How STEM Education Promotes Success In Students
Exposing your student to STEM topics benefits various aspects of their life. Scroll to read how STEM in education promotes success and higher learning in the classroom.
Table of Contents
- What is STEM?
- Benefits of STEM
- STEM Learning in Decline
- STEM Education Efforts
- Significance of STEM Education
- eLearning and Artificial Intelligence in STEM
- My First Lab’s Role in STEM Education
What is STEM?
STEM, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics is the new learning standard in schools. But what is STEM Education? STEM learning teaches problem-solving and other valuable life skills.
Benefits of STEM
Encourage your student to be inspired by STEM subjects.
Provide students with the tools they need to succeed in other areas of their life. After being taught scientific thinking, students can focus on solving real-world problems.
Students receive a variety of educational benefits from STEM, such as:
- Innovation and creativity
Provide students with the tools they need to succeed in other areas of their life. STEM provides students with real-world examples that assist them in transitioning into the workplace. When students are taught that subjects such as math will be relevant in their future career, they will put more time and effort into learning the concepts.
Scientific thinking also paves the way for students to think critically and creatively.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Another benefit of STEM learning is developing the skills to think critically and creatively. While other subjects may have answers that are straightforward, STEM allows students to come up with their own paths and solutions to complex issues.
Critical thinking is when you draw conclusions and evaluate your situation based on your observations, experiences, and reflections. For example, a student may remember that they used a math equation in a different scenario and that it could be applicable again.
Encouraging critical thinking pushes students past relying on textbooks and teachers and puts more emphasis on memory and reflection. To think critically means to ask questions, gather evidence, and think actively.
After thinking critically, students can look at challenges with an open mind. Creative thinking is the ability to think of new ideas and solutions.
Thinking creatively encourages students to value innovation and consider other viewpoints. STEM allows students the opportunity to think outside of the box and come to conclusions at their own pace.
Although STEM fields strengthen students’ skill sets, there has been a recent decline in those pursuing STEM in schools.
STEM Learning in Decline
The United States has historically been a leader in defining the meaning of STEM; however, fewer students have pursued STEM at the collegiate level. This gap impacts people of color and women.
According to a 2019 Educational Researcher study, 40% of black students switched out of STEM majors compared to 29% of white students.
Additionally, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study on STEM retention in girls using job interest surveys. The study revealed that 60% of high school girls interested in STEM as first-year students became disinterested by graduation.
However, when encouraged by teachers, the girls were 25% more likely to pursue STEM in high school or college. To learn more about encouraging girls to engage in STEM topics, read our blog “How to Improve Potential of Girls in STEM.”
Introduce students to STEM at an early age to decrease stigma and stereotypes in the field. While STEM interest may be declining, STEM educators are making efforts to encourage and improve STEM retention in all students by creating a positive learning environment.
STEM Education Efforts
The goal of the Meyerhoff Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) is to increase the number of students pursuing STEM. The Meyerhoff program provides advisement, community and family involvement, and financial support.
The program actively promotes group work rather than solo assignments. Students are more likely to stick with STEM when they are supported emotionally and financially.
The Meyerhoff program also aids underrepresented students, improving diversity in the STEM workforce.
Teachers can promote STEM by:
- Securing science classrooms
- Purchasing school supplies
- Brainstorming enhancement methods
When encouraging STEM retention, recognize why students change their career interests. Jacquelynne Eccles, a researcher, found that students will pursue STEM if they find value and success in their future work.
In his sample study, Eccles discovered that 23% of students who wanted to work in the medical field changed their minds because they wanted a career that required less schooling.
Improve STEM retention levels by showing students that they are not limited to high-intensity careers.
- Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers
- Customer Support Specialists
Students can learn skills for many STEM professions by attending a trade school or gaining a mentor. These jobs are more attainable for students interested in a STEM career who do not want to attend an expensive college.
Significance of STEM Education
Reducing STEM educational shortages is crucial for generating technological growth and innovation in the United States.
For manufacturing, the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte have predicted that there will be 3.4 million job openings for manufacturing by 2025. Yet, there is a growing concern that at least 66% of these jobs will go unfilled due to a skills shortage.
As of 2021, computer and mathematics-based jobs continue to rank as having the quickest growth among STEM fields. The top-ranking jobs in these fields include:
- Computer System Analysts
- Operations Research Analysts and Accountants
- Computer and Information Research Scientists
- Computer User Support Specialists
- Information Security Analysts
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections have determined that information security analyst positions will expand from around 42% of current capacity from 2019 to 2029, with 55,2000 new workers entering the field. Computer and information research scientists expect to grow from current capacity by 15%, while software developers will grow by 21.5%.
Another critical factor in the need for STEM workers is the growing Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a referential term used to describe the network of sensors that allow interconnectivity between smart devices (I.e., the ability to control a refrigerator’s temperature from your phone). Growing connectivity among smart devices means that information security and technological innovation will be a higher priority than ever before.
A wide range of potential STEM positions means that various career paths must be offered to learners at all education levels to motivate them to explore the diverse career options offered and to decrease the impending workforce shortage.
eLearning and Artificial Intelligence in STEM
eLearning increases student participation and communication. Real-time feedback and answers allows students to learn quickly and efficiently while boosting their interest in school. eLearning reengages students’ attention spans by 25-60%.
Teachers cannot give their attention and focus to thirty students simultaneously; however, the rise of eLearning and artificial intelligence (AI) provides seamless instruction and assistance. Students can learn at their own pace and cater to their learning styles.
AI is becoming more commonplace in classrooms. Students can learn STEM topics quickly with a more personalized learning environment.
Here are some benefits of AI in the classroom:
- Instant feedback and evaluation
- Personalized tutoring
- Individualized lesson plans
- Enhanced student communication
My First Lab’s Role in STEM
My First Lab has been a leader in developing STEM equipment for the past 30 years. With products ranging from microscopes and bundles to prepared slides and accessories, we are sure to have any product that a junior investigator, hobbyist, or educational leader could need. Learn how to create hands-on experiments by browsing our blog or checking out our award-winning products.