It’s inevitable that teachers, like other professions, sometimes lose their edge over time. Policies, parents, and standardized testing can dull the excitement that launched you from your college graduation into a fresh classroom.
STEM education conferences are like the energy drink of your teaching career. Reigniting your passion for the classroom can be difficult, but these gatherings, conventions and symposiums are ripe with ideas, contagious enthusiasm, and fellow educators with passion for success. Keeping up with the lightning-fast changes of available technology and updated curriculum is difficult.
We know that keeping up with the lightning-fast changes of available edtech and curriculum can be a full time job in itself. But national and regional conferences are great places to:
- Check out new education products
- Learn about new education platforms
- See curriculum in action
- Network with other STEM professionals
- Immerse yourself in some hands-on activities to regain student perspectives
- Reevaluate your own teaching strategies
- Restructure those strategies when necessary for the benefit of your students
How Educators Can Benefit from STEM Conferences
A lot goes on behind the scenes when you’re a teacher. Parents, community members, and even sometimes your own administrators don’t see the lengths you go to keep your classroom rocking and keep your kids engaged.
Staying current on the latest teaching and content ‘trends’ involves some serious research and professional development time. STEM Education conferences offer STEM (and non-STEM) teachers the chance to stay relevant and re-ignite their flame by surrounding themselves with passionate educators from across the country, and even the world.
Even if they have to incur travel and accommodation expenses on their own, many educators claim that attending these science conferences for teachers is worth it for a few key reasons.
- Training/Professional Development
- Trailblazing Products and Curriculum
There are a thousand ways to present STEM to your students. Some are great, and let’s face it – some are awful. If you’ve been an educator for any period of time, you know that sometimes your efforts crash and burn. We’re forced to re-evaluate and restructure the way we present some content.
But the best testament to great strategy in the classroom is a solid success story from a fellow teacher who has “been there, done that.” STEM conferences can connect you to teachers who have already been where you are – and have the ideas and experiences to help you succeed. These networking opportunities can open doors for educators and students alike. STEM conferences for teachers serve to connect educators who then share their “classroom life hacks” for working smarter, not harder. This networking trickles down to the students as beneficial methods are integrated into classrooms.
- Connect educators with local colleagues who may be willing to collaborate on large projects.
- Connect teachers with community STEM professionals who can offer students career advice or hands-on learning opportunities.
- Connect teachers with STEM professionals who can provide equipment, materials, and/or ideas.
- Connect teachers with individuals willing to volunteer their time for speaking engagements at afterschool STEM clubs or programming.
2. Training/Professional Development
So many teachers feel unprepared to even lead a STEM class or afterschool club. For this reason, a lot of educators shy away from filling STEM-focused positions. Districts often lack the resources to develop high-quality professional development. This kind of professional development gives teachers the courage to take the bull by the horns. What makes STEM even more intimidating is the fluid nature of STEM subjects. This is where a power-packed STEM convention comes in. Attending can help teachers regain that self-confidence to try something new, by empowering them with knowledge and strategy.
STEM subjects are constantly evolving. Equipment and curriculum continue to advance with technology. This means your teaching strategy and presentation methods need to be constantly growing and changing as well. STEM conferences can help to keep your classroom, teaching methods, and STEM clubs current, relevant, and growing.
3. Trailblazing Products and Curriculum
Giving your students an edge over their peers requires staying abreast of the latest STEM content, curriculum, and teaching strategy. New STEM curriculum and classroom technology are constantly changing the teaching landscape. STEM classrooms now look and operate completely differently than their predecessors of just a few decades ago.
Companies, like Thimble, are finding engaging ways to get students hands-on with carefully planned, 21st-century STEM curriculum programs. Many of these types of curriculums, and their accompanying technologies, are unveiled or presented at STEM conferences nationwide.
The “exhibition halls” at STEM conferences are sometimes an educators favorite part of a conference because they get early looks at some of the newest education products.
STEM Conferences for Teachers to Attend in 2021 and 2022
STEM conferences for teachers are often held locally, but many of the game changers are national events. It’s often at a national STEM conference that inspirational and passionate keynote speakers breathe new life into classrooms, as they share their wisdom and success. Here at Thimble, we love robotics – but we also recognize that there are many STEM subjects that fall under the STEM or STEAM umbrella. Some STEM conferences are designed only for math teachers. Some are designed specifically for higher education, while others are for K-12 STEM educators.
Well-known organizations with a vested interest in STEM education host national (and recently virtual) conferences for educators. Some of the most widely recognized conference hosts are:
- National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA)
- Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) (Project Kaleidoscope)
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
- American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
The NSTA STEM conference is put on by the National Science Teacher’s Association to allow educators the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, and successes. The NSTA Exhibition Hall brings curriculum developers, cutting-edge products, and educational services all to a centralized location. This is a place where companies, like Thimble, can make a value offering to STEM educators from all over. The Exhibition Hall is a favorite conference experience for many attendees.
The NSTA STEM 21 Conference is being held virtually from July 26-July 30, 2021. This is not a traditional procedure, as this conference is normally conducted in person. The early bird deadline is July 9th, 2021. Registration for this STEM Education Conference can be completed online.
If you’re arriving at this blog post a little too late for the Virtual Conference of 2021, there are Area Conferences that might be close enough to take advantage of:
|Pacific NorthWest||Portland, OR||Oct. 28 – Oct. 30||In-Person Conference|
|East Coast||National Harbor, MD||Nov. 11 – Nov. 13||Close to D.C., In-Person Conference|
|West Coast||Los Angeles, CA||Dec. 9 – Dec. 11||In-Person Conference|
If none of the area conferences are nearby, the National NSTA conferences for 2022 are scheduled in Houston, TX from Mar. 31 – Apr. 3, and another in Chicago, IL from July 21 – July 24.
While ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association) considers their 2021 virtual event a raging success, a return to in-person networking and collaboration can be expected for their 2022 conference. The title of this year’s conference is “Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy (STEL): The Role of Technology and Engineering in STEM Education – Keys to Success.” The conference focuses on breaking down barriers between STEM subjects and promotes collaboration between educators and STEM workforce partnerships.
The ITEEA’s STEM conference for teachers is scheduled for Mar. 9 – Mar. 12, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. The conference will be held at Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center. Registration to be a presenter is currently open.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Project Kaleidoscope is committed to keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of STEM at the Higher Education level. They are serious about fostering confident STEM faculty to help guide STEM graduates in the right direction, with the best teaching methods.
This annual 2021 STEM conference will be held virtually, with hopes that participants can return to in-person networking in 2022.
Registration for the AACU STEM conference can be completed online. The conference is scheduled for Nov. 4 – Nov. 6, 2021. No refunds will be made for cancellations after Oct. 14, 2021. Early-bird registration rate available.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is an organization that connects mathematics educators to share ideas, strategy, curriculum, and success stories. With this conference, NCTM plans on focusing its efforts to empower teachers with strong voices to fight for causes that affect the mathematics outcomes in their district as well as the nation. Their agenda addresses not just best teaching practices, but also inequities, social justice in the classroom, and nurturing the identities of every type of early mathematics learner.
This is an in-person event scheduled for Sept. 22 – Sept. 25, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. The Early Bird Registration deadline is August 2, 2021. Registration for this STEM education conference can be completed online.
This conference is organized by the American Society for Engineering Educators. The 2021 event is right around the corner at the end of July 2021, but the 2022 conference is already taking off. This will be a gathering of influential keynote speakers, distinguished presenters, and professionals with a vested interest in the outcome of Engineering Education practices.
Registration for the 2021 convention at the end of July 2021 is still currently active, so registration for 2022 isn’t yet active. The 2022 conference is scheduled for June 26 – June 29, 2022. It will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. There is an early-bird registration rate that you can take advantage of.
2021-22 STEM Conference Calendar
There are literally hundreds of area, regional, national, and even international STEM conferences for teachers. They range in subject matter, duration and price, but are always loaded with exhibits and presentations filled with inspiration, best practices in education, and leadership value. Check out some of the conferences in our calendar and broaden your STEM horizons today. Renew your passion, and invigorate your curriculum by leaning on a community of fellow educators at some of the biggest STEM education conferences 2021 has to offer.
|Hosting Organization||Conference Title||Registration& Info Link||Dates||Location|
|NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)||Empowering the Voice of Teachers: From Critical Conversations to Intentional Actions||NCTM Annual Meeting Link||September 22-25, 2021||Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia World Congress Center
|Carnegie Learning||Long + Live + Math||Long + Live + Math Virtual Institute Info Link||July 19-22, 2021||Virtual Event|
|NCSM (National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics)||Amplify Bold Mathematics Leadership||53rd Annual NCSM Conference Registration Link||September 20-22, 2021||Atlanta, Georgia|
|CAMT (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching)||Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching||CAMT Registration Link||July 19-21, 2021||Virtual Event|
|NSTA (National Science Teachers Association)||STEM21||NSTA STEM21 Conference Link||July 26 – July 30, 2021||Virtual Event|
|NABT (National Association of Biology Teachers)||2021 NABT Professional Development Conference||NABT Conference Registration Link||November 11 – 14, 2021||Atlanta, Georgia|
|NABT (National Association of Biology Teachers)||2022 NABT Professional Development Conference||NABT Conference Registration Link||November 10 – 13, 2022||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers)||2021 Summer Meeting (Virtual)||AAPT Summer Meeting Registration Link 2021||July 31 – Aug. 1, 2021||Virtual Event|
|AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers )||2022 Winter Meeting (In-Person)||AAPT Winter Meeting Information||January 8 – January 11, 2022||New Orleans, LA
|CASE (California Association of Science Educators)||2021 California Science Education Experience||CSEE Conference Registration Link|
|NARST (National Association for Research in Science Teaching)||Unity and Inclusion for Global Scientific Literacy. Invite as a Community. Unite as a Community||NARST Annual Conference Information Link||March 27 – March 30, 2022||Vancouver, BC|
|ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education )||The Sun Above, The Future Ahead||ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Registration Link||July 26 – July 29, 2021||Virtual Event|
|ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education )||ASEE Annual Conference 2022||ASEE Annual Conference Information Link||June 26 – June 29, 2022||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|FIE (Frontiers in Education)||Envisioning Convergence in Engineering Education||FIE 2021 Registration Information Link||October 13 – October 16, 2021||Lincoln, Nebraska|
|ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)||ISTE Live 22
Empowering Educators. Elevating Equity.
|ISTE Live 22 Conference Link||June 26-29, 2022||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference)||FETC 2022||FETC 2022 Conference Registration Link||January 25-28, 2022||Orange County Convention Center, Florida|
|ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association)||Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy: The Role of Technology and Engineering in STEM Education – Keys to Success!||ITEEA Registration Information Link||March 9 – March 12, 2022||Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center
|SIGCSE (Special Interest Group for Computer Science Education)||53rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education||ACM Technical Symposium Information Link||March 2 – March 5, 2022||Providence, Rhode Island|
|AACU (American Association of Colleges and Universities)||Transforming STEM Higher Education||AACU 2021 Virtual Conference Registration Link||November 4 – November 6, 2021||Virtual Event|
|Steve Spangler||Science In The Rockies; A Steve Spangler STEM Experience||Science in the Rockies LIVE event 2022 Information Link||Summer 2022||Denver, Colorado|
|SSMA (School Science and Mathematics Association)||SSMA Annual Convention||SSMA Annual Convention Registration Link||October 28 – 30, 2021||Virtual Event|
Key Takeaways About STEM Education Conferences
No matter your discipline, or the grade level you teach – there are conferences out there just for you. You can find them locally, or nationally for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – or a combination of disciplines.
Finding inspiration in a community of educators just like yourself might be just what you need to reignite your passion for educating young people. Get ideas, information, tips and tricks from teachers who have seen success with their methods. Doing so will also serve to enrich the classroom experience for your students as you bring those things into your teaching tool kit.
Today’s conferences even tackle the tough topics in the modern classroom. Keynote speakers, presenters and leaders don’t shy away from discussing things like underserved groups in STEM, inequities in the classroom, and gender bias in STEM education and professions. Systematically bringing down barriers to STEM for every type of learner takes time. But these STEM conferences for teachers are starting to intentionally set aside slots to address these pressing issues. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but STEM Education Conferences are helping educators take steps closer to bridging the achievement gap in STEM every day.