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Teachers experiment with robots while learning integrate them into their math and programming curriculum. Photo courtesy of Harry Cheng.

UC Davis C-STEM Center hosts 2020 symposium in Redlands February 24

The 2020 Symposium on Integrated Computing and STEM Education is taking place on February 24, 2020 at the University of Redlands in Southern California. The C-STEM Conference is run each year by the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM), a campus center led by mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Harry Cheng.

This C-STEM symposium is jointly organized by the UC Davis C-STEM Center, University of Redlands, and Redlands Unified School District. This is the first time the symposium has been held in Southern California, which represents a new way for the program to gain more exposure and help more students.

“We already have the training, but this way, we will create more awareness and support more schools and teachers in Southern California,” he said, noting that it’s harder and more expensive for teachers in Southern California to travel to Davis for the conference.

The C-STEM Center’s goal is to transform K-12 education by introducing a curriculum involving programming and robotics to help teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Cheng’s studies have found that using robotics and computer science contextualizes math education for students and makes it fun, which helps close the achievement gap in mathematics that occurs when K-12 students take math courses.

“Playful hands-on learning is an engaging way to get students to solve real-world mathematical problems rather than just a lot of memorizing,” he said. “The integration of robotics with math and programming education also teaches them teamwork.”

The symposium is a one-day event for teachers and school administrators, featuring superintendent and teacher panel sessions, as well as hands-on workshops. Teachers and superintendents from four regional school districts will share their experience with C-STEM’s hands-on, integrated curriculum and how it has helped their students.

The center has a proven track record of success in increasing math scores across school districts who have forged strategic partnerships with the center and used their curriculum. Cheng hopes this new symposium can help spread the message widely in southern California.

Registration is open through February 10. Visit the C-STEM website to learn more.

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