A/V technology can enhance CTE and STEM education?Many educators looking for better CTE and STEM teaching methods are turning to A/V technology to improve their lesson delivery. It’s a sound approach that is backed by data provided by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, or PNAS. According to a meta-analysis put together by PNAS, 55 percent more students fail lecture-only STEM courses, compared to STEM courses with active learning methods. Although similar data doesn’t exist for CTE education, both STEM and CTE focus on much of the same material. It’s likely, then, that CTE students would also benefit from active learning. A/V technology promotes active learning, in forms that students find compelling and memorable. There’s more on the horizon, too, so there are many reasons why districts, universities and trade schools should consider A/V solutions for their classrooms.
What are CTE and STEM?CTE refers to career technical educations, while STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM education is focused on cultivating future scientists, engineers and computer specialists, and is relevant at all ages. CTE is often seen as an alternative to college, though it isn’t always so. With CTE education students can learn career skills before they graduate high school, so they can enter the workforce immediately, armed with marketable talents. Many students with a CTE background, though, opt to pursue postsecondary education, and attain a two- or four-year degree. CTE gives the student options in determining the best time to start a career. STEM and CTE involve a lot of technical education, though CTE also covers medical, sales, marketing, arts and several other career tracks. What they both have in common is a need for engaging learning methods because it is often difficult to keep students engaged in technical education. According to Pew Research Center, more than half of U.S. students avoid STEM degrees and careers because they are perceived as too difficult. Another 12 percent of respondents avoid STEM education because it is “too boring.” These aren’t challenges intrinsic to STEM and CTE education, as improved teaching methods that include A/V technology can enhance lesson delivery.
How A/V makes STEM and CTE betterA/V technology is changing the classroom at an unprecedented pace, but its greatest impact may yet be felt in STEM and CTE settings. Consider the variety of A/V solutions available to educators:
1. Mobile and online learning – STEM and CTE involve technically complex material that students grasp at different rates. If students are forced to keep pace with their peers, instead of learning at their own pace, it may drive them out of STEM and CTE classes.
This is where mobile and online learning methods come in. Both are critical elements of on-demand learning, where the student is responsible for taking charge of their education. The teacher provides the lesson focus, but the student approaches it as they see fit. Giving students control in this manner is an effective way to keep them motivated and is less likely to leave a student feeling overwhelmed.
There are vast mobile and online learning resources, and educators can create their own with the use of video streaming and VOD media. Leveraging a combination of these can give students the freedom they need to stay comfortable with their STEM and CTE coursework.
2. Collaborative technology – CTE and STEM often require students to work together, and better collaboration technology can enhance how these groups function. The benefits of group work are well-established in multiple studies, and they include better student performance and better preparedness for the professional world.
A/V technology has long been focused on improving collaboration, and current generation A/V products are easy to use, even for younger students. Digital displays, small spaces wired for quick connectivity and conferencing technologies are the drivers here. With collaboration technology, students can produce and present ideas, study examples and remain in close communication throughout the project.
3. Interactive flat panels – Interactive flat panels combine visual, audio and tactile learning into a single package, giving students a novel, yet familiar experience. The best examples of interactive flat panel technology, like the Clevertouch and Promethean’s ActivPanel, are designed with an intuitive Android interface, so students can go from their smartphone to the panel seamlessly. With a vast array of education experiences, many of them also utilizing gamification to improve student interest, interactive flat panels can be a powerful lesson delivery medium.
4. AR and VR – One only needs to watch a video of someone using Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality to know its potential educational impact. Few technologies have the power to transform learning like AR and VR do, and they are especially promising for STEM and CTE learning.
With VR, students use a headset to transport themselves to a laboratory, a workshop or to the surface of the moon, if they wish. Here, students can look in all directions and manipulate their environment with hand controls. It’s a perfect way to introduce design, construction and engineering. Products like ClassVR are already using this approach.
AR is similar to VR, but instead of creating a virtual environment, AR brings the virtual objects into the real world. AR also comes with controls that allow the student to manipulate any virtual objects. This can be used to study the subject from all angles and interact with it.
AR and VR curriculum already exists and includes a great deal of CTE and STEM content, like automotive, medical and agricultural training.A/V technology enhances CTE and STEM education in several ways and is particularly effective at driving student interest and engagement. In a world where science, math and technology experts are in high demand, A/V technology is a powerful and versatile solution for educators.