With the advent of new teaching methods, the word STEM has gained a lot of popularity in recent times.
But what is STEM and why is it important?
STEM is an acronym consisting of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. But at its core, STEM is much more than just an acronym.
STEM is a teaching philosophy that inculcates learning through collaborative problem-solving and practical applications.
To Decode STEM and some common misconceptions around it, Ezyschooling and Aviotron Aerospace recently partnered to conduct a panel discussion with experts from the field of education. The star-studded panel included,
1. Dr. Anupama Srivastava (Principal of Gaurav Memorial International School)
2. Rajiv Kumar Singh (Principal of Skylark World School)
3. Ch. Vaishnav (Co-founder of Aviotron Aerospace Pvt. Ltd)
4. Paramjit Kumar (Principal of DAV International School)
5. Indu Sharma (Principal of Sundar Deep World School)
6. Alka Singh (Principal of BlueBells Model School)
7. Kulwant Marwal (Director of Rukmanidevi Rungta Vidyalaya, Sanskar Vidya Bhavan, Rungta Vidya Bhavan)
What is the meaning and origin of the term STEM?
As mentioned above, STEM is an acronym consisting of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It was introduced by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2001 and has gained popularity ever since.
However, STEM is much more than 4 words coming together.
“Applying already existing knowledge and solving real-life problems is the base of STEM”, Alka Ma’am rightly pointed out.
In Layman's terms, Science proposes the why, Technology explains the how, Engineering promotes analytical and design thinking, whereas Math carves relationships between concepts. Integrated together, STEM is an interdisciplinary approach that fuels hands-on learning, she further added.
Why has STEM gained its popularity in the past few years and how is it different from STEAM?
With COVID-19, educators all over the world were forced to encourage learning online. This gave birth to newer and innovative methods to reinforce learning techniques.
“In the past, most Nobel Laureates were from STEM backgrounds but unfortunately we lost track in between. It is great to see STEM learning coming back into talk now.”, Indu Ma’am said.
Along with STEM, another common acronym is STEAM. STEAM is an extension of STEM, where A stands for Art or Humanities.
STEAM cultivates thinkers, innovators, and job creators. It inculcates thinking out of the box and emphasizes creativity in STEM.
As Paramjit Sir rightly pointed out, In a game, we either win or we learn how to win. This is the mentality STEAM aims to bring about in learners all over the world.
“Art in STEAM is both required and powerful. Add Art to STEM and you get a whole new avenue. For example, look at data visualization. STEAM is much more inclusive and collaborative and is certainly the way to go”, Rajiv Sir rightly pointed out.
How does STEM play a major role in the implementation of the NEP 2020 framework?
With the advent of the NEP 2020 framework, there have been a lot of talks about new-age skills. In fact, according to a survey, from 2016-19 job postings based on STEM have increased by 44%. NSF has also predicted that 80% of all global jobs would require a STEM background.
“The NEP 2020 and STEM go hand in hand. NEP would help in the enhancement and integration of STEM in classrooms. Students will be exposed to a multidisciplinary approach to education where learning takes precedence over academics.”, Alka Ma’am said.
STEM will foster creative thinking and result in more critical, creative, and research-oriented thinking and thus result in the successful implementation of NEP 2020.
In what way does the general mass misconceive the value of STEM and how does that affect teaching methods?
“To discuss what is STEM, it is important to understand what is not STEM. Contrary to popular belief, Robotics, Coding and Advanced Calculus does not constitute STEM”, said Vaishnav Sir.
Many people confuse STEM with pure science. Instead, STEM lies in everyday life and is not just Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
It is especially important to discuss real-life scenarios while implementing STEM learning. Relating problems to real-life makes it easier to solve problems using logic and fundamentals.
How does STEM relate to quantifiable student outcomes both in terms of academic and personality and what is the science behind it?
“STEM originates from asking questions. Leaning STEM instills confidence and is crucial to growing personality”, says Paramjit Sir
In terms of academics and personality, STEM is proven to improve critical thinking, problem solving, communication, observational skills, and decision making.
As Anupama Ma’am rightly pointed out, it develops the 5Cs- Collaboration, Communication, Coordination, Critical thinking, and Creativity.
What is the advice to educators and parents who want to choose STEM for their children?
Many educators and parents are often critical of choosing STEM for their children. However, our experts had some wonderful advice to share.
“It is important to encourage questions from children. STEM learning doesn’t need sophisticated equipment. Take them to museums, nature walks and ask them open-ended questions. At its core, STEM is curiosity”, said Rajiv sir.
Every child is born with a scientific temperament and it is our responsibility to not kill this scientific curiosity, Anupama Ma’am further added.
It is thus important for educators to let children escape the rat race and enjoy learning. As Kulwant Sir rightly pointed out, students should be given the freedom for OTPA- Observe, Think, Process, and Apply.
How does Aviotron contribute to the purpose of creating awareness about this?
Aviotron aims to inculcate STEAM education in all by working closely with stem.org in order to spread the STEAM movement globally through their flagship program ‘AeroBay’.
“It is important to break down complex problems into day to day issues that the child can relate with. This opens doors to critical thinking and innovative problem solving”. Aviotron Aerospace Co-founder, Vaishnav Sir added.
At AeroBay, they impart hands-on experiential learning ecosystem solutions through futuristic technologies such as Design thinking, Drones, Aerospace, Space-Ed, EV’s, and much more. Their long-term vision is to bridge the gap between academic standards and industry requirements so every kid has an equal and fair opportunity of exploring trending technologies at the right time developing their academics, 21st century skills, and providing them with much-needed industrial exposure.
To book a demo class or to get more information you can visit their website at https://aerobay.in.