Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners.

Digital teaching and learning tools have streamlined education processes and provide learning experiences that stretch far beyond the materials that were available for me back in 2001. Back then, if a science teacher wanted students to learn how to dissect frogs, she would have to commandeer the frog cadavers and dissection tools. Now, STEM apps can be used to facilitate virtual science labs, which allow students to perform complex science experiments in a safe virtual environment. This saves school districts the cost of buying costly science equipment and gives students a safe space to practice. Most STEM apps are either low-cost or free. If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these STEM apps, tools, and resources:

WhiteBox Learning: This is a web-based educational platform for students in grades six through twelve. It is a complete Standards-Based STEM Learning System for Engineering, Science, and Technology Education classrooms. It allows students to design, analyze, and simulate their designs multiple times in a web browser. Students can also compete with other students in their area with their creations; they can turn it up a notch by building a physical model of their simulation.

LEGO Education– LEGO Education has been working for over 37 years to find new and fun ways to encourage education among young children. From tangible to virtual, they offer resources to make learning interactive and rewarding and allow children to learn how they want. With the LEGO system for playful learning, preschool to middle school students will get a better approach to science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM).

FlinnSTEM Powered by IMSA Fusion– IMSA Fusion is a complete STEM program that provides additional enrichment to students interested in science and mathematics. The name IMSA Fusion comes from the blending of inquiry-based student content and in-depth teacher content. Instructors who implement this program receive much more than teacher instructions with student pages and a box of supplies; they also receive hours of video-based, on-demand online training that truly sets IMSA Fusion apart from any other solution available. 

LittleBits Electronics– LittleBits Electronics encourages creativity and inquisitiveness in young ones to help them in their future. Using technology and electronic techniques, LittleBits has over 10 kits and 70 operable “Bits” to allow your child to create and play with endless possibilities. Children will learn lots about robotics and how to build things from scratch. They will also learn the basics of electronic components, powering, how things interact with one another to create an end-product, and much more. This app will also enhance their knowledge of STEM field mechanics.

Querium Corporation Querium uses AI in their company to help students with STEM skills so they can be ready for further studies at high schools, colleges, and universities. The Querium platform delivers personalized, bite-sized lessons and step-by-step tutoring assistance. Its personalized program is called StepWise, and it works on smartphones and computers. The company uses artificial intelligence for STEM (math, engineering, technology, and science education) applications. The app’s cognitive assistant helps students as they come across obstacles.

The PocketLab – PocketLab is a wireless sensor for exploring the world and building science experiments in the classroom. PocketLab connects to your iPhone or iPad and streams measurement data that you can see and record. It measures acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature. PocketLab is the latest attempt to make affordable sensors for classroom use.

Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics– This app teaches the fundamentals of applied mechanics by explaining five related topics: energy and work, power, force, loading, and mechanisms. The app helps students discover the relationship between the physical theories and the practical applications of mechanics. It encourages users to learn about applied mechanisms through the array of game options available, and it also challenges them to use information gathered to solve practical problems

Mosa Mack: Mosa Mack gives upper-elementary and middle school students an opportunity to see more science experiments firsthand. They offer three-tiered lessons with animated mysteries complete with questions. A hands-on experience helps students to understand the point before being offered an engineering opportunity fully.

Solidworks Apps for Kids: This app aims to help elementary and middle school children build, design, and print 3-D objects. The app was created to expose children to engineering tools such as CAD in an entertaining way.

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