STEM education has become a buzzword in the past few years, but what does it mean? The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s an integrated approach to learning that provides students with various skillsets and opportunities.
Well, the most fundamental importance of learning STEM is because of the job opportunities. STEM occupations are predicted to increase at a significant rate. According to Pew Research Center, STEM jobs increased by 79% from 1990 to 2018. Moreover, it is projected to continue growing further. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, STEM occupations are projected to increase by 10.5% by 2030, which is higher compared to the 7.5% growth of non-stem jobs and 7.7% increase in overall careers.
While increasing career opportunities is one of the most significant reasons to focus on STEM education, there are many more. This article will look at some crucial reasons that make STEM education important.
Incorporates Innovative Skills in Students
STEM education teaches students to think creatively. When you learn how to integrate your creativity into the STEM field, you can’t help but be inspired. For example, imagine you’re working on an engineering project requiring a new piece of equipment. You can use your imagination and develop this new piece of equipment from scratch, making it easier for others in the future. The possibilities are limitless!
The ability to think critically is also learned through STEM education. This skill is great for problem-solving because it allows us to analyze our current situation before coming up with solutions for any issues that may arise. Being critical also gives you insight into what others might think about your work so you can adjust accordingly if necessary.
Instills Real-World Problem Solving Capabilities
STEM education teaches students to solve real-world problems through critical thinking and problem-solving. For example, in the STEM field of mechanical engineering, students learn how to design solutions for everyday problems. By doing so, they develop skills that can be applied in a variety of careers as well as contribute to society as a whole.
Real-world problem solving is specifically essential in the medicinal sector. Medicinal chemistry research focuses on designing and developing new drugs that can help overcome various medical conditions. Without problem-solving capabilities, no new research will be conducted to improve drugs. All of this starts with basic knowledge of science and chemistry.
However, the bad news is that the education system didn’t teach STEM appropriately for a long time. In a WIRED post written by Stephen F. Deangelis, he mentioned a column from the Wall Street Journal, stating that today’s education system does not focus on teaching problem-solving skills. Hence, students might have to take additional help. Thankfully, the boom in e-learning can help solve the problem.
Today, students can get additional help on e-learning platforms through easy-to-understand video tutorials that explain each concept precisely. So, a student interested in learning drugs and chemical reactions can get help with general chemistry from the internet.
Provides Opportunities for Teamwork and Communication
Teamwork is a huge part of the STEM fields, and it’s crucial to have good teamwork skills. For example, suppose you’re working on a project with your team members. In that case, you need to know how to communicate effectively so that everyone understands what’s happening and can work together efficiently. When it comes to presentations, everyone needs an opportunity to contribute their ideas; otherwise, the project may come across as disjointed or incomplete.
Communication is vital for success in STEM fields because projects often involve many different variables. Communication allows all to share their knowledge to help others make informed decisions based on all possible information. This also helps prevent mistakes because no person has everything he or she needs at once—everyone needs one another’s input!
This teamwork and effective communication capabilities make STEM students more marketable in today’s job market. Employers are looking for employees who can communicate well with others in the team to ensure a connected workplace, which can increase productivity. According to a BusinessWire report, 71% of more productive employees feel that they are so because they are well-connected with others in the workplace. Moreover, disengaged employees lead to a loss of over $7 trillion annually for employers. Hence, teamwork and communication skills are well in demand, which students can learn from STEM education.
Can Bring Diversity to the Workplace
Diversity is good for business because it gives a company a more comprehensive range of ideas and perspectives to help it succeed. The same concept applies when applied to school. If you have a diverse group of students learning about STEM topics, you will have a better understanding of them and more opportunities for innovation later on in life. This is especially true if you work on climate change or social problems.
The idea behind diversification is simple: when people come from different backgrounds, they often have different experiences that lead them down different paths in life—and those paths may lead them directly towards solving problems that others couldn’t even see before! For example, if only white males were allowed access to top-tier universities right now, there would still be discrimination against other groups. So while diversity doesn’t necessarily mean everyone gets along peacefully, everyone comes face-to-face with challenges.
When it comes to STEM education, there’s a huge gap and lack of diversity. According to a paper published in SpringerOpen journal, women don’t even make a quarter of the total STEM workforce. When STEM education is offered to all the students equally, it will bring diversity to the workforce. This means that there will be more perspective toward solving a real-world problem.
How STEM Students Can Make a Difference in the World
No matter what you do, STEM students can make a difference in the world. Students of all ages are learning how to solve problems and find solutions to global issues. There are many ways that STEM students can help make the world a better place, whether through technology or awareness.
STEM students can help by ensuring that everything around them is sustainable—from their food to their houses and even the clothes they wear! Through research and studies on how people consume resources, STEM students have learned how important it is for all to be more mindful of our impact on our planet. Studies show that millennials are the most concerned about sustainability and are willing to put effort into making the world a better place for everyone.
STEM education is essential for the future of the world. It allows students to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It also prepares them for careers in fields related to these subjects.