Research Question 4: Critical Challenges

What do you see as the key challenges that STEM+ education will face during the next 5 years?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 7, 2012

Compose your entries like this:
  • Challenge Name. Add your ideas here, with few sentences of description including full URLs for references (e.g. And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!

  • Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching. Traditional approaches to scholarly evaluation such as citation-based metrics, for example, are often hard to apply to research that is disseminated or conducted via social media. New forms of peer review and approval, such as reader ratings, inclusion in and mention by influential blogs, tagging, incoming links, and re-tweeting, are arising from the natural actions of the global community of educators, with more and more relevant and interesting results. These forms of scholarly corroboration are not yet well understood by mainstream faculty and academic decision makers, creating a gap between what is possible and what is acceptable. - Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013
  • As new advances in technology present new opportunities in education, questions of inequity and inequality have never been more important. Emerging technologies and tools are supposed to provide more open access to all. However, often times only those who already have access to resources, such as Internet, can use the new tools. The challenge is to ensure we make technology choices that expand opportunity, while we also work on policies and programs that can narrow the divide.- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 - jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 1, 2013 and also interoperability is an issue that has to be tackled in order to ensure equity & equality e.g. students/teachers having different operating systems (android vs iOS) - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013
  • Critical campus infrastructures are under-resourced. Rather than encouraging researchers to build on and extend core resources, leverage shared file systems, and open accessible service APIs, institutions are narrowing their focus to what they perceive as the minimal subset of enterprise services they can afford to sustain. As a result, educators are often trying to design new, innovative learning models that must be integrated with out-dated, pre-existing technology and learning management systems. Agree. Cloud-based tools will demand an increasingly interoperability with on-campus services and learning environments. - roc roc Sep 2, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Sep 3, 2013
  • Cross-institution authentication and detailed access policies are needed to allow sharing of online experiments among institutions. While teachers are more equipped than ever to produce online experiments, what they are creating is rarely scalable. Too many institutions are recreating the same types of experiments over and over. Quality standards may improve the reuse of federated designs and experiments, but institutions also need to consider standards that would allow students from collaborating institutions to access data and tools across security domains. - Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013- Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 2, 2013 Calls for expansion of open courseware movement to cover high quality online experimentation. Agree - roc roc Sep 2, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Sep 3, 2013
  • Data mining is much more suited to courses run under business models that can scale. The statistical and computer science methods behind most data mining approaches presume that a large amount of data is generated in a relatively constant and continuous flow, which allows the statistical discovery of significant bits of information that would be missed when examining smaller data sets. The challenge in developing such methods for learning situations is that few of them are capable of generating such data streams, although there is considerable potential to do so in online learning environments, especially those with very large enrollments. - Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013
  • The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. The increasing demand for education that is customized to each student's unique needs is driving the development of new technologies that provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction. It has become clear that one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither effective nor acceptable for today's diverse students. Technology can and should support individual choices about access to materials and expertise, amount and type of educational content, and methods of teaching. The biggest barrier to personalized learning, however, is that scientific, data-driven approaches to effectively facilitate personalization have only recently begun to emerge; learning analytics, for example, is still in the very nascent stage of implementation and adoption within higher education.- Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 2, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013- jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 1, 2013 I'm not sure Common Core Standards will get us to a personalized learning platform, too. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Sep 2, 2013 - kstubbs kstubbs Sep 3, 2013
  • Dividing learning into fixed units such as credit hours limits innovation across the board. For a long time now, credit hours have been the primary way of marking the progress of students in earning their university degrees. This method implies that time is an accurate and effective measure for knowledge comprehension and skill. This industrial construct hinders the growth of more authentic learning approaches, where students and teachers might make use of more creative strategies not bound by such constraints. (REF: Western Governors University as a bright light of progress in this area for their use of of "competency based credit" - jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 1, 2013) - Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 exchange of credit across international borders can be a challenge and in many countries credit gained by distance education is still a no no, a long way to go before global acceptance of flexible movement of credits of any sort. Agree - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Sep 3, 2013
  • Faculty training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every STEM discipline and profession. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty. As lecturers and professors begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral.- Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013 - Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013 - kstubbs kstubbs Sep 3, 2013- Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 also recognition of achievement in pedagogic innovation is not always easy to come by. Agree - roc roc Sep 2, 2013
  • The global drive to increase the number of students participating in undergraduate education is placing pressure across the system. The off-cited relationship between earning potential and educational attainment, plus the clear impact of an educated society on the growth of the middle class is pushing many countries to encourage more and more students to enter universities and colleges. In many countries, however, the population of students prepared for undergraduate study is already enrolled — expanding access means extending it to students who may not have the academic background to be successful without additional support. Many in universities feel that these institutions do not have sufficient time and resources to help this set of students.- Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 these are drivers for use of flexible resource based teaching that maximises use of campus facilities but requires investment for its development
  • Most academics aren't using new and compelling technologies for learning and teaching, nor for organizing their own research. Many researchers have not had training in basic digitally supported teaching techniques, and most do not participate in the sorts of professional development opportunities that would provide them. This is due to several factors, including a lack of time and a lack of expectations that they should. Many think a cultural shift will be required before we see widespread use of more innovative organizational technology. Some educators are simply apprehensive about working with new technologies, as they fear the tools and devices have become more of a focus than the learning. Adoption of progressive pedagogies, however, is often enabled through the exploration of emerging technologies, and thus a change in attitude among academics is imperative. - Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013 On the other hand, many teachers/academics are eager to target their students where they mostly spend their time, i.e. social networks - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013 - Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 Many students already use several technologies either for fun or for organizing their work. New and innovative technologies are enlarging the gap between learners and teachers. - roc roc Sep 2, 2013 - kstubbs kstubbs Sep 3, 2013
  • New models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of higher education. Across the board, institutions are looking for ways to provide a high quality of service and more learning opportunities. MOOCs are at the forefront of these discussions, enabling students to supplement their education and experiences at brick-and-mortar institutions with increasingly rich, and often free, online offerings. As these new platforms emerge, however, there is a need to frankly evaluate the models and determine how to best support collaboration, interaction, and assessment at scale. Simply capitalizing on new technology is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level. - Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013 - jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 1, 2013- Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013 - kstubbs kstubbs Sep 3, 2013
  • Our organizations are not set up to promote innovation in teaching. Innovation springs from the freedom to connect ideas in new ways. Our schools and universities generally allow us to connect ideas only in prescribed ways — sometimes these lead to new insights, but more likely they lead to rote learning. Current organizational promotion structures reward research instead of innovation and improvements in teaching and learning. The major consequences of student evaluations on teaching, as well as the direct impact on promotion and career options, translates to big risks associated with the failure of innovations and leaves little space for experimentation.- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 This urges educational leaders for paradigm shift in the concept of learning organization & calls for change in organizational culture. - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Sep 3, 2013
  • Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us.- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013
  • Too often it is education’s own processes and practices that limit broader uptake of new technologies. Much resistance to change is simply comfort with the status quo, but in other cases, such as in promotion and tenure reviews, experimentation or innovative applications of technologies are often seen as outside the role of researcher or scientist, and thus discouraged. Changing these processes will require major shifts in attitudes as much as they will in policy.- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013
  • Traditional forms of assessment do not translate well into ICT-mediated learning scenarios. As new technologies are embedded in course designs within STEM disciplines, assessment processes must evolve as well. Writing assignments can be a very effective part of an assessment strategy, for example, but when enrollments exceed a few dozen students, they become impractical. As ICT environments scale, the assessment models must as well. We must find ways to ensure students fully demonstrate and apply their knowledge. (also intimidate and personalized feedback is important, different forms of interactive learning activities requires a tightly integration of assessment and feedback; also group activities needs to be covered appropriately - Christian.Guetl Christian.Guetl Aug 25, 2013) - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013 Add to this the lack of attention focused on the power of real-time formative assessment, which has been shown to move the needle on student achievement. These assessments are not "tests" in the classic sense, and they don't wait until the end of a learning experience (as does summative assessment). Rather, true formative assessment reveals what our students DON'T know, right now before the bell rings, so we can help them. Summative assessment tests the final outcome, and for large high-stakes testing, gives insights into the overall effectiveness of the organization. But with all forms of summative assessment, the learning is over - and for students who fail, it's "game over". Formative assessment, on the other hand, gives insight to both instructor and learner, and when provided real-time with real-time intervention, students find their way to new levels of success. (REF: Paul Black on formative assessment; also examples of formative assessment, such as "graphical polling" through tools like Ink Survey, presented by Colorado School of Mines at ASEE). - jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 1, 2013 - Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 even more relevant in distance learning/online context where students are studying alone. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 2, 2013 Keith - of course not all distance learning models have people studying alone. But where the model is "self-paced & solo", then meaningful feedback is difficult yet more important then ever. The worse scenario is someone watches a video or reads a text, and then they THINK they'er smart! It's important for all of us who are designing or evaluating online learning to ask, "How does the learner know that they DON'T know?" (along the way, not just at the conclusion of the experience).
  • Current MOOCs do not include remote laboratories mainly because of its massive component. As remote laboratories are physical objects cannot be scaled easily to provide service to thousand of students, from around the world and with different time zones, in a courseThus, a significant challenge exists in developing courses where experimentation plays an important role. One of the major challenges is the provision of laboratory work online along with the theoretical contents. - Sergio Sergio Aug 1, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 2, 2013
  • More learning needs to be done at home, in offices and kitchens, in the contexts where knowledge is deployed to solve problems and add value to people’s lives. With our communities redefined, collaboration at the core of our solving the 'wicked problems' and knowledge only a 'click' away, will begin to replace schooling. "We must move away from a view of education as a rite of passage involving the acquisition of enough knowledge and qualifications to acquire and adult station in life. The point of education should not be to inculcate a body of knowledge, but to develop capabilities: the basic ones of literacy and numeracy as well as the capability to act responsibly towards others, to take initiative and to work creatively and collaboratively. The most important capability, and the one which traditional education is worst at creating is the ability and yearning to carry on learning. Too much schooling kills off a desire to learn…. Schools and universities should become more like hubs of learning, within the community, capable of extending into the community… More learning needs to be done at home, in offices and kitchens, in the contexts where knowledge is deployed to solve problems and add value to people’s lives. (Leadbeater 2000: 111-112)" - michael.lambert michael.lambert Sep 2, 2013. - kstubbs kstubbs Sep 3, 2013 -- Michael: I'm so glad you raised the topic of informal learning! While I agree with Leadbeater's sentiment, but I wrestle with "who's mission is this". Whenever we see, "Schools should...", we have to stop and ask who is the best provider of what type of experience. I am currently in favor of a "federated model" of learning, where students (K12, hied, and LLlearners) have a "personal learning network" that taps into all the learning resources available to them (formal and informal), and has linkages to people in the education organizations, in the community, and beyond (teachers, coaches, mentors, experts, friends, peers). This "networked model" of learning doesn't ask all education institutions to be all things to all people, but rather focuses them on their core expertise. So perhaps schools and universities "should" teach their students how to be "New Learners" who develop and fully utilize a personal learning network. We already know students who do - and they are unstoppable. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Sep 2, 2013
  • Preparing STEM students and educators to work at the scale of STEM practice. There is a need to better present the nature of modern science practices in educational venues. These include computational methods (as noted by others), collaboration skills as few projects are conducted entirely by a single investigator any longer, both of which are driven by the changing nature of the scale of our ability to collect and analyze data. The questions that we can ask can be profoundly different, and it is not clear that our current educators are prepared to teach with this scale in mind. This also includes preparing our students to work with this volume of data and methods of analyzing data at scale. - alanwolf alanwolf Sep 2, 2013 Yes. Software such as Wolfram Alpha, 3D rendering, CAD, coding/programming, etc. must be the essential units coupled with projects which push students to demonstrate a greater understanding of the concepts, not the material taught that seems to require mainly memorization. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Sep 3, 2013
  • There is still much to be done before we are teaching STEM not as a set of facts, but as a way of knowing. While there have been significant improvements in teaching scientific inquiry and scientific process, there is still much more to be done. Understanding that our understanding of nature may change with new evidence is perhaps one of the most difficult elements that individuals struggle with if they believe that science is a series of "facts" that they have devoted significant energy learning. The earlier it is learned that science is one way to understand the world the better, and it needs to be continually reenforcing that as the amount and quality of evidence increases, that understanding will in some cases change. Occasionally, it is suggested that this quality is a weakness, so having citizens understand that the presenting of a new interpretation is not itself a weakness. Instead the focus should be debates on the nature of the evidence and the interpretation, not that the interpretation has changed. - alanwolf alanwolf Sep 2, 2013 Completely agree - marina.vicario marina.vicario Sep 2, 2013.
  • One of the challenges of modern engineering is the project management, so in engineering education, the use of digital resources must be oriented to support the project-based learning. - marina.vicario marina.vicario Sep 2, 2013
  • There is an unmet need for technologically supported peer learning (or peer instruction) - Peer learning ( is a powerful and proved method that may be fostered and raised to a superior level by using widely accessible technological resources - Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013 I fully agree and support that peer learning and training (group activities) is very important - Christian.Guetl Christian.Guetl Aug 25, 2013. [Ed. This is clearly an effective and interesting pedagogical practice, but is it a technology or set of technologies that exists now? Moved to Challenges and reframed as a call to make this happen.]
  • There is a lack of new tools for collaboration in the STEMx professional world (esp. international collaboration). This is an EXTREMELY important aspect. Aren't there some new technologies that students can use for collaboration? - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013- Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013Technologies to support collaboration are there but it's a matter of assembling a stable accessible suite for student use. We have an Open Design Studio environment that provides for students commenting on each others work in a controlled environment and planning it's evolution into an Open Engineering workspace with shared access to design tools for eng proj development. Challenge is in putting tools together so that they operate robustly and seamlessly with LMS/VLE backbone. [Ed: Moved from RQ2]
  • MOOCs need to be rethought. We need Open Ongoing Connectivist Communities Online for "Open Teaching" and "Open Research""Open Learning" is a well established concept. It allows alternative pathways for learners to gain academic qualifications. But "Open Teaching" and "Open Research" are new concepts. With web 2.0 and other emergent technologies, academia could leverage “people-power” or "crowdsourcing" to discover new knowledge / processes from ground up. Justification: (1) “Open Teaching” as an alternative to current paradigm American-made educational material may be unfit for and unwanted in developing countries ; “intellectual neo-colonialism” ; one-way flow content based on the massive content published by richer nations ; Existing teaching quality ; “jailbreaking education” “Open Research” to harness current wasted potential Connectivism ; 70 percent non tenure no access/ability to fund “Traditional Research” ; Example crowdsourcing efforts by Google for purposes of R&D - phkim phkim Aug 31, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Sep 3, 2013 [[Ed:Moved from RQ2]]
  • Math needs to be redesigned...and teaching coding should be a major part of that new learning course.- michael.lambert michael.lambert Aug 31, 2013 [Ed: Moved from RQ2]