4 Ways STEM School Inspires Students for the Future


STEM is a field that groups together the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with the goal of integrating these areas of study with each other and with other subject areas. Enlightium Academy students have the freedom to explore new technologies and methods that enhance their learning and achievement by analyzing real-time data, integrating creativity, mapping solutions, and utilizing critical thinking and collaboration. This has been an exciting year with our technical electives curriculum for our students. They never cease to amaze me with their creativity and existing technical knowledge to expand what they know and how to apply it in new and challenging situations. Let’s take a look at some of the courses and their highlights.


1. Network System Design - Analyzing Real-Time Data

In this STEM school course, our networking students have several lessons in which they perform live Internet traffic analysis. Enlightium students learn about IP “packet sniffing,” which is a way to see the data being transmitted both from and to a receiving computer or device. Using the Internet is one thing—understanding what is going on “under the hood” is quite another! Here are some screenshot examples of a student project where they are looking at how the data flows from one computer to a server and back again. I was especially thrilled with this particular student’s interest and the extra effort that he gave to this project.

This particular student related to me that he was very interested in networking and network security. I encouraged him to join the student IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) association to keep current with the latest changes and events in this field. It is this interaction and dialog that helps students connect with the curriculum and encourages students to learn “beyond the keyboard”.


2. Digital Arts - Inspiring Creativity

Digital Arts is an especially fun and challenging course that stimulates STEM school students to grow their existing skill sets with regard to digital imagery, video and audio editing, and simple computer animation. It gives them the chance to utilize application software in adaptive and interesting ways. 

I could tell there were many “aha” moments with this course when my students learned how to edit or enhance a digital image that they had created. In this example, a student learned how to improve an image she took with her cell phone camera. The quality and interest of the original photo were good, but by applying some simple enhancements, the afterimage has a more dramatic feel with a crisp appearance.

There is an exciting computer animation unit in this course that allows the students to create simple, yet interesting animations. This particular example has a concept shape rotating in a specific space where the user can easily move his or her mouse to gain a different perspective on the shape as it rotates. Again, it was easy to see that the student was very interested in this lesson!

If a student has questions or needs clarification, I can suggest other learning media that enhance what he or she learns in our set curriculum. Finding a relevant and accurate YouTube video that explains or demonstrates a specific application software is one example. Helping students problem-solve, research, and find solutions is the heart of what we do with these courses.


3. Introduction to Computer Science - Mapping Solutions 

Taking a problem, visualizing its flow and solution, and then putting the solution into a program is one of the many projects that our students do in Introduction to Computer Science, one of the STEM school courses offered by Enlightium Academy. The student is asked to design a simple flow chart that leads to the creation of a “pseudo-code.” This exercise tests the logic of the solution before the coding begins. The following example came from a student who was performing a work overtime calculation function for her program:


4. Engineering and Product Development Careers - Fostering Critical Thinking and Collaboration

I encourage a constant and real-time dialog with my students, especially on the technical subjects addressed in these courses. At times, a student might have an idea to better answer a question or have another approach to a project or solution. 

In the following example, the student had a thoughtful answer to the question. It is precisely this level of interest and engagement that I strive for with my students, and that’s where real and relevant learning happens. 


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It has been an exciting and rewarding year helping my students expand their technical knowledge by helping them learn how to learn technical subjects. After all, the future of technical education lies in the ability to change and adapt. Enlightium Academy provides an excellent foundation for this type of lifelong learning through the STEM school work that is offered, and I’m honored to play a part in it.

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Enlightium Academy is a private Christian online school that serves homeschooling families by offering a Bible-based, flexible, accredited, teacher-supported, and affordable education from the comfort of your home. For any other questions about Enlightium, please call (509) 319-2288, or visit EnlightiumAcademy.com.

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