Market trends in science curriculum
To analyze competitors in the science curriculum industry by identifying 2-3 market trends in this space, such as making science class fun and technology advancements.
- The Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching met in 2018 and identified technology innovations as one of the major trends in science education.
- The use of virtual reality worlds allows students to make mistakes and conduct experiments. Virtual reality also provides engaging and authentic material. This system also allows students and teachers access to previous experiments that they can review.
- A major hinderance to technology advancement is how do teachers create virtual reality and school funding.
- There are some companies that have created software teachers can implement. The Google Expeditions App and the YouTube VR are both virtual reality systems that are at a lower price. VR headsets are also a part of the technology trend available for schools when there is adequate funding.
- Technology advancements have also led to the promotion of STEM learning by improving skills in engineering designing, collaborative reasoning, and argumentation skills. Digital tools are able to allow students to use multiple STEM fields at once and master STEM concepts through models.
- An example of using technology in a curriculum is how Amplify Science combines traditional books and hard materials with advancements in digital tools to create their middle school science curriculum.
Making it Fun
- Another trend is teachers looking to make science fun so students are engaged.
- Starting a class off with experiments and hands-on experience instead of textbooks has produced results. Examples of this include making geological processes and watching rock formations crystallize. A particular curriculum one school follows incorporating this "fun" learning is the Full Option Science System.
- Students and teachers are enjoying the hands-on learning experiences of STEM and engineering tools. These fun activities include creating a structure out of straws and ducktape to analyze prototypes and types of force.
- Picking curriculum or projects that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards that are also fun and interactive is important. Using a project, such as creating a roller coaster, helps to foster a culture where different ideas can grow.
- Incorporating actual models to teach concepts fosters more learning than a textbook, such as a volcano that actually explodes or dismantling a computer to learn about technology.
- A major trend that came out of CAST in 2018 was teachers pushing for visual literacy. Tests and exams are asking students to be able to interpret and read data from graphs, tables, and images. There is a call for training science teachers on how to help students "read" visuals by accessing prior knowledge and right their conclusions.
- Using images that aren't just science based but also memes, cartoons, collages, maps, storyboards, and videos have been found to help. Implementing strategies that are used in reading class, such as reading aloud, can also be applied to students reading a graph or table.
- Incorporating visuals reflects the younger generation that is more visually concerned, new technology, and wanting to create things.
- Recent science textbooks have shown an increase in including visuals and a decrease in text accompanying the visuals. Studies have shown that exams include over 1/2 of their questions based upon visuals.
- Visual learning has been proven to be beneficial in kids using shapes to create objects and the visual cortex of the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.
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