Happy STEM New Year!

Resolutions.  It’s a great time for them.  Even though they get a bad rap since they are seldom followed through, the beginning of a new year is an opportunity to reflect on past successes and failures and to begin plotting new ideas to build on the successes and make the failures worthy sacrifices.  One success I noted in the past year was the STEM Lending Library.

The STEM Lending Library began almost four years ago at the outset of ARI.  When I began the position of STEM Lead, I knew from my own classroom experience that most schools or teachers couldn’t afford classroom sets of the cool tech learning tools that existed.  I also knew that most teachers didn’t want to use those cool tools all the time because students got tired of them and because they had other things they needed to do as well.  So, if a teacher was lucky enough to have them, they would generally gather dust for much of the year.  So, the idea was to acquire classroom sets of cool tech learning tools (read: robots, drones, coding toys and games, science and engineering equipment, etc.) and then loan them to teachers free of charge on a rotating basis.

I must say that for the first two years the items were in my office more than they were in schools.  That meant I had a great office and everyone wanted to hang out there, but it missed the point.  When the items were in classrooms, more often than not, I was with them.  I loved the opportunity to be in the classrooms doing cool stuff with kids, but again, it missed the point.  The idea was that teachers would feel comfortable using these resources with their students.  The third year, the items were going out to schools more often without me, but many teachers still depended on me to come with them.

Well, happily I can say, this year we have reached a tipping point.  Teachers have become comfortable using the items and they are rarely on my shelves!  I am so excited that the items are no longer gathering dust, but are being sought out by teachers and used with excited students across the region.  This good news necessitates a few actions on my part.  One is developing a more streamlined way to keep track of where things are and when they need to be returned.  The other is gathering more cool resources to keep everybody excited about learning using technology.  These are on my resolution “To do” list!

You can check out the STEM Lending Library Link in the Technology Tab at the top of the page to see a list of the cool things available and to look at resources, both print and video, for how to use them in classrooms.  Contact me at Katrina.slone@hazard.kyschools.us if you want to borrow anything or if you have any questions!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun!”  Albert Einstein

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