Our academic system is responsible for preparing the next generation to act as essential cogs in the wheel of life. Most of these next-generation cogs will work in various areas such as research, architecture, technology, finance, marketing, and many more areas that further human development. One of the leading academic systems that get talked about most is STEM education.
What Does STEM Stand for?
STEM is an abbreviation that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Why STEM Degrees?
STEM fields of studies came increasingly under the microscope as being forces of economic development in many U.S research papers. This intense scrutiny and interest led to the formation of the acronym STEM by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as per an article in Britannica. This field is so important that the U.S. gives special preference to international students pursuing education in STEM areas at U.S. universities. In a report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which the congress requested, a pre-eminent committee laid out several recommendations for federal policymakers. This inclusion increased America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education and inviting and retaining top students, scientists, and engineers from both the U.S. and abroad. This report’s measures enabled the U.S to create a blueprint for a future workforce ready to meet changing economic needs in a world where skills and knowledge are imparted among masses of populations with low-cost availability of labor. The STEM-based education system was thus the result of a comprehensive and coordinated federal effort to boost U.S. competitiveness worldwide urgently.
What is STEM Education?
So, what is STEM Education? STEM Education is coursework and curriculum with an emphasis on subjects related to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. Instead of teaching these subjects separately, STEM education combines them into an integrated educational experience. At a higher educational level, several degrees are considered as STEM degrees.
Here are some STEM degrees:
- Science Degrees – Biology, Physics, Astronomy, Health Sciences, etc.
- Technology Degrees – Computer Science and all its branches
- Engineering Degrees – Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, etc.
- Math Degrees – Mathematics, Statistics, etc.
What is STEM School?
The University of Chicago developed The STEM School Study that explains the eight guiding elements required in a STEM school.
- Problem-Based Learning
- Rigorous Learning
- School Community and Belonging
- Career, Technology, and Life Skills
- Personalization of Learning
- External Community
The remaining two are supporting and contributing Elements:
- Staff Foundations
- Essential Factors
To put it merely, STEM schools employ learning as a collaborative and project-based experience where students work in simulated environments to solve real-life problems. Getting equipped to discover one’s problem-solving skills through experiential and collaborative learning is at the core of any real STEM school.
Teachers don’t always give students; instead, they act as facilitators to help learners navigate their way to seek the correct answer. This exploratory nature of learning hones research and scientific outlook in a learner’s psyche and naturally builds their inclination towards Science, Technology, and Mathematics.
“Where does this leave the humanities discipline of studies?” you may ask. Well, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math subjects in a STEM school are intelligently woven into other areas of the curriculum, with courses such as the “History of Science” or “Environmental History.”
In a nutshell, the increasing predominance of science, math, technology, and engineering in the academic curriculum attracts more students. It keeps them engrossed throughout their elementary, high school, and college years, thus creating a much better-equipped workforce for the future.
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