What Do We Mean By STEM

By | October 17, 2020

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The idea is to help students be prepared for jobs and be able to compete with students from other part of world.

What Is STEM?

Previously science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET), was changed later to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is a broad term that is used to group together these academic disciplines. This term is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development, according to Wikipedia.

In the US, students need to be able to solve problems, find and use evidence to collaborate on projects, and think critically. Although the science and math are parts of the abbreviation and might be easy to figure out, the technology and engineering parts might be less clearer.

When we say  technology in STEM it includes topics such as computer programming, analytics, and design. And when we refer to Electronics in STEM we are basically talking about robots, and civil engineering.

The blended curriculum of STEM , helps encourage hands-on experience and gives students the chance to gain and apply relevant, “real-world” knowledge in the classroom.

STEM was a term coined by Dr. Judith Ramalay While working as director at the National Science Foundation in the early 2000s, Dr. Ramalay  came with the term  to describe the blended curriculum she and her team were developing.

Dr. Ramalay changed the acronym from SMET to STEM because she didn’t like how SMET sounded. STEM became popular due to the concerns raised by leaders and politicians that students were not keeping pace with other students and would not be prepared to work in the fastest-growing career sectors, which fell under the STEM umbrella.

 In 2009, the Obama administration announced its plans to support STEM curriculum  that would both encourage and train students to pursue careers in those fields. It would also support teachers to teach students those skills. This effort has been now formalized in many ways, including using the language of STEM in Next Gen Science Standard. So teachers are expected by parents and administrators to provide a STEM curriculum.

The Purpose of STEM

As STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and seeks to increase student competency in these areas, as well as interest in future careers in STEM-related fields by studying real-world problems and solving them through project-based learning.

The Importance Of STEM Education

All of this effort is to meet a need. According to a report by the website STEMconnector.org, by 2018, projections estimate the need for 8.65 million workers in STEM-related jobs. The manufacturing sector faces an alarmingly large shortage of employees with the necessary skills — nearly 600,000. The field of cloud computing alone will have created 1.7 million jobs between 2011 and 2015, according to the report. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM careers will be:

  • Computing – 71 percent
  • Traditional Engineering – 16 percent
  • Physical sciences – 7 percent
  • Life sciences – 4 percent
  • Mathematics – 2 percent

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