Dear REFITTING MACHINE readers, even if our project is officially finished and currently under evaluation by the Italian National Agency, we hope you are still following us on our website and social media and you are using our project results:
- The ICT Tool for competence assessment and the gamified e-learning platform that will give you access to the training material on the machinery refitting using Arduino, all useful skills and competencies for the labor market.
On this note, today we would like to review the importance of STEM education, clarify what it is actually meant by that, and have a brief overview of the opportunities that STEM can offer.
Let’s dive in!
STEM stands for
…but it’s more than that.
STEM moves beyond simple test performance and focuses on developing higher level thinking skills by connecting classroom learning to the real world. STEM emphasizes collaboration, communication, research, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, skills that students need to be successful in today’s world regardless of specific interests or career goals.
STEM is a direct response to the realization that our future will be built on our capacity for innovation, invention, and creative problem solving.
We live in a world where understanding science and tech gives fresh graduates an advantage in the job market, it is natural for teachers and administrators to push for more funding for STEM projects that will prepare their students for the tech-heavy society that awaits them.
STEM is already in itself an interdisciplinary way to teach scientific subjects, STEM activities involve students in complex projects that require the application of skills and knowledge from all of them at once, which is closer to how they will one day use their abilities in their real jobs.
STEM or STEAM?
Some feel that allowing room for artistic expression in a project largely devoted to the scientific and technical side of knowledge is a dilution of its original purpose that only causes confusion and is ultimately less effective; others believe that studying the science and mathematics that underlie art and presenting the results of one’s scientific work in a creative and aesthetically pleasing manner are, in fact, the highest forms of interdisciplinary learning, and therefore STEAM follows and expands the spirit of STEM organically and without mixing fields that should have nothing to do with each other.
RISKS: with STEM alone, the risk is to encourage a form of binary thinking in students and raise them to believe that they can either be good at science or art, but not both, because they require different skill sets and have no connections between them. With STEAM, students can discover unexpected links between the scientific and artistic sides of their school curriculum.
BENEFITS: adding the possibility of artistic expression to activities designed to focus on science, technology and maths makes scientific subjects more approachable even to those students who are already convinced they have no inclination for them, opens up new paths for them once they find out that if they work hard enough, it is not true that they cannot do science.
Students in STEM programs may have more experiential learning opportunities, but they are limited to only science, technology, engineering and math. Our economy requires so much more than an understanding of these areas.
STEAM is a way to take the benefits of STEM and complete the package by integrating these principles in and through the arts. STEAM takes STEM to the next level: it allows students to connect their learning in these critical areas together with arts practices, elements, design principles, and. STEAM removes limitations and replaces them with wonder, critique, inquiry, and innovation.