Building 21st Century Skills among Elementary Schools Students – The LiFE Project
Abstract: Such 21st century skills as Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity are needed to prepare students for success in career and life. Meanwhile, there is a persistent shortage of people pursuing STEM careers. This article presents research to promote 21st century skills amongst girls in grades 3-6 in New Jersey that will yield a digital playbook for best practices and materials for wide use. LiFE - Leadership and iSTEAM for Females in Elementary school: An Integrated Approach to Increase the Number of Women Pursuing Careers in STEM, builds on a grades 3-4, Girls Rock Science Club that has run for seven years. LiFE is developing a network of STEAM clubs for girls in grades 3-6 with ongoing professional development and resource-sharing for teachers -creating a multi-tiered iSTEAM "community of practice". The clubs introduce girls to hands-on iSTEAM explorations using PBL strategies. LiFE partners with US Army for leadership and presentation expertise and Apple Corporation for technology and communication expertise. LiFE provides girls opportunities to work on longer term projects and present them at showcases. LiFE build interests in STEM and girls’ skills to be creative, collaborative, independent learners, so they may successfully pursue their passions in the future. We report on LiFE’s first year’s operation and activities and its collective impact perspective. LiFE increased student participation, interest and academic performance in STEM.
Presider: David Mahaley, Thales Academy EdTechSolutions LLC