STEM occupations continue to grow steadily, and degree holders in these fields have higher incomes than those in non-STEM/STEAM fields. These academic disciplines play an essential role in sustaining the economy because they produce critical thinkers, improve literacy in science and empower generation after generation of innovators.
Access to the best educational supplies helps educators teach the STEM/STEAM curriculum in a way that’s fun and engaging. The Staples Business Advantage team has compiled a list of seven innovative educational products to consider adding to your classroom for the best STEM/STEAM experience.
1. micro: bit Small-Board Computer
The BBC micro:bit is available to families, clubs and schools in the United States and Canada. The goal of the BBC Foundation’s effort to distribute this device is to ensure 2 million elementary and middle school students in these two countries own one by 2020. The tool helps children learn coding and critical thinking.
The micro:bit is programmable. It’s about the same size as a credit card and comes with 25 LEDs to display basic text and images. It also has multiple sensors and Bluetooth connectivity so it can connect to other devices. Students can program the micro:bit using Scratch, the widely used, block-based coding language. Alternatively, users can also code on the device using Microsoft MakeCode, which lets them switch between text-based and block-based coding.
2. VR Learn
VR Learn is a multipurpose K-12 educational virtual reality headset. The headset comes with a controller and an accompanying mobile device. It’s available for math, physics, chemistry and biology. Teachers can adapt the educational models for any curriculum or language and include interactive activities such as simulations, exercises, tasks, 360-degrees animations and 3D models. VR Learn also provides teachers with a classroom management app and smart analytics.
pi-top built the first do-it-yourself laptop that uses Raspberry Pi and runs a native operating system known as pi-topOS. The operating system lets schools from any location use a cloud-based ecosystem to increase the efficiency of their computer science teaching. As a result, children get access to the tools they need to learn relevant computer-related skills.
The vision of pi-topOS is to democratize coding by making it readily available to anyone willing to learn. Not only is this product affordable, but it’s also easy to upgrade. It promises to drive a global transformation of STEAM education. Here’s a brief video about pi-topOS that explains its capabilities.
Soundtrap is a collaborative online learning tool that lets teachers use podcasts and music to follow a STEAM curriculum. Users operate in the Walled Garden — a secure, closed environment that Soundtrap keeps sandboxed from the rest of the internet. Teachers can use this tool to create and oversee groups within a class, the whole school, or multiple schools or classes as they work on projects collaboratively.
5. STEAM Curricula and Ambassador Program
Dremel desktop 3D printer, built specifically for STEAM curriculum around K-12 Next Generation Science Standards. The company offers a comprehensive educational solution that includes software, hardware and a vast index of 3D printing curricula.
In addition, Dremel desktop 3D printer gives many schools a chance to take part in its ambassador program, where educators can share their knowledge of 3D printing and their innovations around the successful use of 3D printing technology for teaching.
6. Augie Robot
Pai Technology developed the Augie Robot to support teachers’ efforts to use augmented reality for STEAM education. The robot brings together the worlds of coding and robotics. Students can use Augie to learn how to write sequences in programs. The robot also equips learners with technology skills by gamifying augmented reality to create a unique and engaging learning environment.
Children in early childhood and students in the elementary grades are the primary beneficiaries of Augie, which is a product of the latest technology and research from experts in child development. Students use Augie to discover coding by controlling several movements the robot makes. They can also create movies using the video function.
The Cornell University College of Engineering built the collaborative social network CollabSpace to support the widespread maker movement. The resource is available for free to students who want to learn technological topics such as programming, autonomous vehicles, robotics, 3D printing, rocketry, circuit boards and sustainability.
Students can meet on the platform and learn through sharing their projects and skills, getting suggestions from other students and seeking assistance from students, faculty and alumni from Cornell. Many students don’t have access to after-school clubs and mentors, so CollabSpace aims to provide an alternative community to encourage and support students who want to thrive in STEM/STEAM fields.
These and other STEM/STEAM educational tools can help teachers get kids excited about learning subjects in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts.
Staples Business Advantage Canada are experts in educational supplies and have assisted several schools with implementing STEM and STEAM projects. Having associated with several technology suppliers in the industry, they are your ultimate solution to high-quality STEM and STEAM supplies. From STEM robotic kits to educational supplies that are essential to the classrooms, Staples Business Advantage has them all. Sign up today to connect with one of their experts.