Ever heard someone talk about having a career in STEM? In case you have not, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
STEM is like playing different sports only that this time around you do not get to choose which sport you prefer the most. This is because STEM education involves the integration of STEM into a single program that becomes relevant in the real world.
STEM education encompasses all aspects of our lives because science is seen and felt everywhere in the world; technology is now a major part of our lives; engineering is needed to transform our world into a global and environmentally friendly home, and mathematics has invaded every occupation.
A curriculum in STEM education will involve real-life situations that expose students to opportunities that ignite their passion for a career in the STEM field. What this means is that the students in STEM education ought to accept the wholeness of the program rather than focus on the discipline they find desirable to harness the full purpose of the project.
So instead of teaching four different courses with separate subjects, STEM incorporates them into a single program that can be applied in the real world. As you go further into this article, you will have more clarity on the purpose of STEM and what you stand to benefit from the program.
What You Should Know About STEM
STEM is majority focused on the key subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics however, science and math are majors. The difference between these four key subjects is that while engineering and technology involve creating which sounds like fun, science and math involve problem-solving and are not often regarded as fun.
Whichever the case may be, you have to be able to master all subjects as an integral part of STEM. However, this does not mean that STEM is beyond reach if you have struggled with these subjects in the past.
It just means that STEM will likely be more difficult for you than others. On the brighter side, you might find it easier to understand all subjects because of the practical way these subjects are taught in a STEM program.
In discovering the purpose of STEM, there are a few points you need to note.
#1. STEM Creates a New Learning Style
The integration of several courses into one discipline is a new style from the traditional method of learning. STEM has been able to create a platform that brings students of different disciplines together to solve a problem.
Here, you are supposed to know what the problem is and the best way to solve it. At this point, without being told your creative and flexible thinking nature comes into action. Well, this is one of the new learning styles STEM comes with
When situations like this arise, your ability to think for yourself rather than wait to be told what to do is what makes you successful in the STEM program. This expectation is not harsh on the student because, over time, they will be guided by STEM teachers on what to do when problems arise.
The ability to solve a problem quickly based on what you know and not just what you memorized is a new learning style.
#2. STEM Programs Involve Loads Of Work
The amount of study and homework usually given in STEM programs is no less different from other learning systems. STEM programs might even be tougher because it involves four disciplines.
STEM students are often assumed to be creative and gifted so STEM programs usually consist of extra workloads to cover extremely complex subjects. To succeed here, STEM students need to study for hours outside of the classroom.
Let us also go into the fact that STEM students can afford to be careless because a single mistake might mean that they have to start their work all over. Some people tend to believe that the workload is nothing compared to the career opportunities awaiting a STEM graduate.
Thinking about it, this thought might not be out of place because when a software developer with a STEM degree makes a coding error, the outcome can be very disastrous. This is why the extra workload should only feel like preparation in the higher stress zone.
#3. STEM Helps Students Approach Education In An Active Manner
No one approaches a STEM program to the end that they remain passive with their “4-in-1” degree. I mean, why study about building robots if I cannot make robots that obey my commands?
Now you have an idea of what it means to approach education actively, STEM trains students to do real-life work in an active way that involves discipline and mastery.
Benefits Of STEM Education
Having discussed some of the purposes of STEM in our society at large, we can now consider the benefits of STEM education. Some of them include the following:
#1. Critical Thinking
A STEM student can critically think about any problem, obstacle, or question they may encounter. This is because the education curriculum specializes in making students skilled thinkers that can provide the best solution wherever they go.
Critical thinking leads to creativity and innovation that will be used to analyze problems that will be useful in all aspects of human life beyond the classroom.
STEM projects believe in challenging the minds of students and encouraging them to try new things. It is believed that when students that have either gone through the project or are presently doing do think outside the box, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
In a world where everyone is thinking about ways to come up with new things, STEM education trains students to be technologically literate.
#3. Project Management
STEM students are trained with skills in project management by engaging themselves in projects and assignments. In STEM programs, towards the end of a school project students master skills in leadership, time management, and communication which are all essential skills needed to take over the real world.
These student projects build accountability and self-motivation that will benefit them in their future academic pursuits and careers.
STEM projects involve a lot of teamwork because students must work together to solve problems, conduct experiments, and create a final product. Also, class assignments help students discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As a result, students can now work together with classmates who have different strengths toward a common goal.
Students also learn to actively listen to their teammates’ ideas and suggestions while appreciating their diverse ways of thinking. Teamwork teaches students about communication skills that are necessary to thrive in group settings, both in and beyond the classroom.
The ability to solve problems, complete projects, and explore new ideas gives students a strong sense of achievement. In the end, this brings a sense of achievement and confidence.
STEM students are confident that their ideas are worth pursuing. This is the mindset everyone needs to build towards achieving success. By accepting the challenges of a STEM curriculum, students are left with no choice but to help build faith in themselves and their abilities, which will serve them well in the real world and beyond the classroom.
#6. Creativity is Encouraged in STEM
STEM education is much more than just memorizing facts about math and science and building predetermined projects. The STEM curriculum encourages its student’s creativity by allowing them to use their imagination and come up with original ideas.
From brainstorming, students can use creative techniques to come up with new ideas and new ways to bring their ideas to life. A STEM education gives students the freedom to think outside the box and experiment with novel ideas, which leads to innovations and ways of doing things.
#7. STEM Education Creates Problem Solving Opportunities
In STEM students are encouraged to utilize their creativity and strategize ways to come up with solutions not only for their classwork but also for real-world applications and passion projects.
Students have several platforms available to test their different approaches to problem-solving, for learning from their failures, and for gaining resilience.
The experience gotten from STEM education will push students to work harder to achieve successful outcomes. Your students will learn that no problem is too big to solve as long as they work hard and don’t give up.
#8. Scientific Literacy
The STEM curriculum teaches scientific literacy Not only will students come to understand mathematical concepts, coding, the scientific method, and digital literacy, but they will also learn how to conduct research and assess sources for quality information.
STEM education helps students develop strategies to intelligently analyze whatever problem they face, allowing them to make informed decisions and come to better conclusions. Being scientifically literate is a major component of becoming a responsible world citizen, and students will continually acknowledge this information in their everyday lives, no matter what they ultimately do for a living.
#9. Social-Emotional Learning Intersections
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is just as important as academic learning, and in a STEM curriculum, students gain both. In learning how to effectively collaborate and communicate with others, a STEM education pushes students to not only engage in personal growth but learn how to work with each other and appreciate differences and other points of view.
STEM education creates a supportive environment where students can help each other build up their strengths and work through their weaknesses. One thing this experience does is build emotional intelligence in students and emotional intelligence is just as important as intellectual intelligence. They will use the social-emotional skills they learn from the STEM program for the rest of their lives, both within and outside the professional sphere.
#10. Skills For a Changing World
The thinking patterns and soft skills students gain in STEM classes will help set them up for life in a world where technology is constantly changing and improving. As global challenges continue in the coming years, it is imperative to ensure the next generation is equipped with the tools to solve the world’s new and ongoing problems.
Someday, your students will see that the skills they gained in their STEM curriculum gave them the confidence and ability to tackle their own challenges head-on, and they will be grateful for it.
STEM education is one of the best ways to get a career immediately after college. This is because STEM education involves a huge amount of your time and hard work if you want to succeed. And as much as it is in our capacity to put in the extra time and work hard, much of being successful in a STEM program is a result of the student’s ability to stay focused on, curious, and actively interested in a subject.
After all these things are put in place, It is extremely unlikely that you will not succeed in both the program and career choice.