The rise of robotics in K-12 schools has been buoyed by not just intrigue with the potential of new gadgets, but an increased focus on computer science education. Just a decade ago, only a few states allowed computer science to count toward STEM course requirements. Today, nearly every state allows computer science courses to fulfill core graduation requirements, and 17 states require that every high school offer computer science.
The statistics are pretty clear: There are problems with STEM education in the United States. There isn’t as much emphasis on teaching science, technology, engineering or mathematics to US students as there is in other countries. And the resources are available here. One example? Parents in Singapore are sending their children to the United States for a STEM-based education.
The US needs to compete, and the government thinks STEM education holds the keys to success for our kids and our future. The term gets bandied about, but what is STEM? The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but it goes way beyond just teaching the subjects in isolation. And STEM holds the keys to success for kids facing a world where STEM knowledge will be imperative.
Today, the internet provides unlimited access to high-quality, free and educational resources for almost any age or skill group. And yet, these critical career paths lack awareness and excitement. Many nonprofit organizations are making it their mission to change that, upsetting outdated models in education and, subsequently, recruiting.
Israeli crystallographer Ada Yonath - whose pioneering work on the structure of the ribosome won her the Nobel Prize in 2009 - has one advice for women struggling to make a mark in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM): Forget what society thinks and go after what you want.
Artificial intelligence and emerging technologies have enabled automation to scale and pose legitimate workforce threats. However, these innovations are creating new jobs and recreating old ones that together shape the building blocks of a future workforce. This dynamic opportunity engine is driven in large part by a fast expanding innovation ecosystem that combines a bevy of thriving, scaling, and nascent startups and their emerging workforce needs.
Many teachers struggle giving science instruction its due. In fact, the 2018 National Study of Science and Mathematics Education reported that many elementary school teachers do not even provide science instruction every week.
Knowing how the programs on their computers are constructed seems like a worthwhile thing even if a student never writes a single line of code outside of school. To understand the architecture is a form of power, and while I cannot claim my individual experiences with students as dispositive to the whole, many of them use their computers and phones uncritically, and prove to be not great problem solvers when it comes to operating in the digital realm.
Black and Latinx students pursuing careers in STEM face obstacles their white peers do not, making them more likely to leave those majors without receiving a degree, UT researchers say. “Individuals that are employed in STEM occupations tend to have relatively high levels of income and social status,” said Catherine Riegle-Crumb, lead author of the study. “There’s reason to believe that racial ethnic minorities, particularly black and Latino students in this country, face obstacles in these fields that are not faced by their white peers.”
While champion skier Lindsey Vonn is no longer hitting the slopes professionally after announcing her retirement earlier this year, she has something new she is championing. The former alpine ski racer is now helping young girls become more involved in STEM education through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation.