STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in an educational context. STEM-related learning is important in schools and at home, as it provides an opportunity for children to learn about topics and disciplines that will serve them well in later life, particularly for in-demand new job roles.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the economy. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators.
Traditionally, education was about learning by way of knowledge and memorising, or in other words, relying more on the information you retain rather than the information you apply. For example, quizzes and tests used to be based on memory. Studying consisted of trying to retain the information you would be tested on. In a STEM setting, knowledge retention is important; however, the way students apply that knowledge is just as important. STEM focuses not only on teaching a student about a subject, but also showing the student how the subject applies to real life, and how they will be able to utilise it in the future. For example, a traditional maths course may teach a student an equation, but the student may not know how to apply that equation to real-life situations. A STEM program would teach a student a math equation, and how it could be used in different fields such as science or engineering.
STEM education is known for sparking an interest in subjects such as science, technology, maths and engineering, because it gets students more involved in doing, rather than just learning. Traditional education covers a general spectrum of subjects without focusing directly on, or diving deeper into, a select few. A traditional lesson is also much different than a course in a STEM program. Going back to the concept of learning vs. doing, a traditional curriculum lesson involves a teacher speaking about a topic in the classroom, students taking notes and then applying the learned knowledge to a test or exam. For certain individuals, traditional classroom structures and lessons can be monotonous, causing students to lose focus quickly. A STEM program gets students involved in activities that can be directly applied to the subject at hand, ultimately peaking student interest.
At The Dorcan Academy, our STEM lead is Mr Alsop.