The Center for Technology and School Change (CTSC) is collaborating with the New York City Department of Education on two Federally-funded Magnet initiatives. The projects -- STEM 2530 and STEM 28 -- position eight of the City’s schools as hubs for innovation and STEM learning. In partnership with the Center, these schools are transforming their culture, and more specifically building a practice for designing and implementing authentic, interdisciplinary STEM learning experiences that embrace their respective themes (e.g., What does it mean to become a school for Art, Architecture, and Design?).
The overall goals of the initiatives are to:
- Position teachers as designers of authentic, student-centered STEM learning environments with meaningful technology integration.
- Position students as knowledge builders by presenting them with equitable opportunities to succeed in authentic technology-enriched STEM environments.
- Explore in each context how meaningful technology integration can set high expectations for students, deepen student understanding, and uncover student thinking.
- Expose students to different STEM schools, professions, and careers and the multitude of contributions to society created by STEM-focused work.
To accomplish these goals, the Center establishes a plan for each individual school after meeting with leaders to elaborate on individual goals and needs. The Center also offers structured support for MRTs (Magnet Resource Teachers), MRSs (Magnet Resource Specialists) and Magnet Coordinators as instructional coaches and leaders as they guide the development of a unique, magnet-themed learning trajectory for their schools. Core to the work, CTSC facilitators also engage with teachers and leaders through workshops, curriculum planning sessions and via project implementation support. As part of the professional learning, participants design, implement and reflect on rich, rigorous, transdisciplinary learning experiences for students that integrate creative technologies to capture student thinking, formatively assess student understanding throughout each project, and foster student voice and choice.
Through the Magnet School Partnerships, Project-Based Learning (PBL) is widely used throughout each school’s core curriculum and a broader professional learning community of teachers is emerging for authentic, interdisciplinary STEM PBL design and implementation.