I’m facilitating another STEM workshop today with some teachers where we explore the pedagogy and principles of the STEM learning approach. We also get to play with a great range of tech, from low tech ping pong balls and rubber bands through to high tech robotics and drones.
But my main objective for these action packed days is to instil in the attendees the purpose and ‘why’ of STEM education. As an off shoot of this, what I’ve come to realise as one of my driving passions; to demonstrate that learning can be an active, social and exciting process! It doesn’t need to be dry and systematic as it often can become.
But my other drive, and the main purpose of STEM learning theory, is the real need to see our children “equipped and enabled for a highly technological world.” This is taken from “STEM Lessons Essentials, Grade 3 to 8” by Jo Anne Vasquez, Cary Sneider and Michael Comer. It’s the ‘why’ that gives STEM its fuel and nothing says more about this than an article I saw this morning.
Amazon in the US has announced that they are about to introduce some new technology to the supermarket industry that will enable shoppers to select their food items and walk out of the shop without the need to cue or see an assistant. The tech in the trolley will scan your items and you can pay through an app on your phone.
The reality of many shop assistants and support staff, 75% by some estimates, loosing their jobs is very real. This is an example of meneal task employment being overtaken by technology. The only comforting thing about this is that the tech will need designers, coders, technicians and so on.
Are our children being prepared for this world? The tech will always develop and the only constant will be change. Do we still need convincing that STEM is the way forward? I’d advocate that it’s not a supplementary approach any more. It’s a critical part of their development!