STEM education is about to changeJul 16, 2021
The way that we view STEM education in the coming years is going to change tremendously — more so than ever before. Our connection to each other has grown so much in the past few years as smartphones and other technologies continue to develop. Now, as 5G and the Internet of things continue to mature and show their potential, it’s only a matter of time before they work their way into the classroom.
Fundamental Experiments for the Modern Age
Students all learn differently, however internalizing fundamental concepts is easier done through discovery. Instead of providing students with a reading on Rutherford’s alpha particle scattering experiment, it would be more beneficial to allow them to conduct a similar experiment and come to a guided conclusion. This isn’t always possible though — arming young students with radioactive chemicals and extremely expensive equipment isn’t probably the best idea. Computer simulations can help in this, but more often than not they only go so far.
This is where microcontrollers can become a tool for change in the classroom. Researchers, teachers, and even students are beginning to develop models for the alpha particle experiment, gamma ray spectrometers, and so much more. These experiments that were once unable to be replicated in the classroom can now provide immeasurable value directly to students.
Coming Soon to a Community Near You
Smart cities are some of the fastest growing areas around the world. The inclusion of devices that monitor and assess factors of wellbeing improve our quality of life. So why would education be any different?
Creating a smart classroom relies heavily on our ability to change and adapt as time goes on. This is self-evident, especially looking at education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Without teachers’ ability to, in many cases, switch to a completely new modality for much of the 2020–2021 school year, where would we be? Technology has cemented itself into classrooms; now it’s time to harness it.
This is where microcontrollers, with the help of 5G networks, really begin to shine. 5G provides high-speed reliable connections in our communities, meaning that it’s now possible to run detailed analysis in the field. This type of field research is only becoming more accessible and by 2025 it’s predicted that there will be at least three-billion 5G subscriptions around the world. For relatively low costs, microcontrollers can be utilized in the classroom, both in and outside of the school. Ultimately, providing students experience and background with devices like these are fundamental in producing stronger life-long learners.
A Proactive Approach
There is no doubt that this kind of technology will be entering the classroom: it already has begun. Despite having immense potential, these technologies have a learning curve. Throwing microcontrollers in the classroom could be nauseating for a teacher who has never worked with them. Managing code, projects, parts, and more while juggling their normal classroom duties would be overwhelming for anyone. Luckily, it’s not hard to get past the learning curve. Organizations like Nebula Education offer free resources to start learning how to use microcontrollers especially for teachers. Starting to explore, experiment with, and understand how they can be used will be essential in implementing microcontrollers in your classroom.