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“I taught go to 371 classroom teachers in 12 states last year,” Georgette Yakman (right) told the E-Journal over lunch recently on New York’s Upper West Side before heading home to Vermont. She had attended a math education conference to promote ST∑@M, the framework for integrated instruction she began to develop in 2006 (YOUTH GO: Improving School Scores 11/19/2007 EJ). ST∑@M has become a full time occupation, with certified educators and programs throughout the US and as far away as South Korea, where ST∑@M is now a part of the standard national curriculum for K-12 public schools. “When I help a school begin to apply the ST∑@M framework, I start with a two-day workshop,” she said. “I spend about two or three hours of that time teaching them go. It’s a perfect medium that pulls together science, technology and engineering concepts in a mathematical context – you need math skills to figure out who won – while also presenting challenges in the realm of the arts. The game itself has a kind of aesthetic; players need language arts to learn by studying and analyzing games; and go players can further enrich their connection to the game through the fine arts, understanding its context in history social studies and ethics and so on.” ST∑@M is a further evolution of the STEM framework, which encourages educators to blend lessons from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math into integrated lessons in project-based learning applications. Yakman contends they didn’t go far enough. “Without the language arts, how will students communicate with each other to build projects? Without the liberal and fine arts, how will they appreciate and express the context and meaning of what they’re doing? What good is an architect who builds ugly or non-user friendly buildings, or a scientist that can’t explain what he’s doing? I use go for interdisciplinary learning, because it offers a fluid blend of technical and human-related (left and right-brained) skills, and is a natural way of progressing all types of intellectual development.” photo: Yakman delivering acceptance speech for NCTC’s STEM Teacher of the Year 2009
- Roy Laird