What’s the point of STEM education?
How can we help teachers and education leaders with the tremendous responsibility of delivering the world’s next generation of digital innovators?
We are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution and Australia must increase participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects to meet the demands of its evolving job market.
Supply and demand
Our current education system isn’t converting enough students into modern, high-level professions such as nanotechnology, bio-engineering and computer science – yet these are areas of superior job growth.
Technological innovations and disruptors are emerging at an unprecedented speed, obsoleting many of the roles we know today and creating a sharp increase in demand for the digitally competent. It is estimated that STEM professions will represent 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025.
The skills shortage falls in the same decade in which Australia is trying to brand itself as a nation at the forefront of science and innovation, as it struggles to compete with the production and commodity based economies of other nations.
“Something needs to be done. We have to find a way to funnel young adults into STEM disciplines and find pathways into employment” says Rose Hiscock of Science Gallery Melbourne (and former Director of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum), who presented at last year’s STEM Education Conference.
“We need to be responsible at every link in the chain to make sure young adults are enabled to take pathways in STEM”.
The fourth industrial revolution
However, channeling students into STEM subjects represents only the first hurdle in the pursuit of arming ourselves for the fourth industrial revolution.
The sheer velocity of technological advances makes “digital competency” notoriously difficult to teach; and there is a seismic gap between the current STEM curriculum and the skills and knowledge required for STEM professions; a gap which will continue to grow unless something is done.
Context and relevance
“We need to bring a real-world context into the classroom and understand the importance of education in STEM”, says Machinam Founding Director, Felicity Furey (right).
“Children often ask the question, ‘why do we need to learn this’? If they do not know the answer, how can we expect them to pursue, be engaged or excited about STEM?”
– Amy Sarcevic
Bring the relevance to your classroom
To bring context to your STEM classes, you can easily incorporate the Careers with STEM magazines thanks to our free teacher resources. The free teacher notes feature critical thinking exercises designed around key capabilities like numeracy and literacy, resilience and problem-solving.
How do you bring contextualised learning into your classroom?