What is Stem Education and Why Does it Matter?

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No matter what country, religion, or social stand you come from, you have surely heard about STEM at some point of your life. During college or through some personal educational program, you probably used Science, Technology, Engineering or Math methods without even knowing. So what is STEM and why is it so important?

A great way to find out is to learn everything there is about it and really understand the entire concept. So, you might as well start here. Let’s elaborate on various aspects of STEM that affect the world around us, how they change the way we acquire knowledge and more.

STEM as a Way of Life

Throughout our history, over the centuries of different civilisation that rose and fell, none avoided using principles, methods and exercised that can be linked with some of these academic disciplines. However these disciplines weren’t grouped together until The National Science Foundation did it.

They are intertwined with our life in more ways than one can imagine. And to prove that, here are a couple of cases where STEM directly or indirectly  affect our way of life now and will continue to do so in the future.

Industry

Everything from pharmacy to energy, entertainment and mass media, manufacturing and healthcare industry relies on STEM education to progress and maintain its course. Because of science we now have medicine for maladies, diseases and health problems that were incurable before. Medical procedures that were unimaginable before are now available due to highly trained people whose goal is to improve our methods and therefore our way of life.  Everything around us is improving due to STEM as people working in these sectors are highly trained and educated, but more importantly motivated to make life better.

Education

It goes without mentioning that everyone will encounter some STEM teachings during high school, college and education in general. But being good at math isn’t the only pre requirement to get a STEM job. Those that do get STEM degrees are the ones that are shaping the world around us and they are on high demand as the Industry is always looking for researchers, inventors and highly skilled people.

Groundbreaking Inventions

From home appliances to heavy machinery and tools, STEM education allows young minds to express their creativity and help us improve our way of life by inventing new, more efficient models. And this affects everything. What technology looks like today and what it looked like a decade ago has changed a lot. And that can be attributed to STEM education.

Gadgets

Every little piece of technology or gadget whether it’s used in entertainment or other aspects of industry came from STEM. Toy industry is slowly but surely intertwining with science to create toy models that are adequate for today’s youth. Everything that you can  imagine that was released on market in recent past was most likely invented, designed and manufactured by those with STEM degree. They had their fingers in it and we’re glad it’s so. Because as we evolve as get in touch with technology, we’ll require more efficient and simply better solutions to everyday problems. And all of that is possible due to STEM.

Naturally the idea of listing these cases was to show how many examples there are where these studies were solely or partially responsible for the development. It shows how vast is the concept of using them to improve everything you see around you, right now and will in the future.

Image of young scientists

What is STEM Education?

If you’re  still confused and the question what is stem education keeps revolving in your head, here’s an explanation. STEM is a group of studies used in educational system as well as life whose goal is improvement. These studies include science, technology, engineering and math, all of which are powerful concepts of thinking, teaching and interacting with our surrounding.  

And educating the youth and upcoming generations in these field of study it nothing less than beneficial for the future.

Formerly SMET, until changed by National Science Foundation to STEM, the goal of this initiative is to provide knowledge to young minds and train them to use critical thinking skills in order to overcome problems and give rise to new solutions. With creative problem solving skills and profound knowledge in these major studies they strive towards interacting with our surrounding in order to create better ways of doing something that we did identically in the past. So being that improvement is the direction, it’s safe to say that that STEM education is a good thing.

What we get from it?

STEM education offers better understanding of important studies that define the world we live in to people in general. This is a fact as we’re all live in the same world and everything in it can be explained through math, science, engineering or technology mind constructs.

To those willing to participate in these “intellectual exercises” and contribute to improving our future, STEM offers means, knowledge and methods to be the altruist and change the reality as we understand it for the better. Usually these studies aren’t tied together into a new learning concept, as schools and educational system in general isn’t structured this way. STEM program isn’t the mainstream educational path that every individual takes, instead we learn about these studies separate boxes, limiting our opportunities.

There are also variations in STEM, where A is added for art as creativity and innovation are crucial for building creative problem solving skills. And art covers so many forms and concepts of beauty and what is aesthetically pleasing for our senses and mind. That’s why it was considered so important and was ultimately added as a variation.

Where to get STEM education?

If you think that your child would be able to express their ingenuity better and learn through tailored educational system more than in a regular K-12 program, than STEM is the way to go. The only thing you’ll need is to find it online and secure a better future for your child by enlisting. There are many programs and your protege will definitely find at least one that suits their preferences and interests.

Is it Affordable?

The answer is that it’s actually a relative thing. The program allows you to pick a topic that’s most suitable for you, or who ever is enlisting, and choose that course to learn every aspect of it. As you progress and perfect your knowledge and understanding, you can expand the learning material and gain access to advanced lessons. And this is all free. The learning part is mostly free of charge. However if you’re aiming for a certificate and a degree you’ll need to get past tests and series of challenges that allow you to get a STEM job later on.

Is it Worth it?

If you want your child to be among top paid people, and contribute to expanding our knowledge as well as improve our way of life then yes. It’s definitely worth it. It doesn’t have to be someone you foster or your own child, you to can get STEM education. Although it’s advisable to start when your young, it’s never to late. You can get a course now and improve your understanding of a specific topic.

Be prepared to invest time and energy. You’ll have to unlearn a lot of things to be able to perceive it differently and really absorb the learning material. That’s why it’s recommended for kids as they don’t have concepts implanted in their mind by the society yet. Their mind is fresh and ready to start learning advanced material step by step.

Why is STEM Education Important?

There’s a debate between foundations and organizations within sectors for science, education, etc., which revolves around the use of STEM techniques and learning material in K-12 type of education. The National Science Foundation strongly believes that we could implement these teachings into our current educational system without creating a gap. By slowly integrating into the system these lessons, programs and learning material all together would become a new way of teaching and educating the youth.

So why is STEM education important again? As we’ve learned, STEM binds four major academic disciplines into one, combining the knowledge and presenting new ways of looking at problems and solutions. Instead of having four separate classes of science, technology, engineering and math, the youth can learn all disciplines at once. But STEM isn’t even about that. It’s about pinpointing modern problems and providing modern solutions using the knowledge of these four disciplines or combined knowledge. It is definitely for those that think outside of the box, as it promotes expanded and elevated way of observing things around us.

Another argument why STEM education is so important for our future and upcoming generations is that these jobs are on high demand by the industry. No matter what’s your profession or dream job, by upgrading your knowledge and investing in your future, you can still stay in that field but get far better business opportunities with STEM education. Not only that it pays well, but people with bachelor’s degrees in these areas are in a unique position to improve the world around us. It allows to express creativity and ingenuity that would be otherwise disregarded.

The Future Depends on It

People today maybe aren’t thinking about what is STEM education and why is it important, but that doesn’t change the fact that the future is depending on the expanse of these learnings. For a while now, we’ve been trying to find new solutions for energy crisis, overpopulation and other major problems. However, the Industry as it is doesn’t allow mass projection of logical solutions as it’s counterproductive for it.

Solar energy equipment may be expensive, and doesn’t go hand to hand with oil companies and industry as it is, but it’s a far better solution than the current one. With our current methods of distributing and generating energy, not only do we lower life expectancy and pollute the environment, but also make irreversible moves that will cost us in the future.

So What’s the Solution?

Now, more than ever we need modern solutions that minimize or eliminate the collateral (mass extinction of forests, animal species, global warming, etc) if we are to avoid a dystopian future. Our methods of using non-renewable material for energy has proven to be harmful for our surrounding. And this isn’t a myth or a hypothesis as the proof is all around us. China, for example has a major air pollution problem caused by the industry. Cities covered in harmful fog degrade the quality of life exponentially year after year.

STEM and similar educational system in the future are a way to change the world for the better. The goal is to improve our way of life without affecting the natural order to that extent that the system starts to collapse. We have found a temporary solution to energy crisis. Methods that have been used for decades, centuries. It is only logical that our ways would change in the future as we become more aware and gain more knowledge. However, the industry became a mechanism dependant on our “temporary methods” that obviously decrease the quality of life. These things will change however, as we won’t have a choice but to change for the better. STEM education is one example of change.

Science revolves around upgrading our knowledge of our surrounding and perfecting our tools and measuring methods. It only provides a guarantee to a certain degree that the outcome will be as predicted. Scientists make assumptions based on what we learned and what we know so far. But when the new evidence and methods of interacting with the surrounding matter arrive, it’s ready to adapt and upgrade. That’s what we need to do, upgrade and adapt our current methods and to do that we need knowledge. STEM and future programs will provide that knowledge, so the rest is up to us.

Author: Mary Lynn Holden
Author: Mary Lynn Holden

Proud mom and stepmom to an adorable bunch of kids aged 7 and up. Deeply appreciates three things in life: the help of older siblings in the house, texts on parenting, and strong coffee. Shares her stories and experiences in order to help others navigate the unpredictable waters of parenting.

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