Kurt Nostrant, a science teacher at Athens Middle School, is working with the STEAM program to investigative the effectiveness of digital simulation integration into the science curriculum. Mr. Nostrant has always been a fan of science since his earliest years. Growing up around a family of educators, the teaching bug was quickly passed onto Nostrant. Even when coaching or umpiring baseball, mentoring children was always something that Nostrant treasured. It is little surprise that he decided to choose a career in education.
While attending Ohio University’s College of Education, Nostrant had a science methods class that he enjoyed so much that it lead him to the field of science education. He continues both his love for teaching and science to this day. His true passion in science is the physical realm: Physics and Newton’s laws are the topics that he loves to teach the most because they offer a more hands-on approach to science and allow the students to see and understand the interaction of elements.
Overall, Mr. Nostrant feels that a teacher must have a strong work ethic. “A teacher must be willing to put in the time and energy necessary to create and design remarkable lessons, have good communication and intrapersonal skills. Finally, a teacher must have the ability to integrate ideas and lessons into a rich tapestry of knowledge and experience,” says Nostrant. It is obvious that he exemplifies all of these qualities, and Nostrant’s students are lucky to have such a dedicated educator in their lives.
The curriculum has changed a lot in the years he has been teaching, with curriculum taking on a more generalized spectrum of topics. Nostrant believes that students do not have the time to draw and develop deep connections between topics because they are bombarded with information and are not given an opportunity to explore any topic at any great depth. Furthermore, Mr. Nostrant believes that his translates to a feeling of less ownership over curriculum, which in turn leads to less impassioned teachers because they are limited to what they can teach and how long they can teach a certain topic. Sadly, this change has negatively affected science education for both teachers and students.
“In the future, curriculum will be more technologically-based,” says Nostrant. He believes that the STEAM simulations will play a part in education, but there must be conceptual framework for the students to work with and build with for the simulation to be meaningful and successfully assimilated into their practical knowledge. So far, the STEAM games have made a small change in his classroom, but the future certainly looks bright upon the integration of more simulations.