In this 21st century with an ever-changing and increasingly complex world, it’s crucial than ever that we prepare to bring the proper knowledge and skills to solve problems, make real sense of information, and also know how to make decisions backed with proper gathering and evaluation of evidence.
These are the kinds of skills that students develop in STEM Education if we really want a nation where the future leaders and workers have the ability to understand and solve complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and also to meet the demands of our dynamic and evolving workforce, building students’ skills, literacy, and fluency in STEM fields is essential.
What is STEM Education?
STEM basically stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. As we know science is everywhere in the world around us and technology is pervading every part of our lives as it is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives (homes, cars, medical etc.). Some might think Engineering is just the basic design of roads and bridges, but Engineering is more than this it also tackles the challenges of changing global weather and environmentally-friendly changes to our various homes. Mathematics is in every occupation; carpentry, architecture, etc., in every activity we do in our lives.
By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully open them to the world of endless possibilities and opportunities.
There is also an introduction of Arts to STEM to create STEAM which brings about incorporating creative thinking and applied arts in real situations. Art isn’t just about working in a studio. Art is about discovering and creating ingenious ways of problem-solving, integrating principles, or presenting information.
Why is STEM Education Important?
STEM education promotes and enhanced the way we work and solve problems in our daily lives, making it an exceptional way of instructing and learning. With STEM we are teaching skills the way they will be used in the real world. Most times our jobs require more than one skill set like math. For instance, an architect, they use engineering, science, math, and technology to do their jobs.
It is important for a student or an individual to know that the subjects we study in school do not work on their own, instead they are interwoven together in practical and in seamless ways allowing the architect to design complex buildings.
So we need to educate children on how these subjects integrate and work together. They need to develop diverse skills sets and a passion for exploration and growth. Children don’t need to memorize random facts anymore; all these facts are just at our fingertips now with a button click. Education is no longer about memorizing facts, very boring, instead it is about learning how to think critically and evaluate information, how to apply knowledge, research skills to problem-solving. These skills need to be taught in an applied way, as part of a greater whole, rather than the traditional approach of the individual subject.
In this 21st century, there are 4 keys to proper education, they are sometimes referred to as the 4C’s, which are:
- Critical Thinking
STEM covers all of that with just a program.
Problem with STEM Education
One of the biggest problems especially in our country Nigeria for instance, about STEM education is the lack of resources. Getting funding for the newest technology, training on how to use the new technology, and in addition to that the knowledge of how to use it effectively as a learning tool, are all areas where teachers or educators and as well the students’ struggles.
Another area where a lot of students struggle is with an educational system that is focused on assessment and grades rather than a program that fosters innovation, creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills. These achievements are not something that can be easily boxed up and assessed. Which is one of the reasons we have many dropouts making their names for themselves because they are not limited by what their teachers prepared for them some years back. Some schools are still using the lecture note they used some decades ago.
How to get your children interested in STEM Education
The best way to foster children’s love for STEM education is to encourage their curiosity, children are always curiosity that’s why they come with lots of questions sometimes, and STEM aligns so much with the way the children’s minds learn and work from a very early age. From a young age encourage kids to question, explore, and to play. Help them find their passions and also chase those passions. Even if it changes from week to week, which is perfectly normal, at that age. Encourage it, you will be surprised where the children can go when they become passionate about learning.
From preschool to elementary to middle school and finally, high school, STEM and STEAM education will help children become innovative adults with exceptional critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Skills that our future generations will need in our increasingly technology-driven world.
The Future of STEM Education
Innovation leads to the creation of new products and processes that sustain our economy. This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas. It is clear that most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of these STEM components, so to get ahead we need to find a way to promote our STEM Education program and also make the resources available and the funding platform ready. In order to compete in a global economy, STEM education and careers must be a national priority.
Ready to jumpstart your career in STEM?
When you are ready to get started with STEM, all you need is the right educational program, just find a STEM program that is suited for you. Our traditional classroom, online, and hybrid learning situations make STEM training accessible to virtually anyone anywhere in the world.
In conclusion, STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.