STEM Improves With Five Steps

July 9, 2013

How do you define science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education? It's a simple question that continues to stump the education community.

How do you define science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education? It's a simple question that continues to stump the education community.

According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, "'STEM Education' is defined in many ways by different groups, and this causes questions to arise as K-12 educators are told that their work is key to ensuring that the United States remains competitive in the global market."

That's a lot of weight for educators to bare on their shoulders. The 21st centrury skill set is one where a single individual can be a "jack of all trades." The same should be recognized for STEM disciplines. These do not exist separately from one another. It takes a sum of all to truly be effective in today's workforce. So that takes us to the challenge of implementing this type of education in classrooms.

We cannot solely bare the responsibility or providing positive, creative opportunities for
STEM students only in a classroom. It is important in all aspects of life to combine STEM disciplines and skills through engagement on many levels.

"Ultimately, STEM literacy means that a student possesses the ability to apply understanding of how the world works within and across the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math," according to the National Governor's Association. "STEM literacy is an interdisciplinary area of study that bridges the four areas; it does not simply mean achieving literacy in each of these strands or silos. A STEM-literate student also is experienced in problem-solving, analytical, communication and technology skills."

The implementation of STEM programs is much more difficult than society recognizes. There are many barriers, as well as a variety of interpretations of the acronym, that prevent the success of STEM education. While teachers and administrators continue to struggle with conflicting requests for education priorities, they are still required to provide integrated and collaborative approaches to STEM education.

SmartBlog-Education drew a list of what they believe are the five steps to STEM effectiveness:

  • Create a common, working definition of STEM
  • Provide teachers and administrators the time and flexibility to collaborate
  • Identify and address ingrained barriers to improving STEM equity and instruction
  • Engage outside partners early -- industry, post-secondary, and policy makers want programs to succeed
  • Don't get hung up on the acronym

Do you agree or disagree with this blog? I want to know your take on STEM education and how you think teachers and society should be implementing innovating and motivating programs.

Sarah Cechowski is the associate digital editor for Control Design and Industrial Networking. Email her at [email protected] or check out her Google+ profile.