There were over 8.6 million STEM jobs in 2015, and that number is rising exponentially. In fact, STEM jobs have grown twice as fast than any other field in the last 10 years. However, it is projected that 2.4 million STEM jobs will be unfilled by 2025. Yet, STEM education programs have not kept pace–calling into question whether there will be enough qualified employees available to take on these new positions.
Worryingly, only 16% of high school graduates are proficient in STEM and interested in pursuing a STEM career. With such a low percentage, it’s only natural to focus on boosting STEM education efforts in the classroom. However, this is unfortunately easier said than done.
We must work to find ways of blending STEM education into all elements of the classroom, inspiring student interest at a young age. Let’s explore a few changes we’re anticipating over the next five years that could make a real difference to the quality of STEM education teachers would be able to provide.
- Fueled by more effective teacher education, students will become fluent in coding
We must prioritize programming literacy, or fluency in computer science and coding, in the same manner that we did for reading and writing in the mid-twentieth century to prepare students for careers in growing STEM fields. We need them to be as comfortable with computers as they are with a pen and paper. And it happens as a result of first-hand experience.
However, if programming literacy hasn’t already been integrated in most teachers’ education, it’ll be difficult to achieve. School systems, particularly administrators, must commit to providing the resources needed to train teachers in STEM topics that they may not have previously had access to.
- Entertainment and education will converge
Today’s kids are “digital natives,” having grown up around computers and other technologies. Given their familiarity with modern technology, it would be safe to assume offering young students the use of certain devices, applications or hardware within STEM lessons would be a ‘sure-fire’ way to keep them engaged and excited. However, teachers are finding that this familiarity is actually breeding a sense of apathy among their students. It’s ironically becoming increasingly difficult to present STEM lessons in a way that maintains student interest.
To generate excitement around STEM lessons, it’s important to bake educational value into areas of technology that students are already engaging with on a daily basis, such as smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, and other devices. In the next five years, we will see a convergence of entertainment and education to occupy students’ interest. For example, integrating educational content into mobile gaming will allow students to stay engaged and feel as though they are playing (when they are actually learning). With this kind of assimilation, mobile gaming and coding education can become one.
- A Change from STEM to STEAM
Developing STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) is essential for student success in the next five years. When art and design are integrated into STEM, students are given the tools they need to think creatively and tackle complicated challenges. Numerous studies have shown the importance of art and design in a child’s education, particularly in terms of their potential to develop creative thinking, which is required in fields ranging from theatre to organic chemistry.
The integration of art and design into typical STEM education encourages students to think in new ways. This not only helps students succeed in school, but it also lays the foundation for increased creativity in math and science, which promotes innovation.
- Final thoughts
In the next five years, we must work to incorporate a more creative approach to STEM education. This will be essential for molding the upcoming generation of students into the future engineers, scientists, mathematicians and creators that will shape our society through the next chapter of the technological revolution. Equally important, however, will be the focus on providing teachers with the right resources – such as basic computer science and coding training, and STEM and Arts integration training – to implement the lessons that will create these workers of the future.
It all starts in the classroom.
Learn more about STEM EDUCATION missions and initiatives from : http://indiastemmission.com/