I think. I question. I design. I create. I struggle. I collaborate. I try. I solve. I invent. I reflect. I LEARN! (Author unknown)
– Author unknown
The students in today’s classrooms are tomorrow’s leaders. Occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related careers are some of the fastest growing and best paid and they have the greatest potential for job growth in the 21st century. The foundation for a strong and innovative society at local, national and global levels is in education. Teachers strive to help their students grow to be the best they can be and it is becoming increasingly apparent that students with a strong foundation in STEM learning will be tomorrow’s changemakers. However, education is facing obstacles in implementing STEM equitably due to a lack of affordability, accessibility and actionability.
The walls of the educational system must come down. Education should not be a privilege, so the children of those who have money can study.
– Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
Some common STEM areas include aerospace engineering, astrophysics, astronomy, biochemistry, biomechanics, chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, mathematical biology, nanotechnology, neurobiology, nuclear physics, physics and robotics, among many, many others. It is clear that STEM fields affect virtually every component of people’s modern lives.
The full scope of the conversation around STEM education is hard to take in all at once for teachers, particularly when they are held accountable to their subjects and their syllabus-based outcomes. Couple this with the fact that many STEM initiatives are very expensive and suddenly the current situation is the result; one where teachers agree that STEM is of high importance, but because of challenges integrating with the curriculum, a shortage of money and a steep learning curve, no real change can occur.
What if there was a solution? What if somebody modified STEM tasks and challenges so that they directly related to core curriculum outcomes? What if someone packaged simple, teacher-friendly STEM kits at a fraction of the commercial price? A new Australian startup is doing just that!
WorldSTEM realises that there are a number of obstacles to educators teaching STEM. The aim is to make student-friendly resources that support teachers in overcoming these challenges. WorldSTEM is an Australian-based initiative with a worldwide ambition. Created by real teachers who have faced the same problems as other educators when implementing STEM, Rob McTaggart and Brett Salakas have found and are developing workable solutions for students and educators at all levels.
WorldSTEM is currently developing a series of activities that are STEM-related and link directly to different curriculums around the world. They will launch their concept with a global STEM challenge where teachers can select from a range of provocations or projects, and classes can demonstrate their outcomes with short videos online. The aim is to celebrate STEM learning and break down barriers so that students everywhere can benefit from the many opportunities of a STEM education.
WorldSTEM is well aware of the high cost that is associated with many STEM products, but it does not have to be that way. With the right know-how, teachers can create simple STEM kits that can do the same things that high-end expensive kits do. STEM should be about the learning and the possibilities, not about the cost. WorldSTEM is just some proudly ‘geeky’ teachers getting together to make really affordable resources for students and teachers everywhere so that STEM learning can truly be for all!