Fueling the Innovation Economy: Increasing K-12 Student STEM Engagement, Learning, and Career Interest through Integrating Mandated Content with the Arts and Creative Thinking Skills

Fueling the Innovation Economy: Increasing K-12 Student STEM Engagement, Learning, and Career Interest through Integrating Manda

Fueling the Innovation Economy:
Increasing K-12 Student STEM Engagement, Learning, and Career Interest through Integrating Mandated Content with the Arts and Creative Thinking Skills

SUGGESTED ACTIONS

Suggested Action #1: K-12 Policy Changes

Stakeholders: Education policymakers (national and state legislative bodies, state and regional education agencies)
The Need: Classroom curriculum and mandated tests don’t address vital innovation thinking skills needed for national and global economic success.
The Opportunity: Become a primary catalyst that fuels the national and global economies while increasing student content engagement and learning.
Suggested Actions:  Enact policies that place equal emphasis on innovation thinking skills and content learning. Promote and fund the cross-disciplinary integration of arts and design thinking skills, mandated science, math, and language arts standards, and problem-based learning with global outreach to partner with students in other nations. This can be accomplished through teacher education, workshops, grants, research, and the development of a national K-12 Innovation Thinking Center.  This Center would direct, promote, and assess the delivery of these skills.

Suggested Action #2: K-12 Curriculum Changes

Stakeholders: State education agencies and school districts
The Need: K-12 curriculum does not include vital innovation thinking skills.
The Opportunity: Develop and evaluate K-12 curriculum that provides the next generation of innovation thinkers.
Suggested Actions:  Design curriculum that promotes innovation thinking skills while delivering mandated content. Important components of this curriculum are: knowledge transfer among all fine arts and core disciplines, problem-finding /problem-solving, collaboration, persistence, learning from failure, arts thinking, thinking flexibly, inventing, tinkering, and emotional engagement. Engage experts in these fields to assist in the curriculum development. Research and evaluate the most effective strategies as they are developed.

Suggested Action #3: Research

Stakeholders: Federal and state agencies, private funders
The Need: There is a great lack of quality research documenting the impact of arts and innovation thinking skills on science and math engagement, learning, and pipeline attitudes. There are proof-of-concepts models that need to be explored, scaled, and evaluated to determine effectiveness.
Opportunity:
Suggested Actions:  Provide funding to comprehensively evaluate proof-of-concept and best practices models to determine the most effective arts/science strategies that promote innovation thinking, in addition to STEM engagement and learning. There should be additional funding for further development of assessments of these skills within the mandated testing cycles.

Suggested Action #4: Funding for Innovation Thinking in K-12

Stakeholders: Governmental and private funders
The Need: Innovation thinking skills in the US are on the decline, affecting business and the US economy. There are funding opportunities for innovative approaches, but there is a need for funding that directly addresses delivering innovation thinking skills within the public K-12 mandated curriculum.
The Opportunity: Become the driver behind the innovation thinking surge in K-12 education.
Suggested Actions:  Work individually and in partnerships to provide funding and incentives to increase innovation thinking skills in K-12 students. This includes funding for: curriculum development and evaluation, program development that partners formal and informal education, business, and higher education, and strong assessments.

 

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