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IU13 Community Education Blog

STEM Skills for Adult Learners

Posted by Mary Edith Leichliter on Aug 3, 2020 7:32:42 PM

IU13’s Community Education program has been awarded a mini-grant from the Lancaster STEM Alliance to provide professional development and ongoing professional learning community support for the 2020-21 program year. The project, called “Leveling the Field: STEM Skills for Adult Learners” (LTF), will be facilitated by IU13’s own Teaching and Learning Collaborative.

The goal of LTF is to help ensure that adult learners in Lancaster County are fully equipped to pursue technical and other high-demand jobs, whatever the future may bring. Many adults have not had the same STEM-education opportunities as students who have recently graduated from high school or college, which puts those adults at a disadvantage when seeking jobs that require STEM skills and/or mindsets.

LTF seeks to give adult education instructors the skills and knowledge to infuse STEM content with problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and other workforce skills. Not only will this teaching strategy improve adult learners’ content knowledge in preparation for High School Equivalency (HSE), but it will also develop their skill sets in the critical workforce skills that are essential to employment in the fast growing, high-paying jobs in our community. 

LTF will include a two-day summer professional development workshop for 60 IU13 adult education instructors and Literacy Council staff, focused on integrated STEM practices, exposure to local workforce skill demands, STEM pedagogy, and support in making curricular connections. IU13’s paraeducators and student advisors will also attend day one of the summer professional development to get an overview of STEM education and develop their skills to support adult education instructors and students with STEM learning. During the workshop, participants will begin to build a “STEM Playbook” of STEM strategies to use with their learners.

At the end of this project, all professional development and coursework will be incorporated into a comprehensive online course that can be taken asynchronously, allowing for adult education instructors to continue to learn about integrated STEM pedagogy long after grant funding concludes. 

Topics: Adult Education