Now, there is a lot of hype about STEM. Actually, it’s currently one of the hottest topics in education. But what is STEM education? In a few words, it’s a multi-discipline approach to teaching that combines science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). But it’s more than just those subjects. In this article, we’re going to reveal the STEM education meaning, its importance and benefits, as well as how mobile apps can help with this education methodology.
The Essence of STEM
According to the U.S. Department of Education, STEM education deftly integrates four disciplines into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. This system is designed to encourage problem-solving and motivate students to learn. That is to say, STEM is a unique approach to teaching that focuses on individual students’ learning styles and interests. So, STEM education has something to offer to everyone.
Unlike traditional education systems where subjects are taught separately, STEM education puts emphasis on technology and integrates disciplines in such a way as to connect them and relate to each other.
Why is STEM becoming so popular? Because it aims to improve communication skills, cultivate a desire for research, enhance problem solving and critical thinking, as well as boost creativity. That’s what the modern world requires from students to date.
STEM pushes the boundaries and focuses on developing thinking skills by connecting classroom learning to the real world. Simply put, it shows students how scientific methods can be applied to everyday life. And seeing that our future is likely to rely on our capacity for invention, innovation, and creative problem-solving, it’s probably the best approach to learning today.
When to Begin STEM Education?
Ideally, STEM education should begin at the earliest stage of learning:
- Elementary school. At this initial step, education focuses on the introduction to STEAM, its fields and occupations. Young children need to be provided with real-world problem-based learning, connecting all STEAM subjects. The main goal is to promote kids’ interests and motivate them to learn STEAM courses.
- Middle school. Courses become a bit more rigorous and challenging. Student awareness of STEAM fields is still pursued, as well as the academic requirements of such fields. Also, children begin to explore STEAM-related careers at this level.
- High school. STEM concentrates on the application of the disciplines in a challenging manner. Courses and pathways become available in STEAM fields and occupations. The emphasis is put on bridging in-school/out-of-school STEAM opportunities.
Importance of STEM for Young Minds
Why to begin so early? At its core, STEM’s goal is to educate students in four specific disciplines in order to help them consider real-world applications. It underpins the foundational stage of many fields, ranging from medicine to astronomy and much more. Within the STEM approach, students often take part in different projects and activities that involve modern technology so as to accentuate the practical applications of science. Therefore, STEM helps the youngest students to realize a connection between the classroom and the real world.
The Main Benefits of Stem Education
The STEM approach to learning has already proven itself to be effective. And among its numerous benefits, we can emphasize the following ones:
Boosts creativity and fosters ingenuity
STEM encourages new ideas and innovations in students. And, as we know, without ingenuity and creativity, the development of high technologies like artificial intelligence would be impossible.
When performing STEM-based activities, students learn in a quite safe environment that lets them fail and try again without blame. So, we can admit that STEM education enables students to embrace mistakes as a normal part of the learning process. That’s why students typically build confidence and resilience, which further helps them to keep going no matter what.
In the real world, teams often need to solve multifaceted problems. In light of this, the STEM approach prioritizes collaboration and teaches kids how important are sufficient communication and leadership qualities towards achieving common goals. And as STEM education is taught to students of all ability levels, they work together in teams to find solutions, write reports, give presentations, etc. As a result, they understand how to cooperate with others and behave themselves in team-oriented environments. Just like in real life.
Develops communication skills
From the above point, it’s easy to conclude that STEM also promotes the development of communication skills. By teaching kids how to clearly convey their ideas to others while also learning from one another, STEM makes a huge contribution to such skills as active listening and open-mindedness.
Promotes social-emotional learning (SEL)
It’s a proven fact that good social-emotional abilities developed in the childship lead to happiness and success in the future life. STEM education encourages kids to improve their SEL skills before growing up and becoming active members of society.
Without a desire to experiment, the majority of tech advancements would not be possible. And by stimulating students to experiment and even take some risks during learning activities, STEM promotes curiosity and helps students to “crave for more”.
Enhances media literacy
Since STEM students learn through research and inquiry, they often generate their own driving questions and seek out answers through their own research and additional theoretical recourses.
Introduces STEM careers
As already mentioned, STEM introduces a world of opportunities to children at an early stage of their life, so they are nurturing the skills needed to succeed in this ever-changing world. And because numerous studies show that a majority of careers will be centered around STEM subjects in the future, students know “what for” they are learning and, thus, they are more motivated. They know that the skills they are acquiring will be highly valuable in the future.
Last but not the least, STEM education teaches children how to solve problems by using critical-thinking skills.
Education is a vital component of building a good career. And when it comes to STEM education, there is an abundance of job opportunities. All the careers that fall under the umbrella of STEM education are continuously expanding.
STEM poses a wide range of advantages in a host of fields. Actually, the majority of sectors are heavily dependent on the STEM fields, so it indirectly plays a huge role in the flourishing of the global economy. To say more, in the upcoming years, the STEM sector is projected to become one of the largest employers in the world. Why? Because now we experience advances in each of the STEM domains, so new career prospects are popping up at an incredibly fast pace.
More precisely, there is a projected growth of STEAM-related occupations of 10.5% between 2020 and 2030 compared to 7.5% in non-STEAM-related occupations.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
With that, the median wage in STEAM occupations is also much higher than in non-STEAM ones.
From all this, it’s easy to see that with the future increases in STEAM-related occupations, there will be an equal increase in the need for STEAM education programs and STEM-based apps.
How Can STEM-based Apps Help?
STEM-based apps have recently gained huge popularity. As more and more kids spend their time on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other digital gadgets, installing STEM apps on their devices can make that time fruitful. Below, we’re going to discuss the advantages of STEM apps and what makes them ideal even for the smallest children.
As you’ve probably already guessed, STEM apps for kids are based on the STEM methodology where children get to learn about its main concepts and topics with the help of interactive tools and games. Such apps are typically very entertaining and exciting, so they attract kids’ attention for a long.
The Key Advantages Include:
Do you want to help your kid to “think outside of the box”? Then, simply install an app. Children encouraged by STEM apps are able to develop unique ideas and apply multidisciplinary thinking to tackle complex problems.
Problematic concepts in STEM apps are often presented as games or activities, so they do a double service by keeping children challenged and providing them with fun.
Empowers critical thinking skills
The content provided in STEM applications is naturally focused on encouraging critical thinking. They are created in such a way that users need to apply critical thinking to solve challenges. Importantly, STEM apps are based not on memorization but on engagement with the material (to understand the issue and solve it using logic). As a result, kids are able to solve problems more quickly and effectively.
Increases cognitive skills
Similarly to critical thinking, STEM enhances cognitive talents and improves reading, thinking, and learning. Moreover, most STEM apps help students increase their cognitive abilities whilst learning the fundamentals of coding and engineering.
STEM apps empower children to ask “why” and “how” questions through various exercises, games, riddles, visuals, and audio content. Accordingly, students become more curious, wiser, self-assured, and proactive.
We hope now you’re clear about the benefits and features of the STEM methodology and STEM-based apps. So, why not to create your own one? Our team of experienced developers is ready to take on any challenge. Just contact us to find the best solution and develop something really meaningful.
As the world becomes more technologically oriented, you can kill two birds with one stone by making your contribution to EdTech and helping to grow a smarter generation. Win-win!