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NIU STEAM Virtual Summer Institute helps educators incorporate hands-on learning, even in the online classroom

June 15, 2020

Now, more than ever, teachers are concerned about engaging students and making learning relevant to them, whether that learning happens in school or at home, in person or online.

This July, NIU STEAM’s virtual summer institute will offer educators four weeks of flexible, interactive professional development to help them integrate STEAM learning into any subject. The virtual institute begins July 6, and educators can sign up for a single week for $50 or all four weeks for $175. Registration and more information are online at

STEAM refers to science, technology, engineering, art and math, but STEAM learning is more than just addressing each subject individually. Instead, according Kristin Brynteson, director of professional development for NIU STEAM, it is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that can be applied in any subject area.

“STEAM learning is about helping students follow their curiosity, promoting creativity, engaging in problem solving and making real world connections,” Brynteson says.

“We’ve been talking to teachers, she continues, “and we’ve found that STEAM learning and project-based learning (PBL) can be very well suited for an online or blended classroom, where students can work on different projects, either independently or with their classmates, exploring some of their own interests in a unique way.”

Attendees can expect to spend about six hours per week engaged in a blend of live sessions and self-paced activities. Each week will include a live panel discussion with classroom teachers, as well as an opportunity to work in small groups in a coaching situation with NIU STEAM team members.

The sessions include:

  • Week 1, July 6-10 – STEAMing it Up Anywhere: Tips and Strategies for Promoting STEAM Learning In and Out of the Classroom
  • Week 2, July 13-17 – STEAMing UP Math: Building Mathematical Practices through Authentic PBL
  • Week 3, July 20-24 – STEAM Stories: Connecting to STEAM through Literature, Narratives and Non-fiction
  • Week 4, July 27-31 – STEAM and SEL: Social Emotional Learning Using the NIU STEAM Essentials 

Registration and more information are available at With questions, contact Kristin Brynteson at [email protected].