M.A. in El Ed: STEM FAQ
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
What is the mission/goal for the Five Year Bachelor of Arts/Masters of Arts in Elementary Education: STEM and the BA/MA STEM?
We strive to graduate teachers who actively engage students in discovery and exploratory learning, who inspire students to think critically and creatively to solve problems, who teach students the skills necessary to collaborate with others, and who promote effective and relevant connections between the 21st century learning skills and their real-world applications. Our STEM courses accomplish these goals by having students create engineering designs, solve problems using hands-on inquiry, and work in teams to craft creative and effective projects.
Who is eligible for this Master’s Degree in ELED – STEM?
Candidates who have a New York state initial certificate to teach early childhood and/or childhood education
What are the admissions requirements for the MA program?
New York state initial certificate to teach early childhood and/or childhood education.
- An overall GPA of 2.75 or higher in all undergraduate course work.
- An overall GPA of 2.75 or higher in liberal arts and sciences course work.
- Two letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s success in the teaching profession and the capacity to undertake graduate study.
- A written personal statement of professional intent and rationale.
- An interview with the program director.
The department understands that any single criterion may not reliably predict a student’s potential for success in the program. Students may consider applying even if they fail to meet one of the criteria but feel that other aspects of their experience might compensate.
What makes Hofstra’s MA/STEM different from other Master’s Degree programs on Long Island?
There are no graduate programs on Long Island that specialize in either elementary math, science or STEM, so our difference is obvious. The uniqueness of this program and the local, regional, and national call for STEM teachers makes this program a good choice for those seeking a Master’s Degree.
How many credits does the MA/STEM degree require?
The degree requires 32 credits.
What courses are part of MA/STEM program?
There are eight required courses:
CT 239: Children’s Engineering 3sh
CT 236: Curriculum and Instruction in Science 3sh
ELED 232: Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics 3sh
ELED 234: Critical Perspectives on Curriculum and Teaching 3sh
ELED 235: Intersection of Mathematics, Science, and Technology and Curriculum Design 3sh
ELED 250A: Techniques of Classroom Research 3sh
ELED 250B: The Master’s Thesis 4sh
ELED 253: STEM Field Consultation 1sh
There are also three electives that may be chosen from any graduate-level science, technology, engineering or mathematics course, or any course offered in the SOEHHS (School of Education, Health, and Human Services). Course selection MUST have prior approval of the program advisor.
ELED 231: Science Methods
Students in this course apply and enhance their own science background by experiencing a wide variety of elementary science activities with a special focus on current elementary science guidelines from national and state standards. This course is based on the notion that effective and appropriate teaching requires the systematic analysis of learning, learner characteristics, teaching strategies, instructional materials and educational goals.
This course is designed to help you think scientifically WITH children, not FOR children, and create a classroom community with many views and voices giving rise to new ideas in science and math, deep understandings and enhanced skills. During the semester student create experiments to enhance learning and use engineering design to highlight science concepts.
ELED 232: Math Methods
This course stresses the design and implementation of instructional methodologies that actively engaged the learner in elementary/middle grade mathematics. Mathematics curricula are examined with a view toward providing all students opportunities for becoming mathematically literate in a rapidly changing and culturally diverse technological society.
Students in this course will design and conduct investigations and experiments, become familiar with the empirical data on how to teach math for understanding, work to develop effective questioning techniques that focus on students’ thinking rather than correct answers. The class will examine the interrelationships of the basic concepts found in the elementary school mathematics curriculum and the interrelationships among all curriculum subject area as well as analysis the misconceptions of elementary school students about various math concepts.
ELED 234: Perspectives on Curriculum and Teaching
This course considers the diverse perspectives on curriculum, learning, and teaching. We will begin by examining our own life experiences as learners within the context of being consumers of learning. We will consider the balance between content and pedagogy and will conduct an in-depth exploration of our own learning profiles. The course will then move to consider the diversity of learners in today’s classrooms and how best to understand their backgrounds and needs. This course will examine a variety of controversial issues pertaining to curriculum being implemented in New York as well as nationally. Students will pursue their curricular interests, or those that are professionally relevant, via cooperative learning structures and individual research. Research results will be shared with classmates. This course is designed to explore a variety of topics and issues and to relate them to the professional sphere of the classroom teacher.
CT/ELED 239: Children’s Engineering
This course is designed to explore the role of technology education in the MST setting in the elementary school. It is designed for teachers who want to expand the elementary school experience to include the integration of technology into the daily life of the classroom. We will provide this exploration in a cooperative and constructivist framework.
A goal of the course is for teachers to become knowledgeable about and to use the design process. In the context of learning about design through activities and projects, other goals are achieved. Teachers become familiar with tools, resources, and materials that are available and can be used in an elementary school classroom. They use a design portfolio that guides and documents student work and thought and learn how to adapt it for a particular units requirements. Importantly, the teachers develop strategies to authentically assess student work based on the design process and portfolio using critiques of their own design projects and portfolios. Lastly, but not least, they create activities with design at the heart that interconnect mathematics, science and social studies.
ELED 250A: Thesis Preparation
Students in this course are required to design, implement and evaluate an integrated, interdisciplinary unit with their elementary school students. In order to evaluate learning outcomes and the effects of integrating disciplines on student achievement, as well as attitudes and dispositions, multiple assessment techniques are required. This course examines those techniques and guides MA students as they develop, implement and write-up a mini-unit which will serve as a model for the thesis to be completed in ELED 250B. The course helps MA students plan for their young students’ meaningful learning by answering questions such as:
- How can teachers assess students’ prior knowledge?
- How can teachers engage students in relevant investigations?
- What are the diverse ways in which students can demonstrate their understandings?
ELED 250B Thesis
This thesis represents the completion, implementation and evaluation of a capstone STEM action research project. This course prepares students to engage in the field of classroom research, as action researchers, in order to better understand conditions of learning in the classroom. Teachers who use their classrooms as laboratories for the study of learning gain insights into how students learn and can translate those insights into predictably effective classroom practice. The course focuses on research techniques appropriate for the assessment of student learning.
What makes Hofstra’s STEM program unique?
Besides the pre-requisite courses that train degree candidates in the skills that are the hallmark of effective STEM teachers, the culminating courses of this program prepare the candidates to be researchers of their own teaching. These courses use action research to explore how using STEM teaching strategies improve students’ learning. Degree candidates are required to develop a wide range of assessment techniques such as, performance based assessment, teaching and student journals, interviews and observation scales, as well as, portfolio design and construction. Since teachers are now being held publicly accountable for student achievement results, understanding different methods of assessing students’ learning and teacher effectiveness is a necessary skill.
The capstone project for this program is action research, what is that?
Action research, is a process in which participants examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research. Rather than dealing with the theoretical, action research allows practitioners to address those concerns that are closest to them, ones over which they can exhibit some influence and make change. In the STEM program the action research examines the effectiveness of using STEM teaching strategies to improve student learning.
How many students are there in the MA/STEM courses?
All Hofstra’s education classes are small, usually no more than 20 students, the MA/STEM classes are sometimes smaller.
What do students say about the classes they are taking in this program?
- “Taking Children’s Engineering taught me how to use design with students in order to create meaningful experiences. When I use design, my students are engaged and easily make connections to real life – what a great teaching tool!”
- “The professors in the STEM MA program truly care. They are here to make sure you are successful in all endeavors both in and out of the classroom. “
- “This program has helped me feel capable, comfortable, and confident teaching any and all of the STEM subjects.”
- “I have developed a new passion for the STEM content and now know how to use that passion to better my students understanding of the STEM curriculum.”
- “The STEM program will not only help you generate new ideas and teaching techniques, it will restructure the way you think as a whole. Learning through problem solving, hands-on activities/projects, and real-world connections are just some techniques that will become engrained within your everyday teaching.”
What benefits do graduates experience from having completed this degree?
- “The STEM program prepared me for my career and gave me the practical experience I needed to assess student data. I can now create cohesive, experience-based units, which is so useful in today’s educational climate of common core curriculum and the demands it places on educators.”
- “I struggled with mathematics as a student, but when I took the STEM math class, a light bulb went off! This class made me a better teacher and the design aspect of the program makes math fun for me and my students.”
- “I developed a new passion for the content and now know how to use that passion to better my students’ understanding of the STEM curriculum.”
- “I am grateful to have been a part of this program, because it gave me the foundation to be a successful teacher and leader in my school.” - JC ‘07
- “As a graduate student in this program you learn the art of inquiry and how it can successfully drive your instruction.” - DC ‘03
- “The value is at the end of the experience; you will have abilities and understanding far greater than that of your colleagues.” - MY ‘04
- “Because I was encouraged to take academic risks as a STEM student, I was able to instill that quest for knowledge in my students. I am a better teacher as a result of that experience.” - JG‘07
- “After this program I am confident that I am prepared to create meaningful learning experiences for my students by integrating design with not only math and science but ELA and social studies as well.”
- “The STEM program taught me the skills that schools are now just exploring. I have added many components to my teaching that I learned through the STEM program. These components are aligned with the new Common Core Standards.” - JG ‘07
- “The value is that at the end of the experience you will have abilities and understanding far greater than that of your colleagues. It not that you are better, but you have a different viewpoint about how to go about solving a problem and [have] the skills needed to work with others to achieve a goal.” - MZ ‘04
What have program graduates done with this degree?
- “Going through the Hofstra’s STEM Master’s Degree program led to multiple job offers as science specialist, math specialist, and math district wide professional developer.” - RM ‘99
- “I feel that without the STEM program, I could never have landed the job I did. Because of my STEM background I was selected for an Institute of Leadership in Mathematics and Technology upon completion was considered a “math leader” in my school building.” - CR ‘04
What do Long Island Superintendents say about the need to STEM teachers?
All of the ten Long Island superintendents with whom STEM preparation for elementary school teachers was discussed were enthusiastic about such a program because teachers with STEM knowledge are exactly the type of people they are searching for.
What do national leaders in government, science, and business say about the need for STEM education?
Over the last 50 years much discussion has taken place about the need for a STEM educated population. Recently, the cry has become more urgent.
President Barack Obama in 2008 said, “America’s leadership tomorrow depend on how we educated our students today, especially in science, math and engineering.”
Of particular influence has been a report issued in 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, many of whose recommendations were contained in the Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative. Five of the recommendations targeted improving STEM education. The first called for an increase in the number of STEM teachers.
In 2010, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine published “Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5,”which built on the findings of their 2005 “Gathering Storm”report. Notably, the report warns that, “Today, for the first time in history, America’s younger generation is less well-educated than its parents.”
In 2011, Subra Suresh, director of NSF (National Science Foundation) claims that the 21st century is the century of science and technology--not just for people who are in the STEM enterprise, but for the average citizens of the world
Who do I contact to find out more about this program?
For more information or any questions that you might have, please contact either:
Is there any financial aid?
Funds are available in this Masters Program for graduate student scholarships. You may send your request via e-mail to Eileen Simons or Irene Plonzcak.
Your request, in the form of an essay, must include your interest in the MA Program and a description of the financial aid that you seek. The MA program seeks to make small funding awards available to as many individuals as possible.