Cultivating The Future: STEM Education in International Schools
What is STEM Education?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Since there’s Science and Mathematics, you might think your child learning Chemistry or Physics consists of STEM Education but that’s not it. STEM Education is an interdisciplinary and applied approach to the four aforementioned subjects. This means that rather than just teaching teaching these subjects separately, a STEM education integrates them together in a a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
Why is STEM Education Important?
As the world moves towards globalization and becoming a knowledge-based economy, innovation in the areas of science and technology become increasingly important. Though social sciences and the humanities have a vital and enduring place in our society, there can be no doubt that STEM sectors are growing exponentially and will only continue to rise in the future.
According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are projected to grow at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%. It is estimated that individuals with careers in STEM have median incomes that are almost double that of the overall US median income. STEM degree holders have a higher income than non-STEM students even in non-STEM careers.
The Role of International Schools
Despite the vital role STEM occupations play in our future, research shows most students are not interested in STEM education. Only 16 percent of high school students expressed an interest in STEM. However, international schools have several unique factors that make them especially equipped to spark a lifelong passion in this field for their students. Take a look below:
- STEM Curricula
For a number of international schools STEM education is directly taught in the curriculum. For example, Shattuck-St.Mary’s Forest City International Schoolhas a STEM program where students will be taught skills and processes in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Students will utilize their knowledge and skills of these four components together synergistically in collaborative group ‘project based learning.’
Additionally, there is MITstem International School an international school wholly dedicated to providing exceptional STEM education for its students. The school touts itself as a Global Technology Training Institution and STEM International school dedicated to fostering future leaders in the field of STEM. Design and Technologies is an integral part of their curriculum where students are able to learn with various cutting-edge technologies such as drones, 3D printers and hololens.
- Integration of Technology
Additionally, most international schools integrate technology seamlessly in their curriculum. Technology is used to enhance learning and produce more effective and collaborative classrooms. Many international schools provide students with personalized tablets and laptops. Students become intimately familiar with technology and are encouraged to explore it further. They learn to utilize and apply it in many creative ways.
- STEM Focused Activities and Events
Nexus International School recently held STEM Week, where students were able to challenge themselves and have fun in a huge variety of STEM focused activities. These fascinating activities included an engineering Boat Float Challenge, programming Microbits to alter LED screen patterns, heart and lung dissections, research presentations, math competitions and more.
In addition, many international schools also provide students with field trips to places such as science museums and cultivate where they can further cultivate an interest in STEM. Furthermore, international schools also have a wide range of co-curricular activities with Robotics Clubs, Coding Clubs, and more.
- State Of The Art Facilities
Moreover, international schools are equipped with cutting-edge facilities that are prepared to support students interest in STEM. For example, MTIstem has a wide array of specialized STEM laboratories such as the Electronic Lab, Fanuc Lab, Hydraulic Lab, Coding Lab, Omron Lab, Mech Lab and more.
- Culture of Innovation
STEM is more than just scientific and technological knowledge and skills, its about utilizing those abilities in new and creative ways. International schools promote critical thinking and creative problem solving. Expert educators in international schools promote intellectual growth through open discussions. International school educators appreciate creativity in all forms and seek to foster it, instead of stifling it. International school students are given the opportunity to explore independently and expand their intellectual horizons.
Moreover a great number of international schools have innovative programs designed to further promote creativity. For instance, Shattuck-St.Mary’s Forest City International School’s weCreate Program allows students to explore their interests and develop their passions through personalized lessons. If a student is in interested in robotics they can learn that, if they are interested in video production they can learn that too. Whatever their interests the school will provide the necessary resources and guidance to ensure students