Nowadays, when it comes to education, in addition to the current theme “The New Ukrainian School” we can often hear a short but resounding word – STEM (sometimes STEAM). For the past few years, this word has been used by educators and people who care about education to designate a new format for gaining knowledge at school.
International education exhibitions are increasingly focused on robotics and technology, such as BETT 2020, GESS Dubai 2020 and even the global Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair. Moreover, this year about 800 million hryvnias will be granted for the development of STEM-education in Ukraine at the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science.
So what is STEM-education and why is it so famous and important today?
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is an approach to the educational process, which includes a practical combination of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to it, the basis of knowledge acquisition is simple and accessible visualization of scientific phenomena, allowing easily to master knowledge based on practice, work with technologies and deep understanding of natural processes. In STEM schools, the priority is the learning process and solving practical tasks, rather than the teacher, who acts as a moderator of the learning process rather than a lecturer.
A FEW KEY FEATURES OF STEM:
Practicality. Students solve concrete real-world problems by trial and error, rather than learning dry theory.
A visual exploratory approach. By putting knowledge into practice in the laboratory or in the field, students can see how certain processes arise and take place. For example, some schools use underwater robots to collect river soil samples for geography lessons.
Teamwork. Learning is no longer focused solely on sitting alone at a textbook. Students now have the opportunity to experiment with different instruments, working together and distributing tasks among themselves as a team.
Engineering. Building a model bridge or volcano is no longer a make-believe or large-scale activity, but a real-world design task in a classroom in which children learn the basics of engineering and learn to understand natural cause and effect relationships.
Children learn the basics of engineering and learn to understand natural cause and effect relationships
Flexibility in the classroom. No more rows of desks and using the word “Kamchatka” where it should be – in geography classes. Teaching desks can be arranged on the basis of tasks, for example, in a circle or in several groups – a kind of “workstations” if you need to conduct laboratory research.
Visualization. To help students memorize key concepts better, visualization tools can be used: posters, whiteboards, flip charts, etc. This will help students not only to display ideas and suggestions, but also to develop the important managerial skill of structuring tasks for teamwork.
All of the above characteristics of STEM education contribute to the development of competitive skills, helping students to be more in demand in today’s increasingly technological labor market.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study in 2017 that found that out of 100 STEM occupations, 93 had salaries nearly double the national average. And between 2017 and 2027, the number of jobs in STEM occupations will grow by 13%, compared to 9% for non-STEM jobs.
BUT STEM-EDUCATION HAS CERTAIN CHALLENGES BOTH GLOBALLY AND IN UKRAINE:
Lack of clear guidelines or standards. Today there are no established guidelines on how and what students should learn and how qualified teachers should be. Consequently, some teachers may not be well versed in the subjects they are trying to teach.
Late-start learning. For the most part, most STEM programs start in middle school, which many experts believe is already a late start. In order for students to develop interest and motivation in these branches, the STEM approach needs to be implemented starting in elementary school.
- MATH HOMEWORK HELP
- ARCHITECTURE ASSIGNMENT
- ENGINEERING HOMEWORK
- PHYSICS HOMEWORK
- PSYCHOLOGY HOMEWORK
- CHEMISTRY HOMEWORK
- ASTRONOMY HOMEWORK
- ALGEBRA HOMEWORK
- BIOSTATISTICS HOMEWORK
- STATISTICS ASSIGNMENT
Some teachers may not be well versed in the subjects they are trying to teach
Subject-matter aptitude. Students who have a background or inclination toward the sciences will be more successful in learning processes than, say, humanities students. But, even children with a liberal arts type of mind need to master knowledge in technology and have laboratory skills. After all, to a greater or lesser extent, all professions in the future will be related to technology.
When we talk about STEM in mainstream schools, we must not forget about inclusion. So, so that children with special educational needs have the opportunity to study the exact sciences, special programs are developed. For example, there are digital math platforms that allow children to track their work and teachers to see their steps in solving problems and identify where problems arise. This can also include audio or Braille textbooks, 3D models, and audio descriptions of complex tables or phenomena.
And children with an autism spectrum disorder often have better concentration and attention to detail. Some make significant gains in engineering technology, math, and programming. STEM education can be a way for them to fulfill themselves and discover their strengths.
Now in profile circles there is talk about STEAM-help. That is, in addition to the study of natural sciences add art. And this direction has even greater prospects, as it makes it possible to combine the study of the basic sciences with a creative approach and non-standard solutions, helping children to better develop abstract thinking and imagination.