STEM Education is lately gaining a lot of steam and for all the right reasons. The basic core of STEM means a strand in the academic track that focuses on multidisciplinary subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. But lately, STEM Education is emerging as a cohesive platform that applies approach and offers learning experiences and methodologies for students largely based on real-world examples rather than pure textbook theoretical information. STEM Education is revolutionizing learning in the sense that it forms the base and fortifies the foundational stage of a myriad of disciplines from aviation to healthcare, automobile, sales, and more.
As part of the study by the US Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at a rapid rate of 24% as compared to non-STEM occupations which have a 4% growth rate. As most occupations are directly or indirectly dependent on STEM learning, STEM Education largely contributes to the global knowledge-based economy. These compelling factors are the reasons to not only inculcate and integrate STEM learning into the school curriculum but also generate a well-trained force of skilled STEM experts to assist the students. This STEM Day, we decided to talk about the importance of STEM education, the need for skilled STEM educators, the integration of STEM in society, and more. Read on to find out more.
Integrating STEM in Early School
Integrating STEM Education at the earliest stage in students is of imperative importance as children are considered the future of tomorrow. And a well-rounded foundation of skills will not only help them thrive in a wide range of concepts and industries but will also help them in honing and contributing to the global knowledge-based economy index. Here’s listing a few reasons why STEM is important in schools-
Backbone of Civilization
As already alluded to before, STEM Education is revolutionizing the civilization and global knowledge economy, multiple steps at a time. Critical thinking and Innovation, which are the core ethics of STEM Learning, enable mental thinking and technological knowledge. This is imperative in shaping the development and evolution of the masses which ultimately elevates the status of STEM Learning in modern times.
Solid Intellectual Foundation
STEM Learning focuses on integrative learning and problem solving based on real-world applications which hone the intellectual foundation of the students at an early age. It also underpins the premise of multiple career opportunities for students that are as direct as engineers, scientists, inventors, etc., and as indirect as transportation, power generation, food production, and communication. All of these use advanced technology and science to function, which requires a solid intellectual appetite in the concerned workforce.
Better Learning Experience
The STEM approach of learning is a more hands-on and implementation way of learning rather than just textbook theories. This way is not only more fun but also increases the retention rate in students as they are more likely to remember what they have learned practically as compared to what they read in books. For example, the functioning of a pulley in Mechanics can be understood better with a demonstration of a pulley rather than by reading a few statements in the book.
Lastly, STEM Learning sharpens the mind and whets a more analytical mindset for students because it pushes them to think. This mindset proves much more productive, especially in the future, even when a child chooses to opt out of traditional STEM subjects and resorts to other fields. For example, math skills such as geometry and ratios can also come in handy if you take up interior designing as a profession.
Need for Skilled STEM Educators
As per a recent study, the STEM sector is expected to be one of the largest employers in the world owing to the myriad jobs opportunities rapidly propping up. STEM Learning forms the base of most career domains and it plays an important role in the flourishing of the economy. As per research, there has also been a rising demand and shortage of well-trained skilled STEM Educators in the world with the rising need for STEM Education. The soaring shortage of STEM staff also means that students are unsubscribing these programs at an alarming rate owing to the inefficient teaching methodologies and lack of skilled teachers.
As per a study done by Forbes, we are rapidly losing Einsteins and similar brains as ‘too many of our students don’t experience excellent STEM learning every year, PreK-12’. This gap between the top talent and trained teachers needs to be filled immediately to ‘strengthen our STEM dependent economy and drive innovation through diversity and equity.’
Shared STEM Vision in Schools
Each school has a different vision of STEM education as it is largely dependent on the perspective of the in-house teachers, their understanding and integration of the methodologies, community engagement, and the intervention from the higher school authorities. While it is alright to explore, consider and implement the curriculum and STEM vision of other school districts, it is imperative that your school shares a singular vision of STEM education. A shared vision not only helps in the long-term sustenance of the program but also helps the teachers to contribute through their own unique experiences which further helps the students.
Having a shared STEM Vision also helps teachers in identifying their personal areas of growth and learning that they would want to explore more in-depth. Small steps to improve STEM education and enable shared vision are:
- Add a STEM template to your lesson plans.
- Include some aspects of dividing strategies to solve problems in classroom activities.
- Invest time incorporating STEM in the lessons in alignment with the learning objective.
- Help other teachers in realizing the STEM vision and discuss ways to improve the action plan.
STEM in Society
STEM Education plays a pivotal role in changing society as society is synonymous with the developing economy of a country. STEM Education not only helps in the intellectual, mental, and emotional growth of students, but lately, it is also the role of women in STEM that is leading towards better women empowerment and hence, better societies. The all-inclusive society reduces the stereotype gender and ethnic gap. Furthermore, it is producing more disciplined and smarter students. As per a study in the post of Washington, America’s public schools have had to suspend lesser students now as compared to a few years ago.
STEM Beyond Curriculum
Apart from the academic aspect, STEM education also helps in the holistic development of children. Research has shown that the students educated under STEM programs turn out to be more resourceful as they possess the ability to strategize and improvise life solutions. As the program engages students into exploring and learning by doing, students learn to make the best use of the available resources in a unique and effective manner as a side skill. Let’s keep in mind that including STEM Curriculum, we are helping children learn a plethora of life skills in addition to academic skills, which include:
- Critical thinking
Lastly, education cannot remain divorced from the real world and it would not be an understatement to say that education is the bridge between a child’s early phase of learning and his adult life. An effective STEM program not only helps academically but also professionally, economically, and socially. A collaborative effort of the teachers, students, and parents can help in further developing STEM education and yielding better results.
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