What to Look For in a STEM Program
STEM is one of the buzzwords in education in recent years. There are STEM schools, after-school STEM programs, STEM camps for kids, etc. STEM is basically the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math, which are the emphases in a STEM program.
Science is all about the study of the natural world. Technology has to do with human production of anything that meets a want or need. Engineering deals with the processes used to solve problems. Math involves the language of numbers, quantities, and shapes that may seem irrelevant, but are actually very much practical in everyday life.
All four disciplines are integrated to provide students a way to learn various subjects and skills with exposure to hands-on experiences. The purpose is to prime and prepare young people for the future economy.
Why Choose a STEM Education?
STEM’s essential elements seem so specifically suited to a very particular aptitude, but what about those who are more inclined towards the languages and the arts?
STEM isn’t just for those who are after a BS degree. If you want to pursue a career in literature or the arts, a STEM education will still work to your advantage. It’s all about being able to come up with solutions, so the program is really for everybody.
STEM offers a lot of benefits, two of the main ones being relevance and engagement. With digital economy continuing to gain ground, STEM provides the best preparation for it. The project-based, interactive, and authentic style of learning that STEM upholds is also very successful at engaging the students’ interest and participation.
In this time of constant stimulation, an effective STEM program captures students’ imagination and holds their attention despite all the diversions. It trains them to ask practical, profound, and substantial questions, work with their peers, and reach significant solutions.
What to Look For in a STEM Program
They may follow the same principles, but not all STEM programs are created equal. How do you decide then which one to sign up for? What should your criteria be for evaluating your options? To give you an idea, the following are qualities that good STEM programs have.
1. Productive Teamwork
Being project-based, learning is commonly conducted in groups. Productive teamwork should be evident not only among the students, but among the teachers as well.
2. Hands-on Inquiry and Open-Ended Exploration
Students are expected to produce something instead of simply answering bubble sheets. They share ideas, design their investigations, and create prototypes.
3. Encouragement of Failure
This is not to glorify failure, but to reframe it as an important part of learning. The notion that there are multiple right answers is also heavily stressed. Failure as a result of brave steps taken in continued learning is never penalized, but instead, encouraged.
4. Projects That Require a Variety of Skills to Complete
In focusing on real-world issues and problems, students are compelled to apply different skills in different areas of fulfilling a project. While they continue to hone skills that are considered their forte, they also get to exercise and improve on ones that are not their particularly specialty.
5. Value Placed As Much on Soft Skills As on Technical Skills
Besides the technical skills evidently related to science, technology, engineering, and math, they also delve into skills needed in communication, time management, leadership, etc. The students are being groomed for well-rounded success and excellence.
6. Easy-to-Access Complementary Options
STEM programs obviously have a strong emphasis on the four disciplines, but a good STEM learning center acknowledges that STEM skills may be supplemented with non-STEM courses that students might want to pursue as well. It would be to their advantage to have complementary courses such as composition and speech readily available for them to explore.
How STEM Programs Benefit Students
STEM education trains students to thrive in the real world and the future it holds. They’ll have the knowledge, skills, and ethics that will allow them to be successful no matter what they decide to do. Parents must certainly choose well to ensure that their kids gain all the benefits that a STEM program promises.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.