Jonathan Nalder, STEM Punks Futures Learning Coach; HundrEd Advisor and Ambassador
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
Why did you create this innovation?
STEM Punks was co-founded in 2016 by Damien Aldridge, a Teacher heart-broken by the lack of innovation in formal schooling, & Michael Holmstrom, an Engineer who wanted to inspire future innovators. Out of this combo & with the addition of new team was born the desire to add a missing ingredient to Education - a playful, punky, ‘always ask why’, human focus that gives STEM its reason for existing.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Instead of focusing on just tech, dry science content, and lessons disconnected from life, STEM Punks programs create real-world, human activities where students learn STEM skills not to pass a subject, but as a natural consequence of their passions.
This sees young people first choose themes such as Future Cities, Ocean Cleanup, Space, Treasure Maps and Smart Gardens. Only later after immersing themselves & learning about the Design Thinking process do they also learn the technical and content skills such as coding, physics, biology and maths required to create a successful solution for their communities.
All of this comes together via Innovation Sports Clubs where Minecraft is the build tool for prototyping new solutions. And then comes STEMPunks.tv - free TV shows to inspire ongoing success.
STEM Punks has distinguished itself especially in the COVID era by offering hybrid programs that can blend online, live, face to face and asynchronous experiences as well as AR and VR.
How has it been spreading?
STEM Punks is now joined by a growing team of expert Educators such as Jonathan Nalder and Paula Noe in Austin, Texas. It has won numerous awards, worked with over 1000+ schools and delivered experiences for kids from over 15 countries so far. Online classes have now expanded to 30 offerings, many of which tap into projects such as those at Hi-SEAS Moon and Mars base, and the LING Project in Ghana. STEM Punks TV has grown to 55 total episodes.
The fastest spread however has been with Innovation Sports Clubs - with 100 established at schools and libraries in the first year of this program alone.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Check out what an Innovation Sports Competition looks like here https://vimeo.com/710570142
Enjoy our TV shows that fuse STEM and Design Thinking at https://stempunks.tv
View our classes at STEMPunks.com
Join our Teacher community at https://www.facebook.com/groups/stempunksteachers