Online Learning: The Lifeblood of GenDIY

As Mickey Revenaugh recently pointed out, access to advanced digital tools is a vital imperative for GenDIY. When it comes to studying STEM, online tools, communities, and resources are essential for students as they take control of their learning. For GenDIY, in most cases, connectivity is the lifeblood of learning. Many students suggest that internet access is a student right. “We need high speed internet access, devices, and up-to-date software in our schools, and we need it today,” said Erik Martin, Chief Editor of

In this blog that first appeared on, Beth Werrell shares resources for GenDIY students looking to improve their STEM skills.

Online Resources to Foster Students’ STEM Interests at Home

Beth Werrell

More and more students who are part of Generation Do-It-Yourself—millennials—are charting their own education paths, working toward the careers they want in their own way. Some pathways for these GenDIYers include taking part in online or blended learning, pursuing dual enrollment, building their own brands through social media, and taking on internships that support their career goals.

One way DIY learners are diving into STEM-related topics is through online educational tools, resources, challenges, and forums. The Internet provides a vault of free online STEM-related resources to foster students’ interests. Here are a few ways your child can pursue STEM interests from the comfort of your home.

Make Learning Interactive

There is an abundance of online quizzes, games, and courses related to STEM online. These interactive tools can help children nurture their interests in any of STEM’s subcategories through problem solving, exploration, and innovation. has compiled a very comprehensive online resource guide for students based on their particular interests, goals, and age. The site includes a section for girls.

Enter Fairs, Contests, and Challenges

Location is no longer an issue for students looking to showcase their talents and compete against others in national and international STEM contests. Students can easily find unique challenges such as the Future City Competition, which allows students from across the country to design the future of cities such as Phoenix, Arizona, or fairs like the Google Science Fair, a worldwide science and technology competition for teams ages 13 to 18.

Join an Online Community

Thanks to online communities, students can collaborate with industry leaders and other students from across the country. Websites like offer online forums and opportunities to participate in interviews with scientists and mathematicians. Cogito also aggregates relevant news articles, blogs, and essays, and provides a database of academic programs and competitions.

Start or Find Clubs and Organizations

Students can find, participate in, and start clubs in their area using online networks such as the Arizona STEM Network or by consulting step-by-step guides on how to start a STEM club, complete with information about funding, activities, and more. Some online school students may also have access to school clubs hosted by their virtual school.

Create Home-Based Experiments

Household-friendly STEM experiments aren’t hard to come by online. Combined with the right curriculum, these can pique students’ interests in different STEM topics. These experiments can range in difficulty from kindergarten through 12th grade level. They can be as simple as creating a homemade Rube Goldberg machine or testing the effectiveness of sunscreen. This way, students can continue to hone their specific interests as their education becomes more advanced.

If you are looking for opportunities to further your STEM education beyond schoolwork, any of the resources mentioned above would be a great way to get started. There are opportunities everywhere, so take advantage of them and never stop learning!

This blog is part of our GenDIY project. To contribute a blog, ask a question, or for more information, email [email protected] with the subject “GenDIY.” For more information about the project see Tell Your Story: Do-It-Yourself Pathways From School to Career as well as other blogs:

Beth Werrell writes for the Virtual Learning Connections blog. Follow Beth on Twitter, @BethWerrell.

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Getting Smart loves its varied and ranging staff of guest contributors. From edleaders, educators and students to business leaders, tech experts and researchers we are committed to finding diverse voices that highlight the cutting edge of learning.

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