The nature of the economy and all that goes into it – industry, business, education is changing as we speak. The paradigm-shifting advances made in the field of science and technology are not just a major contributor to this change, but also have affected our daily lives. We are witnessing the birth of new sectors and industries, on both macro and micro levels, some of which we couldn’t have even dreamed of a few years ago.
It is not just become important, but essential to equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle these changes, be a part of them and grow with them. Those of us that don’t could get left behind, and left behind quickly.
One of the most significant ways we can prepare ourselves and our next generation is to modify the way learning happens and knowledge is imparted. We need to dig deep into existing curriculums, formats and methods of teaching and carve out a path that will better prepare our next and future generations for the changes they will witness.
STEM education, or the education in practical science, technology, engineering and math, is a good starting point. Incorporating STEM into current educational practices makes the overall learning experience more holistic, comprehensive and well-rounded. Shifting from an instructional form of learning to an application-based form of learning can help develop a range of skills and abilities and harness a child’s talents in a more effective manner.
While there are many skills that STEM can give that help make you ‘future ready’, the top 3 most important and relevant ones are –
- Learning to work with Technology
There were two interesting findings of a study done by the US’s Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2018. The first was that Computer, Information and Technology employment was predicted to grow at 12% year-on-year till 2028. The second was that jobs emanating from STEM fields was to grow at almost 11% year-on-year till 2026. All this while the overall employment rate is set to grow only ay 7% during the same period.
Even without this data, it is no secret that the areas like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, 3D Printing, Robotics and Automation have started to impact our daily lives.
STEM Education helps kids from an early age to develop a curiosity for technology, understand the building blocks of coding, robotics, AI etc. and in some cases, even how to build and program their own robots and machines. It helps them get a basic grasp of complicated technological concepts, but more importantly, it gets them to start thinking with a ‘technological’ mindset.
2. Adaptive Thinking
The current educational format focuses on learning by instruction and one a one-to-many style of imparting knowledge. Students, therefore, compulsorily fall into an existing framework and rarely get to think outside the box. With the whole process being mechanical in nature, kids leave schools or colleges knowing only how to think in particular manner. This does not equip kids to deal with rapid changes in the environment or tackle challenges or opportunities that stem from them, especially in the ever-changing world we now live in.
The form of education that STEM is, however, gives them a more applied learning experience where knowledge and skill-building are combined. It infuses in them the powers of problem-solving and critical thinking which are sorely lacking in the traditional educational system.
They are, thus, able to have a wholesome holistic experience that could change their approach to the world and the challenges they face in it.
3. Individual Expression
American psychologist Howard Gardner, who is famous for his ‘Multiple Intelligence’ theory, had written that “The biggest mistake of past centuries of teaching was to treat all students as if they were variants of the same individual and thus to feel justified in teaching them all the same subjects the same way”. His thoughts echo with those of many others who believe that mass-produced educations kills individuality, type-casts students and buries free expression of their talents.
STEM Education on the other hand, helps kids identify and develop their true talent. Generally, STEM camps or classes operate with a low student-to-teacher ratio, giving each individual more attention and inspiration. There is no one-size-fits-all curriculum or method of teaching and students are encouraged to be themselves, express freely and cultivate their own individual talent so that they stand out from the crowd.
To know more about STEM Education and to check out Genius Camp’s STEM programs and camps, visit www.geniuscamp.ca