Today, scientific and technological innovations define the world. Visionaries, ideators, leaders, and solution providers are leading the race in shaping contemporary societies. A country risks being left far behind in this race if its workforce is not well-equipped to stay relevant.
The global expenditure on information technology is poised to grow by 2.4% in 2023 and reach around $4.5 trillion.
But society can not churn leaders and visionaries at will. They need to be nurtured from a very nascent stage. Staying put in this ever-changing technological landscape calls for a shift to a dynamic and engaging system of learning.
A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum aims to give students practical exposure and hands-on experience in their educational journey. The curricula reflect a shift from books and theories to experiments and experiences. The world is fast catching up, with a number of countries warming up to the idea of STEM education.
What are the key distinguishing features that have made STEM learning fascinating?
Emphasis On Originality
This is the era of disruptive ideas and innovations that arise from ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. Extrapolating the algorithms and hypotheses taught to a wider scope is the driving idea behind STEM topics.
The conventional method of education relies heavily on the retention and reproduction of information. That leaves little scope for fresh and innovative ideas. The STEM system encourages creativity and dynamic thinking.
It focuses on pushing the limits set by known information and celebrates challenging the established norms. While the traditional system defines a phenomenon (WHAT), the STEM system questions the WHY and the HOW of it.
Integrated Learning Approach
To some extent, students in the conventional education system are stuck in different levels of a building, with each having a narrow view of the surrounding. Students in the STEM system have a more elaborate bird’s-eye view of their surroundings. It enables them to understand the implications and effects of their acquired knowledge in a more holistic way.
When the interplay of different subjects like science, math, aptitude, and art happens, the end product(or the idea) is more acceptable, scalable, and innovative. Exhaustive and proper use of individual knowledge streams happens when each complements the other.
Proprep’s STEM learning modules are a good example of this STEM learning approach. Their customized modules on a gamut of topics have been well-received by different STEM university students.
Proprep’s modules have helped students develop a deeper understanding of study materials, enhance problem-solving skills, and get better grades.
On the other hand, traditional methods of teaching individual subjects are exclusive, not inclusive. A topic in science can be taught in the utmost detail, with all its features being exhaustively discussed. It is still possible that a student does not know its implementation in daily life.
A STEM ecosystem is defined more by the word facilitator than the word instructor. The facilitators, in their practice, do not have set structures for the lessons. The flow of information caters to an individual’s aptitude.
Students explore subjects in a fluid manner, not having to restrain themselves to a class, a particular topic, or an agenda. The reason this method works is that teachers are open to experiments and mistakes. They encourage independent thinking and hands-on learning.
Project-driven and problem-driven learning help a student learn skills and apply them to solve simple real-world problems. These methods put more emphasis on students learning a topic than a teacher teaching it.
Nurtures Leadership Qualities
The STEM system of education nurtures problem-solvers and independent achievers. Unlike the old system, where discipline means obedience, the STEM ecosystem celebrates original thinkers and unique implementations.
This approach develops a sense of accountability and leadership in the seekers. The students themselves have to come up with the applicable ideas, their own teams, and discussions (all monitored by the facilitator). Nothing is spoon-fed because the examinations here do not encourage rote retention; they encourage successful applications to real-world problems.
One’s leadership is reflected through their ownership of the idea and its implementation. Students have to hold themselves accountable for their failures, as the concepts emanate from their own minds. None has ever been successful by being a mere part of a herd. They have either led the group or have eventually carved their own path.
Technological advancements and innovations are in no mood to slow down. Changes are needed in the education system to resonate with the changing mindset. The spark of curiosity needs to be lit in the hearts of young students before it is too late. Novel concepts and ideas can no longer be suppressed just because they disrupt the norm.
This generation is sprinting towards a new future – one with limitless possibilities, opportunities, and hope. And a STEM-focused education system can help them get there.