The STEM career fields are growing at a rapid pace. But schools aren’t equipping students with enough STEM education in their coursework to give them the necessary skills and empowerment to enter into these fields in the future.
In fact, Discover Education quoted the US Department of Labor with this eye-opening fact: “By 2020, there will be 1.4 million IT jobs available but only 400,000 computer science graduates with the required skills to fill the positions.”
How can we give our current and next generation of students lifelong STEM skills? Here are 5 ideas for how to level-up our innovators and kid-creators so they can enter STEM careers with the much-need tools for success.
Photo via Discovery Education
1. Provide STEM courses for all students. Many schools offer STEM courses for gifted & talented students. Instead, STEM should be available for all students, regardless of their academic tracking. The earlier students learn the concepts of STEM, the more confidence they gain and therefore will be comfortable exploring and creating more and more.
2. Start teaching STEM earlier. Instead of waiting until middle school, or even high school for this course work, incorporate STEM learning with early childhood education. Why? Because it’ll ensure life-long learning, student engagement, and a sense of personal and academic community. As stated by Discovery Education: “Educating all students in STEM practices will level the playing field and provide pathways to future success for all no matter your zip-code, skin color, cultural background, or gender.”
3. Support educators and schools. If we want to see an impact on our current and future generations with STEM, teachers and educational faculty need more support from their communities and each other. This includes more professional development, flexible curriculums, smaller class sizes, and more. Encourage the community to come together to find solutions inside and outside of the classroom.
4. Take pride in collaboration. We couldn’t say it better ourselves: “Asking students to work together to find solutions in authentic situations further develops their communication skills and character, both vital to joining the STEM workforce of the future.” After all, collaboration includes taking pride in our work. By teaching skills and gaining experience in this element, our future inventors can change the world.
5. Develop (and commit to) a plan for success. Take a page from success schools and programs. Study their teaching styles, courses, and implementation of STEM instructions. For example, when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Title 1 schools implemented more STEM awareness and strategies, test scores dramatically improved and student engagement increased. Teachers even reported a higher level of job satisfaction!
So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and change the world. Start with your school or local community.
H/t via Discovery Education