My Vision For the Future of STEM Education
STEM is ever present in all parts of daily life in the modern world. And, STEM jobs are more in demand every day, expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. However, STEM education in the U.S. has a long way to go. According to the latest PISA results, the United States is average in science and reading compared to the rest of the world. Additionally, the U.S. scored below average in mathematics.
To compete with global education leaders and produce STEM workers, American schools need to improve the way STEM education is approached. My vision for the Future of STEM education is for the United States to take the reins of innovation and start competing globally.
To compete with the rest of the world, U.S. children need to be efficiently introduced to STEM learning at an early age. While some programs have embraced early STEM learning, the application is not widespread or regulated to provide consistent results. My vision for the future of STEM education includes programs in Pre-K facilities which follow a uniform curriculum. Incorporation of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics as early as preschool will prepare children for more advanced subjects in later education. Today’s children are more familiar with technology than any prior generation; I believe we need to embrace that familiarity to support early STEM learning.
The inclusion of hands-on learning activities in STEM education is paramount to facilitate student engagement. Additionally, children must have the opportunity to learn through failure and exploration. My vision for the future of STEM learning includes making learning fun for students through engaging activities and lessons. One such activity, which can be incorporated throughout K-12 STEM learning, is robotics. Robotics is hands-on and encourages problem-solving and risk-taking in students.
Students need to be encouraged to participate in STEM learning and pursue careers in the field. A great way to do that is through the tackling of real-world problems in educational settings. In my vision for the future of STEM education, students will continually be called upon to ponder real-world issues, like global warming or food shortages. STEM educators will encourage students to explore global challenges and find solutions through science, technology, engineering, and math.
The engagement of U.S. children in STEM education is the key to companies filling an estimated 9 million jobs in the industry by 2022. Time can only tell how many STEM careers will be created in the years that follow. However, it’s up to everyone to ensure that American students are prepared to compete for those spots.
With the commitment of parents, teachers, and communities we can offer a more inclusive and effective STEM education to children. While improving STEM learning may seem like a lofty goal, the Every Student Succeeds Act has provided support for the idea. It’s now up to us to make the changes necessary to realize a vision of better STEM education for American students.
What programs do you want to see incorporated in your local schools? Are you a STEM teacher, working on the frontlines to improve education? We want to hear your opinions and ideas.