STEM is a word that has been tossed around social media and the Internet like a beach ball. Indeed, it is a concept in education that many a teacher, lecturer, policy maker and parent are talking about. In this article we’ll define STEM, analyze why STEM education is important, and briefly discuss what impact it is having, and will have, on education.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym that represents an amalgamation of the following subjects— Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
An article on STEMgobble.com entitled, ‘STEM – What is the Fuss About?’, explains why the integration of these subjects makes sense— “Mathematics is the language that the universe “speaks”. Science refers to the method by which we collect these “words”, interpret them, and derive meaning from them. Engineering and technology are two of the main areas in which this information is applied, in some useful way or for the betterment of society.” In other words, the overlap is deemed to be significant enough, and indeed worthwhile enough, to combine all four subjects into one, single interdisciplinary approach.
STEM education, as succinctly summarized in an article on Phys.org, focuses on how to implement the best practices for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In educational STEM programs or curricula, these subjects are taught as one overarching concept, as opposed to teaching them as discrete subjects, as has often been the case.
Why is STEM Education Important?
In the US, as was elaborated on in our blog entitled, ‘The State of STEM Education in the United States’, fewer than 4 in 10 students who begin college intent on majoring in a STEM subject actually complete a degree in that field.
Why should this worry us? Because it is estimated by the US Department of Commerce that STEM jobs will have grown by 17% between 2008 and 2018, as opposed to 9.8% growth in non-STEM related fields.
According to the article by STEMgobble.com, cited earlier, STEM education, therefore, “is really a solution to a problem. The problem is an enormous shortfall of students studying STEM-related subjects, meaning there is a looming shortage of qualified workers in fields such as technology and engineering.” Indeed, the primary goal of STEM is to bring kids up to speed on the skills and knowledge most relevant, enabling and powerful in today’s society, producing citizens who are skilled up and ready to fill the void.
But STEM education is more than that. STEM education focuses on nurturing curiosity, problem-solving, critical thinking and ingenuity. STEM education programs also help to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps sometimes found in math and science fields. It’s clear why STEM education is receiving so much attention.
What Does It All Mean for the Future of Education?
In a nutshell, it means a growing emphasis on STEM education initiatives, enhanced teaching and learning practices, more blended and cross-curricular learning, and rapidly improving STEM-related programs and learning resources. And that’s where MakePi comes in…
The MakePad is all about bringing kids up to speed on the skills and knowledge most relevant, enabling and powerful in today’s society. It is a DIY tablet that will effortlessly teach your kids how to code, a skill that opens a door to many opportunities. Furthermore, the MakePad nurtures curiosity, problem-solving critical thinking and ingenuity. We are also helping educators bridge the gaps often found in STEM related fields.
All in all, our mission is very much aligned with the primary goals of STEM education. You can support us in our quest to achieve our mission by signing up and getting your MakePad here. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.