• 5 min read

Exciting STEM-focused professional learning

Educators often search for professional learning experiences that explore how STEM concepts and tools can be embedded into the classroom in meaningful, intentional, and academically engaging ways. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming.

Educators often search for professional learning experiences that explore how STEM concepts and tools can be embedded into the classroom in meaningful, intentional, and academically engaging ways. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, Microsoft is dedicated to supporting educators as they learn, by providing various tools to help them incorporate STEM at their own pace and comfort level.

The Microsoft Learn Educator Center provides free, self-paced opportunities that offer entry points for educators wanting to embrace STEM activities regardless of their previous experience.

Build skills and confidence with the Microsoft Learn Educator Center

The Microsoft Learn Educator Center training resources offer great support to educators wanting to learn more about integrating STEM into teaching and learning. Opportunities include engaging with interactive lessons, earning professional development hours, and validating your learning with one of many available industry certifications. In Learn, educators can choose from Modules and Learning Paths to personalize their learning experience.

Modules allow educators to explore a specific task or topic of their choice. Designed to stand alone, these easy entry points to learning consist of units that provide a broad view to quickly understand the purpose and benefits of that topic or task. Modules often include videos, tasks, reflection, and resources. 

Educators looking for a more in-depth, guided exploration of a topic can choose from a variety of Learning Paths. Learning Paths are a collection of Modules that provide a deep dive into what you need to understand a concept and actively start using the tools.

MakeCode: Coding + video games = lots of fun  

Microsoft MakeCode: A free online platform where anyone can learn to code by building games, coding devices, and modding Minecraft. The graphic includes overlapping Minecraft images.

For educators looking to get started incorporating computer science into their curriculum, Microsoft MakeCode is a great educational platform to teach students basic coding concepts. Read more about how you can encourage students to develop an interest in computer science with MakeCode. The following MakeCode Learn Modules and Pathways are a great way to get started exploring engaging STEM tools and resources for classroom teaching and learning: 

Utilize MakeCode Arcade in the classroom

Games are an excellent way to integrate STEM learning, specifically computer science, into the classroom. MakeCode makes it easy to engage students in creative activities that introduce them to computer science concepts and develop their coding skills.

  • What to expect: This module identifies the benefits of coding and computer science in the classroom. Learn how to navigate the easy-to-use MakeCode Arcade interface and plan lessons using MakeCode Arcade skillmaps and resources.
  • Module length: 42 mins; 6 modules
  • Tool focus: MakeCode

Engage learners through games with MakeCode Arcade

Are your students’ gamers? Even if you know nothing about video game design, MakeCode is an easy way to support a progression path into real-world programming through game-based learning.

  • What to expect: This Module identifies the benefits of using games in education, describes the functionality of MakeCode Arcade, and explores skillmaps that educators can use to guide student learning. Learn the benefits of game-based learning and how games are used in MakeCode Arcade to help students develop computer science skills.
  • Module length: 1 hour; 8 units
  • Tool focus: MakeCode

Support student learning with MakeCode Arcade

Computer science concepts and skills can support student learning both in coding and non-coding classes. As students engage in coding with MakeCode, they learn to use critical and creative thinking, develop problem solving skills, and work collaboratively.

  • What to expect: This module outlines how to use MakeCode Arcade to teach computer science concepts and skills. Explore how to integrate skillmaps into core-content areas to support students’ learning.
  • Module length: 35 min; 8 units
  • Tool focus: MakeCode

Minecraft: Education Edition: Take STEM and computer science learning to the next level

Microsoft Learn Educator Center, featuring sections on educator training and professional development, including STEM, coding, and esports courses.

Minecraft: Education Edition is a game-based learning platform that supports creative, inclusive learning through play. Engage students with fun, standards aligned content that supports a variety of subjects, including STEM and Computer Science. You can sign up for free virtual trainings on the Minecraft: Education Edition website including cohorts on teaching coding and esports with Minecraft. In addition, you can find these Minecraft modules on the Microsoft Learn Educator Center:

Intro coding in Minecraft: Education Edition

Block coding is an easy entry point for anyone new to coding, and students love to see their code come to life in Minecraft the world. It uses easy-to-understand blocks that look like puzzle pieces and snap together to build code. Block coding can effectively teach computer science concepts such as algorithms, variables, conditional logic, and code comprehension.

  • What to expect: This module introduces educators to teaching block coding using MakeCode in Minecraft: Education Edition. Explore the basics using the in-game coding feature called Code Builder, a sure way to engage your students in learning computational thinking.
  • Module length: 59 min; 11 units
  • Tool focus: Minecraft Education Edition, MakeCode

Minecraft Teacher Academy

This new Learning Path offers 3 one-hour Modules that will help any educator learn how to teach with Minecraft: Education Edition. By the end of the first hour (Minecraft 101) you’ll be ready to teach a lesson!

  • What to expect: The Modules have three levels intended for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. After completing this Learning Path, educators become a Minecraft Certified Teacher and receive the badge as well as an invitation to join the Minecraft Certified Teacher community.
  • Learning path length: 3.5 hours; 3 Modules
  • Tool focus: Minecraft Education Edition

Microsoft Esports Teacher Academy (META)

New to esports? Microsoft Esports Teacher Academy (META) teaches the role of esports in education and career pathways, how to integrate esports in educational settings, and how to build a thriving esports program.

  • What to expect: This Learning Path features 4 modules that offer an immersive exploration of Minecraft: Education Edition. In addition, it prepares educators to develop their own esports program and create a tournament.
  • Learning path length: 3 hours; 4 Modules
  • Tool Focus: Minecraft Education Edition
  • META Instructor Led Training – sign up for our upcoming virtual cohort— starting January 23, 2023 – 4 weeks of one-hour instructor led sessions where you can earn your Certified Esports Leaders badge as a group.

Unlock and develop STEM interest in all learners

A student coding a game in front of a computer, with game controllers visible on the desk.

In addition to MakeCode and Minecraft, you can find other great resources on the Microsoft Learn Educator Center designed to help create diverse and inclusive STEM learning environments for all students:

Close the STEM gap by engaging girls

Women are underrepresented and often overlooked when it comes to STEM opportunities. Educators who are interested in creating excitement and inspiring young women to pursue STEM will love this module.

  • What to expect: This Module introduces educators to research and resources that support STEM education for girls. Learn to create conditions for STEM learning and context for applications to authentically engage women.
  • Module length: 39 mins; 10 units
  • Tool focus: Microsoft Teams, MakeCode, Minecraft Education Edition

Kickstart your professional development using the Microsoft Learn Educator Center to access STEM topics and more!