Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:39 AM
Great resource for building STEM communities
As a coordinator for a fledgling statewide STEM network, I found this book extremely useful. While it's core is the story of the widely successful work of the Iowa Governor's STEM Council, there are examples and references to STEM work across the country. I appreciated a link to North Carolina's Guide to STEM Community Engagement. We started tools like this from scratch, so it's nice to get further ideas on how to make them better (though it would've been nice to have 2 years ago!).
Jeff Weld shows his wit and sense of humor throughout the book, making it enjoyable to read. For example, he says, "STEM networks are conga lines that relieve and bolster innovation to scale," in a section on catalyzing local/regional/state STEM networks. In a section on strategies for community collaboration on STEM, he notes that "STEM connects the bucolic educational pond of koi and catfish to the piranha pit of the broader community, making both much better."
As schools in Wisconsin have some new opportunities for STEM related grants in FabLabs and robotics, I also appreciated the chapters on teacher professional development and considerations for teacher preparation programs. Teachers need support to do this work, but doing that the same way as always isn't going to cut it.
I'd recommend this book to educators or community members interested in supporting ongoing work in STEM, thinking about it new ways, or getting some ideas to freshen current approaches.