In grade school classrooms across the country, students have been hard at work this semester trying to figure out how to smash a virtual frog with a virtual truck. They’re building their own video games—inspired by the 1980s classic Frogger—and there are a thousand details to work out.
In the end, the students will have built a video game. But more important, the students will have learned how to code—whether they knew it at the time or not.
STEM education at CU-Boulder is having a ripple effect, transforming undergraduate and graduate-level classrooms; boosting the number of STEM majors pursuing teaching careers; and fanning out to improve STEM learning at K-12 levels. CU gathers to celebrate STEM scholarship and education projects this Oct. 1 at the 4th Annual Symposium on STEM Education.
One CU-Boulder professor’s idea of how to help students learn more grew into such a successful program that it is now a model for schools throughout the nation.
Through the Colorado Learning Assistant Program, more than 1,500 learning assistant positions have been filled at CU-Boulder, helping to improve introductory courses in 10 departments and to positively impact more than 10,000 CU students each year.
Over the past decade, the University of Colorado Boulder has established itself as a national leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, education.
Through its Learning Assistant and CU Teach programs and Integrating STEM initiative, CU-Boulder is making great progress on its goal of improving introductory math and science classes and recruiting and training future K-12 science teachers.
Associate Professor William McGinley is no stranger to innovative outreach projects that significantly impact communities, K-12 students and teachers. His latest project, Tell Your Story: Composing a Life, integrates storytelling, creative writing and visual arts in teaching a diverse group of middle school students to memorialize important life experiences.
“The telling of our own life story is the one creative work of art in which we are all engaged,” McGinley said. “This program provides young people with art-based opportunities to imagine and tell their stories.”
At age 34, Andrew Wolff is making previously unreachable dreams become reality for hundreds of at risk Cambodian children.
This might seem a stretch for a former businessman who began his second career as a teacher after earning his MA in English as a second language and multicultural education at CU-Boulder in 2006. However, after teaching for a year at an area charter school, Wolff felt constrained by the educational system. Always the adventurer, he bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand, hoping to volunteer as a teacher somewhere in Southeast Asia.