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STEM Education Center hosts STEM Colloquium

Starting the evening of August 14th and continuing to the 16th, the leading minds in STEM Education met to share their experiences, knowledge, and techniques in order to create solutions for the problems facing today's educators. With over two hundred attendees and almost sixty individual sessions set to take place, the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus was set to explore the advancing field of STEM Education. Each day began at 8:00 A.M. and continued through until 5:00 P.M., with every minute being consumed by informative and fun programming.

The welcome address was given by Dr. Karl Smith, STEM Education Center at the Unviersity of Minnesota. Dr. H. Taylor Martin, University of Texas - Austin, and Dr. Lawrence Flick, Oregon State University, were keynote speakers at the Colloquium, each addressing an important issue on P-12 STEM Education. Dr. Martin focused on the "real crisis" in STEM Education - Data Based Decision Making. She presented her research on how to determine which information is best for educational purposes in STEM Education, given the growing mass of data available. Dr. Flick highlighted the transformation of pre-college science and mathematics education. In addition to the two keynote speakers, Dr. Eric Jolly, Science Museum of Minnesota, who spoke while weaving a basket, focused on the importance of creating relevant math and science lessons that utilize the experience and culture of students. Drs. Rosilyn Carrol, Jean Strait, and Richard Webb from the Center for Excellence in Urban Education at Hamline University delivered a speech addressing the needs of urban learners though service-learning education. These speakers served as the main focus points of the Colloquium, with a variety of breakout sessions developing the rest of the days' discourse. US Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar, videotaped a custom welcome on the importance of STEM education that was show the 2nd day of the event.

Between the two days were seven different breakout session periods, with each period offering eight options for attendees. The sessions were lead by various experts from around the country, gathering knowledge and experience from coast to coast and bringing it together in St. Paul. Each session focused on a different topic within an individual area of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics education or STEM Education as a whole. Some sessions highlighted the needs of the Twin Cities Metropolitan area, while others focused on statewide and nationwide topics. A common theme was how to integrate STEM subjects.. Specific topics ranged from the educational climate for teachers to the impact that student culture has on learning. Each interactive session prompted discussion both within the session and outside of it. The constant hum of the nation's educators, researchers, and STEM professionals conversing kept energy levels high throughout the event. The exhibitors showed off the newest advances in STEM Education technology, entertaining and surprising attendees.

Next year's Colloquium will be hosted at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's East Bank Campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The following two days will be filled with information to excite the minds of attendees and expand their knowledge of STEM Education and prepare them to bring STEM Education back home with them.

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