Preparing Students for Careers That Do Not Yet Existby: Glenn "Max" MGee

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The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), as a self-described “teaching and learning laboratory for imagination and inquiry,” has a history of pursuing innovations closely aligned with the vision and framework of the National Science Education Standards. Innovations include both methods and materials for inquiry-based student instruction as well as for delivering professional development for pre-service and practicing teachers. In addition to describing successful innovations, this chapter contains specific results and a constellation of evidence for each program, which serve to demonstrate the efficacy of IMSA’s efforts in four areas: (1) improving students’ deep conceptual understanding of critical STEM concepts; (2) promoting students’ advanced studies and pursuit of STEM careers, including becoming mathematics and science educators; (3) changing teacher practices; and (4) developing a culture in which students not only become advanced “power users” of scientific principles but retain a commitment to IMSA’s mission of “advancing the human condition” long after they leave school. The chapter concludes with recommendations for organizations and institutions seeking to replicate these and similar practices as well as advancing and scaling these practices through generative networks and pioneering technologies.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Tue May 14, 2019 9:52 AM

Excellent article describing how to challenge the highly motivated student that needs greater challenge than in a standard public high school. Look forward to finding articles that have been written that addresses how standard middle and high school students succeed in a similar environment. Does a similar program exist?

Joseph Huffman  (Saint Augustine, FL)
Joseph Huffman (Saint Augustine, FL)

  • on Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:22 PM

This article relays an impressive framework for implementing problem-based STEM education at school and effectively partnering with professional STEM communities. The model followed by this public school immerses students in messy, real-life problem solving and research, and the results for students are statistically remarkable. The article also presents noteworthy teacher-training and youth outreach programs that schools and teachers interested in promoting STEM education might find instructive. These programs work together to increase access to quality STEM education for marginalized student populations, a current issue of high concern. I thought this article was both informative and inspiring, and recommend it for anyone looking for programmatic pointers… or just some inspiration!

Ashley Dang
Ashley Dang

  • on Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:06 AM

"If we are educating tomorrow’s students for today’s careers, America will never retain its international leadership in innovation and invention, much less be able to thrive economically. Career preparation begins with identifying the mindset and habits of mind students will need to excel at careers that do not exist, to be ethical leaders, and to share mission and action that will advance the human condition." As I began reading this article, my impression of the program was that it was oriented to serve families with kids who needed more challenge. It is easy to take a bright kid and provide challenges that tend to develop leadership qualities; instill kids with the drive to identify and solve problems, to communicate, and do research. It was only on the last page that it became apparent that most of the students identified for the program are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Yet the statistics for their achievements is impressive. Definitely worth a read if you are contemplating a STEM approach for your district or school.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

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