catholic faith, and also build 21st Century competencies needed for success in school and future careers. It demonstrates how faith, individual academic disciplines and life itself work together.’
School STREAM Goes Digital through Social Media
1. Mary, Mother of the Redeemer School Wales, Pennsylvania
At Mary, Mother of the Redeemer School, a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, in North Wales, Pa., STREAM is tied to the school’s mission. ‘In our ever-changing world, MMR’s STREAM program offers students opportunities to develop critical minds, creative solutions, and compassionate hearts. By incorporating an empathetic, Catholic spirit with scientific questioning, technological skills and engineering design, our students develop divergent problem-solving abilities.’
Throughout the year, in grades K-8, Innovation lessons were focused on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At the beginning of the school year, students began the process of researching their problem. Lessons on empathy were incorporated in Religion classes through the lens of their Innovation Lab topic. Teacher Mrs. Lisa Bell, grade 7 explains, ‘Students’ work crossed several curriculums as they completed research in Social Studies and Science classes and wrote about their findings for an informative essay in ELA. In Math, the students used their data for graphing and charting their research. In Technology, they made infographics based on their research.
Research and inquiry, plus the application process, made ideas come to life for all students as they embarked on this journey of possibilities.
This spring, the school held a STREAM Project Innovation Night for the school community where students showcased their work. The entire event was live-streamed on the school’s Instagram account where viewers could watch in real-time and explore further.
STREAM is at the heart of the Monarch Garden Project at St. Margaret Mary School in Omaha, Nebraska. Third-grade teacher, Barb Gilman @barbinnebraska says, ‘this project blends interdisciplinary skills. Students incorporate science when tagging and recording, Math for measuring and life long fitness when doing tasks such as mulching and tending to the garden. Faith lessons are an integral part of the Monarch Garden with a student noting, “When I see a monarch, I think of God’.
For the last several years, Mercy has participated in the Impact Philly program. According to program coordinators, Mary Ruskey and Lori Aument, ‘IMPACT Philly seeks to provide experiential learning opportunities for high school students to cultivate confidence and leadership skills while giving back to the community. Using creative problem-solving, students partner with an organization to address their needs. For one of these projects, ‘Junior Business student, Javon Bennet linked up with St. James School and Jefferson University to design an interactive recycling bin to encourage younger students to care for the earth. Javon was assisted by junior Building Trades student, Jamir Madison, who mapped technical components by placing a motion sensor which gave a positive reinforcement sound as recyclables entered the bin.’
‘All streams have a source. Academics and life skills must be infused with faith to be meaningful for our students.’
Sister Edward Quinn, IHM, Archdiocese of Philadelphia
The Role of Social Media
Schools have a unique opportunity to expand the powerful impact of student work by sharing it online through social media. When student work is shared, an additional ripple is created and the impact of that work can be meaningful to many others. With social media, the sharing of STREAM projects expands the impact and reach of the work. By showcasing STREAM projects, schools educate the community about the inter-connected, academic, faith-infused and life-giving work being done in the school.
For my part, I truly enjoyed connecting with each of the schools and educators to discuss their creative STREAM projects. I am grateful to these schools for sharing their stories and to NCEA for requesting a showcase and video of the ways social media supports STREAM. The work of these students was inspirational and impactful. Please visit my blog at www.e2today.com and follow me @e2today on social media to learn more about how to harness the power of technology and social media in classrooms.
Learn about NCEA’s upcoming 2019 New Directions STREAM 3.0 Conference, being held in Parsippany, New Jersey from June 17- 19. Explore the presentations and plan STREAM work for the upcoming school year.