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STEAM to the Future: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Here!

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Participate and share : Poster

Friday, December 4, 12:00–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Sylvia Martinez  
Let’s time travel 50 years forward to see what science, technology, engineering and math will be like, and the prominent role that the arts, design and creativity will play. We'll provide entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the challenges of adapting today’s curriculum for the future.

Audience: Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Emergent technologies
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Visionary Leadership
  • Contribute to the development, communication and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive use of technology to support a digital age education for all students.
For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The most recent NMC Horizon Report forecasting emerging trends for K-12 education includes augmented reality, adaptive computing, synthetic biology, wearable technology, artificial intelligence (knowledge engineering), and robotics. What will these look like in the real world, and how will they impact K-12 education?

One of the biggest questions in today's world is how to do project-based and hand-on learning at a distance. This session will showcase some of the current best practices from around the world.

Right now, scientists and engineers are creating a future where biology and engineering mix with computation and computer science. The future holds things like driverless cars, buildings that heal themselves, “radical mycology,” which are plastics that adopt organic properties from mushrooms, clothes that adjust to the weather, robots that do tedious work, and holodeck-like experiences that will bend the definition of reality.

What are the implications for K-12 education when subjects are being reinvented every year? Are we content with providing students with science classes that don’t cover any science invented this century?

We see technology as changing at lightning speed, yet much of this technology never makes it to the classroom. In fact, we are dumbing down the devices that students do get the opportunity to use rather than increasing their capability. Many students are being given devices that are no more than web page browsers.

The recent adoption of makerspaces in many schools shows that schools can get excited about future trends and build rigorous STEAM experiences for students that honor both the past and the future. But there’s much more coming than just 3D printers!

This session will explore these coming trends in a fast-paced way that provides both entertainment and insight into what educators can do with their students today to prepare tomorrow’s citizens for what’s about to come.


20 min – what is on the horizon in technology and STEAM?
10 min – what options exist for integrating these into existing curriculum
10 min – examples of what’s possible now from schools around the world
10 min – closing, questions

Supporting research

COSN Driving K-12 Innovation Report (previously called the NMC Horizon Report): 2019 K-12 Edition

Summary of Engineering is Elementary Research. Museum of Science, Boston

Neil Gershenfeld: The Future of Digital Fabrication

Designing Reality: How to Survive and Thrive in the Third Digital Revolution (2017)

Design at the Intersection of technology and biology

Ecovative: The new plastic is made from mushrooms

More [+]


Sylvia Martinez, Invent To Learn

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