There is so much talk about STEM in education circles these days.
It is the buzzword of the decade. But what is it? STEM is simply an acronym for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The sudden focus on STEM education derives from the arising need to compete in the global economy and be at the forefront of innovation.
The modern world is a rapidly changing place.
Technology is developing at record breaking speed. This is not only making what was once impossible commonplace, it is changing the way we live and look to the future. A race to the top of new ideas and capabilities has become the hallmark of the tech industry. So, the educational system has sought ways to supply capable individuals to this phenomenon. Hence, the creation and focus of STEM education.
Building A Modern School–Science over Here, Math Down the Hall
With the intense focus on STEM, schools have been building up their science and math programs in an effort to provide a better education. Science lab rooms are under construction, course catalogs overflow with new courses in Engineering, Chemistry, higher level Math, and technology applications.
The desire for more and more has turned the liberal arts approach to education upside down. The requirements for graduation include more science and math courses than ever before. A new wing of the education system, technology education, has spread beyond just typing or using software to teaching coding and digital citizenship. Classes upon classes, room upon room, the push for an innovative education has remade the face of schooling around the world.
What About the Arts?
Science, Mathematics, anything technology related, these are all children need to know–right? Wrong, just as a bridge cannot stand without a foundation, innovation cannot happen without creativity. The bedrock of every good education is the arts and humanities.
Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing–the four Language Arts–are every bit as critical to engineers as to journalists. These are the skills that build up a culture and bind us together. The first two are necessary for collaboration and cohesive team work. The last two essential to learning and documenting discoveries.
Along with Language Arts, the Visual Arts of design and creativity bring the sciences to life. Engineering innovates the materials and methods, but art supplies the inspiration and beauty to architecture. Coding synthesizes the blueprint of an app but visual creativity make it appealing and user friendly. The arts and the sciences need each other. Without the arts, sciences create a gray, garish world of sci-fi horror stories. Without sciences, artistic pursuits never get off the page and into history.
Welcome to the Real World
Just as the arts are integral to scientific advancement, so is the integration of education. STEM education was never meant to mean a few more lab rooms and a list of mathematics requirements. Like eliminating arts, this is missing the overarching goal of the STEM approach. By integrating the subjects together in real world applications, students are given the roots and wings to soar in the current climate of global, rapid, technology advancement.
The opportunity to learn these skill sets and disciplines is vital to a good education, but should not mean simply tacking on more. In the world of innovation, working together with people of all disciplines, using the knowledge learned from all coursework is what fuels the advancements of tomorrow. One People, One Planet
How do you build a bridge? With mutual respect, understanding, and firm foundations of education.
How can you bring the world of education together to lead to a brighter future?