Tag Archives: stem education

STEM Lesson Plans for Career Readiness

Current emphasis on STEM education and the preparation of students for the workplace of tomorrow prompted me to research job opportunities recently. I found lists of the best STEM jobs and articles about essential skills we should teach our students. There is a consistent agreement that to promote career readiness, we should focus on:

  • Technology competence in a broad variety of apps
  • Professional skills such as flexibility, time management, and communication
  • Critical and innovative thinking
stem career readiness

TechnoKids technology projects support STEM education

In this post, I’m picking one particular job and exploring how we can engage students with career readiness skills training. If we can spark kids’ interest with a fun activity and then build valuable STEM proficiencies, the knowledge, attitudes, and skills gained will transfer to other areas. Developing an awareness and interest in STEM related careers is the first step to preparing students for the workplace of tomorrow. Trying on one job can encourage young people to reflect on future goals and choices.

Project-Based Learning and STEM Education

career readiness

TechnoTravel is a technology project in which students take on the role of a travel agent. They research a travel destination and then use presentation software to construct an advertisement that promotes a weekend getaway. The project-based activities correspond to STEM education guidelines:

TechnoTravel Builds Workplace Skills

What does a travel agent do?

A travel agent needs to listen to clients to understand their needs and interests. They must research information and prepare a proposal. They must schedule an itinerary, calculate costs to fit a budget, and attend to details. Finally, they need to promote the trip to the customer in an attractive and persuasive presentation. In TechnoTravel, students practice all of these skills as they plan a trip considering a target audience and then prepare a presentation as an advertisement.

Completing this project develops effective work habits such as time management, problem-solving skills, communication, perseverance, and productivity.

A travel agent’s responsibilities are similar to many other careers. The work ethic and skills learned, both professional and technological, can be transferred to other jobs.

TechnoTravel is Interdisciplinary

Integrating technology into other curriculum teaches multiple learning objectives in one activity. The teacher guide for TechnoTravel offers a great variety of suggestions for integrating technology into curriculum. Language Arts, Social Science, Science, History, or Geography learning objectives can be combined in a single project. Here are just a few of the many ideas listed in the guide:

  • Ecotour – Promote environmental stewardship by taking tourists into a natural or wilderness area.
  • Follow the Footsteps – Visit places of historical importance by following the route of a famous explorer.
  • Celebrate Cultural Differences – Feature the festivals, folklore, and cuisine of a unique culture.
  • Transport Back in Time – Travel to an ancient civilization with a time machine and experience the values, beliefs, and daily life of the time period.
  • Explore the Undiscovered – Visit other parts of the solar system or the ocean depths using futuristic technology.
  • Indulge a Hobby – Design a trip that caters to a specific sport, hobby, or interest.

TechnoTravel Develops Technology Skills

Students master a variety of learning objectives in an integrated project: online research, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet skills, including:

Research Skills – apply search strategies, organize facts in a planner, gather websites with travel advice, pictures, and maps
Word Processing Skills – format text and paragraphs, copy formatting, select paste options
Presentation Skills – customize the slide master, insert and format picture files and objects, organize information in tables, insert links and videos, apply transitions and animation, customize the handout master, configure output options for presentations
Spreadsheet Skills – enter and format data into a workbook, modify columns and rows, apply currency format, calculate data using the Sum feature, apply fills and borderlines

TechnoTravel Engages Students

Learning is enhanced when students are interested and find a project personally meaningful. Planning a weekend getaway is a sure way to spark student interest and make connections using a relevant, real-world activity.

STEM lesson plans

TechnoTravel Builds Creativity

As each student designs a unique travel promotion, they generate original ideas, solutions, and final projects. STEM education stresses the importance of creative thinking in the jobs of the future. We don’t know exactly what the careers will require, but the ability to develop innovative insights and concepts will be essential.

STEM lessons

TechnoTravel Supports Personalized Learning

As students choose the destinations of their travel ads, they design unique promotions. Differentiation is a key part of the project. Students build on their individual strengths, needs, and interests. They gain ownership over their learning as they develop technology and interpersonal skills. TechnoKids step-by-step student workbooks allow for flexible pacing. Performance-based assessment is achieved through testing of the slide master, checklists throughout the project, and an itemized final marking sheet. Teachers play the role of mentor as students take the responsibility for their projects. An inquiry-based, student-centered approach is the foundation of personalized learning.

TechnoTravel Adds the “A” to STEM

steam career readiness

Educators frequently propose adding art and design to STEM education to change it to STEAM. TechnoTravel builds creative arts skills along with technology, curricular, and personal skills. Students are challenged to design a promotional tool enticing clients to take a travel vacation. They discover the value of a unique slide master design, attractive presentation appearance, eye-catching formatting decisions, and an easy to read and balanced layout.

STEM Career Readiness with TechnoTravel Technology Project

Visit TechnoTravel to learn more about this technology project. View a short video of a sample student project, examine the learning objectives, and read teacher reviews of TechnoKids projects. Teach STEM and STEAM career readiness skills in a fun, engaging activity for middle school students.

Prepare Students to Succeed: 6 More Top STEM Jobs

In a previous blog, I wrote about preparing students for the future. I searched online for best STEM jobs: Scientists, Technology experts, Engineers, and Mathematical thinkers. The results were an eye-opener: the complex workplace of the future will require mastery of Information and Computer Technology skills along with professional skills such as time management, communication, and teamwork. Critical thinking skills and a resourceful, adaptable attitude are essential too. It’s a daunting task for teachers!

STEM jobs

TechnoKids projects blend Information and Computer Technology with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Art and design are often included too.

The good news is that an interdisciplinary curriculum can teach crucial technology, interpersonal, and thinking skills. Using TechnoKids project-based activities, students build a foundation in word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, animation, desktop publishing, graphic design, coding, and more! These skills can provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue STEM jobs.

Here are another 6 best STEM jobs. Check out the career descriptions and see how the skills mastered in TechnoKids projects provide a basis for future success.

Computer Support Specialist

What does a computer support specialist do?

  • Ensures that equipment and software are working
  • Provides support and technical assistance to computer users
  • Troubleshoots and solves computer and network problems

A computer support specialist may work in an office, telecommunications companies, financial and insurance industries, or at a help desk.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

TechnoSpecialist

In TechnoSpecialist, students play the role of a computer specialist. They design an information package to inform customers about hardware. A presentation with advanced features explains components in order to help the public make purchasing decisions.

TechnoSpecialist Learning Objectives:
✓ Understand and explain computer components and terminology
✓ Describe and compare devices
✓ Design a presentation with a master slide, table, graphic organizer, video, sound, and images

Sales Engineer

What does a sales engineer do?

  • Collaborates with sales teams to understand customer requirements
  • Plans, recommends, and modifies products to meet customer needs
  • Prepares and delivers reports that explain products to customers and management

A sales engineer works for a manufacturer that designs consumer products such as food, clothing, fashion, or technology devices.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM jobs

In TechnoCandy, students solve the challenge of boosting candy sales. They investigate the problem, conduct a survey, graph results, research packaging, and finally submit a report to recommend a solution.

TechnoCandy Learning Objectives:
✓ Develop critical thinking and inquiry skills
✓ Organize, format, calculate, sort, and chart data
✓ Formulate a plan based on evidence and explain reasoning in a written report

Accountant

What does an accountant do?

  • Organizes, computes, and prepares tax records
  • Examines and assesses financial statements
  • Suggests ways to reduce costs, enhance revenue, and improve profits

An accountant may be self-employed or may work for the bookkeeping department of a company, or for the tax agency of a government.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoBudget, students learn personal finance. They build a budget and justify a spending plan to gain financial literacy and money management skills.

TechnoBudget Learning Objectives:
✓ Problem solve to make financial decisions
✓ Organize, graph, format, calculate, sort, and filter data using formulas
✓ Justify financial choices in a report

Graphic Designer

What does a graphic designer do?

  • Creates innovative images to convey a message using photo editing software
  • Incorporates changes recommended by clients or the art director
  • Self-manages projects, including reviewing designs for errors and meeting deadlines

A graphic designer works freelance or may be employed by a sign company, advertising agency, publisher, or as a college art instructor.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoPhotoshop, students create a digital scrapbook. They capture a series of photographs and then explore artistic techniques using Photoshop to make a collection of whimsical and wacky illustrations.

TechnoPhotoshop Learning Objectives:
✓ Apply the elements of design to edit photographs
✓ Retouch, crop, adjust, warp, recolor, and superimpose images
✓ Combine images to transform them into a unique scene

Database Administrator

What does a database administrator do?

  • Organizes company information such as customer shipping or financial data
  • Plans, sets up, tests, assesses, and updates databases
  • Ensures that software operates efficiently and securely

A database administrator may work in a small business, warehouse, and in healthcare organizations such as medical insurance or in a hospital.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoPlanner, students become event planners. They use a database to organize party planning information in tables, forms, queries, and reports.

TechnoPlanner Learning Objectives:
✓ Construct a database and create data entry forms
✓ Set field properties and establish a relationship between tables
✓ Sort, find, and filter records
✓ Evaluate database design

Statistician

What does a statistician do?

  • Designs surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data
  • Develops mathematical models using technological tools to analyze real-world data
  • Reports conclusions to improve business decisions

A statistician may work in marketing, education institutions, research and development for consumer goods, healthcare, or government.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoQuestionnaire, students explore a key concern. They create a questionnaire and conduct a survey to track popular opinion. They interpret the results, draw conclusions, and share their findings.

TechnoQuestionnaire Learning Objectives:
✓ Investigate a research question, design questions, and identify bias
✓ Display data in charts, tables, and graphs
✓ Present a summary report

Prepare Students Now for the STEM Jobs of the Future

TechnoKids computer projects build skills for career readiness in a fun, engaging way. The projects blend curriculum disciplines to foster a solid foundation in technology as well as professional skills. As a bonus, students develop a resourceful, confident attitude to learning that will ensure their success in acquiring STEM jobs in the workplace of the future.