1. Ellen Meier
  2. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/about-us/
  3. Director, Center for Technology and School Change; Associate Professor of Practice, Dept. of Mathematics, Science & Technology; PI, STILE 2.0
  4. STILE for STEM 2.0
  5. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/news-area/read-our-news/stile-award/
  6. Center for Technology and School Change, Teachers College, Columbia University
  1. Karen Kirsch Page
  2. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/about-us/
  3. Coordinator of International Professional Development
  4. STILE for STEM 2.0
  5. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/news-area/read-our-news/stile-award/
  6. Center for Technology and School Change, Teachers College, Columbia University
  1. Caron Mineo
  2. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/about-us/
  3. Associate Director of Research
  4. STILE for STEM 2.0
  5. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/news-area/read-our-news/stile-award/
  6. Center for Technology and School Change, Teachers College, Columbia University
  1. Jessica Yusaitis Pike
  2. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/about-us/
  3. Research Associate
  4. STILE for STEM 2.0
  5. http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/news-area/read-our-news/stile-award/
  6. Center for Technology and School Change, Teachers College, Columbia University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Ellen Meier

    Ellen Meier

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 09:58 p.m.

         Thank you taking the time to view our video!

         Our STILE 2.0 Research and Development Initiative expands on our first NSF STILE Exploratory Grant, where we focused our research on building STEM capacity in schools that were interested in project-based learning.  To support the development of the initiative in these schools, we used a design approach we developed over years of iterative design-based research with high need urban schools in New York: Innovating Instruction.  In STEM 2.0, we are working in over a dozen schools to investigate how the approach works with a broader range of learning environments.  

         Our research is focused on better understanding the process of helping teachers design and implement STEM projects in various settings.  One finding we are interested in discussing through this forum is the importance of school context.  We are currently working in almost fifty schools in other projects in the metropolitan area and beyond, and find that school context influences the design process in profound ways: ctsc.tc.columbia.edu.

        Considering your own project or STEM experience and perspectives, what would you say matters most when engaging and supporting teachers in meaningful STEM innovation?

  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 01:46 p.m.

    I really appreciated how this video captured the atmosphere of inquiry-oriented instruction--particularly the social learning environment. I was wondering--given the frequently-reported challenge of assessing student work in inquiry-based units, to what extent has this project focused on addressing this challenge? Do you have any lessons learned?

  • Icon for: Ellen Meier

    Ellen Meier

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 02:28 p.m.

    Ahh, yes; assessment is such a difficult issue!  We find that teachers need a good deal of time and support to begin shifting their assessment practices.  We do emphasize assessment in our work, but one of the structural challenges is the priority given to high stakes testing in the schools -- especially urban schools.  We have found that it takes sustained involvement in the schools to build teacher competency with, and appreciation for, assessment practices that more deeply reveal student understandings.  Principal support is also critical, but urban principals are often under as much pressure as their teachers to focus on the high stakes tests.  Without a holistic vision for inquiry-based teaching and learning, and leaders that support emerging assessment practices, high stakes testing often serves to stifle the exciting inquiry-learning progress that can be reflected in authentic assessments.   

  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 01:47 p.m.

    For our educators in attendance: what have been some of the challenges you have faced with implementing inquiry-oriented approaches in STEM courses? What are your reactions to the STILE program?

  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 06:30 a.m.

    Thanks for pursuing a big, systemic part of the puzzle.  I want to address/reflect on your question related to what matters most in supporting teachers in meaningful STEM innovation..  

    Context is important but what makes context so different across the landscape?  If we made a list, it would be long.

    I think there are a few key things 

    School and district leadership is a big influence on whether teachers feel empowered to take risks as learners or whether they feel they need to not rock the boat.  Are the schools you have been working with self-selected?  Do you think the schools have diverse diverse representation of leadership styles?  I am curious how teachers are supported when the larger system may be pushing back?

    Another area that comes to mind is policies at the district and state level (and federal).  Policies direct where people focus their time and attention (like high stakes tests)  Have teachers you have worked with in this project talked at all about how school policies support or hinder their work?   

    I am classroom teacher and I feel fortunate to feel empowered and able to share my voice to influence the work we do so to answer Jonathon's question...  Often my time for successful implementation is a logistical.    Need to manage materials for multiple sections, know what strategies to implement at specific times, be able to evaluate where students are in their own learning.  It is a big puzzle.. all the time.  But the missing piece for me is time to have reflection and refinement with my colleagues.  We don't have common time.  I often end up feeling like a piece is missing or something could have been better but we are already moving to the next place.    It seems like that is an integrated part of STILE which needs to become a self-sustaining part of teacher work when the support of the project ends.

  • Icon for: Ellen Meier

    Ellen Meier

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:37 a.m.

    Dear Mary,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments!  We think leadership is critical and the schools absolutely reflect diverse leadership styles.  We are working with two different districts, so there are also different district cultures involved.  And yes, our teachers talk about the support they are getting for the work, and the support they would still like to receive.  

    However, your comment about the need for reflection and refinement really resonates with us!  We include a reflection session at the end of our time with the school and have found this to be extremely valuable.  Throughout our time with the school we try to identify common time to meet with the teachers and leaders.  We also try to negotiate for common time for teachers to work together going forward, but this is one of the most challenging aspects of our work.  It is important, however, and has implications for sustainability going forward.  

  • Icon for: Caron Mineo

    Caron Mineo

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:11 p.m.

    I am so glad that you asked the above question of our educator audience, Jonathan! I find that our partner schools – and in particular, our middle schools – often need to make structural changes in order to support the implementation of interdisciplinary STEM project experiences for students. As an example, in STILE 1.0, we worked with one leader to make key shifts in scheduling that included more opportunities for co-teaching AND built in time for teacher reflection following common periods.

    Many schools have found creative ways to push the boundaries of traditional disciplinary-based schooling. What are some strategies that your schools are using? What advice would you give to schools that are just starting out?

  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 03:29 p.m.

     Your experience with so many schools and partnership with teachers is so valuable and your project has much to tell the rest of us. My experience is in the "S" (of STEM) arena. Challenge: we've found that teachers poised to be science leaders in their schools are squelched if principals are not supportive. In the most extreme cases (rare, I'm happy to say), the principals won't allow a teacher to depart from business as usual. Sometimes peers aren't all that eager for the teacher across the hall to innovate either!  So context matters a whole lot. Meeting the challenge: teachers benefit from time to share and develop strategies for working in less than supportive environments. If the principal or science leader isn't on board, it's a big problem. Being part of a cadre involved in a project such as yours can be work-life changing. 

    Challenge: helping teachers shift from "telling" students about science to having students collect and evaluate evidence to answer questions. What's worked: we've found that PD that is very closely tied to classroom curriculum or activities helps teachers experience learning this way firsthand. The reward for the pedagogical shift is usually greater student engagement, motivation and even joy! Given time to reflect on what's different and the critical ingredients, teachers are better able to reshape or design other classroom activities. Although one should never underestimate the challenge of designing an effective, carefully constructive activity sequence!

    Teachers have so many responsibilities that I favor providing them with high-quality curricular materials that they can use or adapt, rather than start from scratch. Time to work with colleagues is pure gold!

    Sally 

  • Icon for: Caron Mineo

    Caron Mineo

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 08:18 p.m.

    Hi Sally,

    Thank you for your insight, and we couldn't agree more! We believe that professional development must be situated to the needs and interests of our teachers, schools, and students. We began this year with needs assessment meetings to best customize the 49-hour STILE experience for each of our school partners. From a procedural standpoint, the 49-hour STILE series is comprised of workshops, grade-level planning meetings, classroom coaching (during project implementation), and an opportunity for collaborative reflection.  The expectation is that teams will design, implement, and refine at least one authentic, hands-on project per year. How we go about doing this differs in each school.  In many cases we are providing high-quality curricular materials to use or adapt and in others, we are designing projects from scratch around local STEM problems.

    One of our goals for the STILE 2.0 study is to understand the degree to which each element contributes to the overall model. As part of this R&D initiative, we are attempting to identify a basic teacher learning trajectory, and to make recommendations for tailoring the approach based on various school factors and teacher needs. 

    We also wish more teachers could have this kind of focused professional learning experience, and hope to explore ways to scale-up in subsequent initiatives.

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    Ellee koss

    May 20, 2018 | 11:38 a.m.

    To complete the transformation remove the words ‘student and teachers’. (the superior/subordinates relationship diminishes possibilities) Replace throughout with ‘co-learners’ or as you call them ‘co-investigators’ and educators. Education is about drawing out from within. 

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    May 20, 2018 | 01:44 p.m.

    Your project exemplifies attending to what needs attending to in making the change you (and many of us) seek. Kudos.

    My experience is with mathematics, and our work - be that with paraeducators, teachers, coaches, or administrators - has similar goals to yours - to support change, work together, learn with them, and involve them in learning and facilitating, whichever role they have. Focusing professional development on the needs of those we work with is key to success. Scaling up is a challenge, for sure, but we - and you - continue to work on it!

  • Icon for: Ellen Meier

    Ellen Meier

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 03:24 p.m.

    Indeed!  We do agree on the importance of working collaboratively -- in our case with our teachers and administrators, and in your case the paraeducators.  Do you have them help you plan the next steps as well, or shape the training? 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.