STEM has become a major buzzword in the education community, and schools are scrambling to implement programs. However, a major complaint from teachers is the lack of quality training and curriculum. Many are forced to develop their own lesson plans with little knowledge and resources. To support this growing group of STEM educators, many conferences have popped up across the country.
In my quest for STEM knowledge, I have attended several conferences and training sessions to expand my knowledge and build connections in the STEM community. Below I am at a Project Lead the Way teacher training workshop learning how to teach gears through Vex robotics.
I learned about how to implement robotics into a PLTW classroom along with effective strategies for teaching STEM. Most teachers at the workshop had never programmed or built a robotic system, and they felt overwhelmed and intimidated at times. However, this crash course in robotics was a great way to build confidence. Check out my robot arm!
Are you looking for professional development opportunities specific to STEM education? Below is a list of conferences I have attended plus ones that come recommended from colleagues. This list includes both national conferences that change location each year and ones specific to the Texas area.
National STEM Education Conferences
- ASEE K-12 STEM Workshop: Each year, the American Society of Engineering Education hosts a teacher workshop prior to their annual conference. Sessions are led by STEM educators and include research-based STEM education practices, a curriculum exchange, and training on a wide array of STEM topics. I loved this workshop last year, and I look forward to to attending again!
- NSTA STEM Forum & Expo: A 3-day conference of interactive sessions that include strands ranging from K-12 education to administration of STEM programs. This conference includes the latest research and practices of STEM education in the classroom.
- ISTE Conference: The International Society of Technology Education hosts an annual conference with over 16,000 educators and 1,000 sessions. Sessions focus on using technology effectively in the classroom.
- STEMCon: This conference includes teacher training, effective STEM leadership, collaborating with local organizations, and promoting access to minorities and women.
- STEM Solutions Conference: US News organizes this conference to foster a discussion on the best strategies and ideas to advance STEM education. Teachers will get a big picture of the advantages of aligning curriculum with STEM opportunities.
Texas STEM Conferences
- Texas STEM Conference: Organized by the Texas STEM Coalition, this conference brings together teachers and STEM organizations around Texas to collaborate and share ideas on successful STEM curriculum, programs, and policies.
- UT Dallas STEM Conference: The University of Texas at Dallas hosts an intensive workshop to prepare beginner teachers to lead robotics programs along with general STEM sessions. I attended last summer, and I gathered the most useful and ready to implement resources from this workshop than any other training.
- Space Exploration Educators Conference: NASA hosts an annual conference at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston to show teachers how to integrate space across the curriculum. Sessions are lead by teachers and NASA engineers and include exciting topics such as the Journey to Mars and the International Space Station. Teachers can also sign up for underwater astronaut training in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab!
Please comment below if you have any STEM conferences or training sessions you recommend!