The Importance of STEM Professional Development Opportunities for Educators

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The Importance of STEM Professional Development Opportunities for Educators

The world is changing. Led by advances in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, industries continue to evolve and require a workforce able to quickly adapt and find solutions to complex problems. In order to prepare today’s students to meet these demands when they enter the workforce, educators must stay up to date on the most effective teaching techniques to use in their classrooms. 

Due to the ever-evolving nature of STEM, professional development in these areas can both enhance an instructor’s understanding of these subjects and provide engaging ways to share this information with their students. 

Read below for three ways educators can benefit from quality professional development opportunities in STEM! 

1. Increasing confidence in the classroom 

Let’s face it, sometimes the thought of teaching STEM can be intimidating — especially if you did not specialize in these subjects in your own collegiate education. In fact, according to 100kin10, an organization that identifies the main challenges that STEM educators face in their careers, a lack of quality STEM preparation and the inability to engage many different types of students is one of the central obstacles teachers confront regularly. Professional development opportunities can help you build both the ability and confidence to teach STEM in ways your students will find relatable. 

2. Learning the benefits of hands-on STEM education 

When it comes to effective teaching, engaging students in the material is of the utmost importance. Hands-on activities, especially when exploring STEM topics, have been shown to increase students’ retention and engagement. This makes sense, as developing an understanding of how STEM concepts are all around us (e.g. chemical reactions in cooking, using money to pay for a product, why clouds produce rain) creates the realization that these subjects are far from abstract. Therefore, the best STEM professional development opportunities embrace this hands-on approach and provide educators with ideas they can use to augment their lesson plans. 

3. Uncovering ways to inspire students  

According to research from Opportunity Insights, children who are exposed to innovators at a young age are more likely to innovate as they grow up. This groundbreaking finding highlights the positive effects of STEM role models in inspiring students to follow in their footsteps. For girls and minority students who are underrepresented in many STEM industries, promoting role models they can relate to is a great way to help close these innovation gaps. Professional development programs that show instructors how to best incorporate inspirational STEM role models in the classroom provide a crucial tool to boost students’ interest and excitement.

Learn more about our customized professional development program

The National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) prides itself on providing professional development programs that incorporate lessons from our transformative NIHF Inductees that educators can use throughout the school year. To learn more, we invite you to visit our website!

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