As part of our Race to the Top grant with the Maryland State Department of Education, Washington College is offering a fifteen-week professional development course called The STEM Influenced Classroom. The online course is ideal for K-12 teachers interested in integrating GIS technologies into their lesson plans. Among the topics covered are introductions to Google Earth, Google SketchUp, ArcGIS Online, GPS software and more, with an emphasis on free-to-download software that is easily accessible for students of all ages.
The course heavily incorporates elements of STEM, encouraging teachers to integrate science, technology, math, and engineering as components of a single discipline. It also covers the principles of Problem-Based Learning (PBL), which shifts the focus away from the teacher as a lecturer and more towards student-driven problem solving and active engagement with learning. Students learn to apply principles of science and engineering as part of their learning experience: exploring subject matter, asking questions, formulating hypotheses, and collaborating with their peers.