Integrative STEM Education
In Spring of 2006 Virginia Tech (VT) became the first university in the US to offer an Integrative STEM Education (I-STEM ED) graduate program. The I-STEM ED graduate degree options were designed to develop 21st century P-20 STEM educators, leaders, scholars, and researchers prepared as catalysts of change for teaching, disseminating, and investigating integrative teaching/learning approaches to STEM education. Our focus on the investigation and application of new integrative approaches to STEM education uniquely sets us apart from other STEM programs. Integrative STEM Education is wholly consistent with, and is an exemplar of, the recommendations of the seminal STEM education reform publications of the past two decades, including Science for All Americans, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, National Science Education Standards, Standards for Technological Literacy, and Educating the Engineer of 2020.
The foundation of Integrative STEM Education is Technology and Engineering Education, which remains the disciplinary base - the T and E in STEM education. Building on its functional role as an integrator of content and practices across disciplines (ITEA, 2000, p 6-9), I-STEM ED provides the pedagogical tenet of integrative practices where technological/engineering design based learning is an instructional requirement. The essence of the new graduate program at Virginia Tech is conveyed in how Integrative STEM Education is operationally defined.