Computers, smarts phones, and other devices have become extensions of who we are. We have become so accustomed to being connected that it would be challenging to revert to life before the technological renaissance of our era. In the United States, STEM education is focused on innovation, digital literacy, and career employment in these fields. This does not just relate to personal devices but also information technology, management systems, and medical devices that are crucial for patient care. Recently, federal and state governments have been investing more and more money into STEM education because of its importance in every facet of our lives.
Advancements in technology, medicine, space exploration, and many other areas could not have been possible without strides in the number of people studying STEM. The subject areas are incredibly important to society. As more and more students are switching to online schools, integrating STEM curriculum into these programs is crucial.
What is STEM Education?
STEM incorporates four subject areas: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Rather than teaching each subject separately, STEM learning integrates these areas and applies them to real-life situations. Due to their heavy role in society, STEM programs have been gradually implemented into school districts across the country. Unfortunately, implementation is slow, and students usually do not learn STEM concepts until later in their educational career. School districts and educators have been implementing after school programs for elementary students and saving the actual courses for old students. More recently, we have seen an increase in STEM programs being integrated into elementary classrooms, but the transition is still slow.
People realize the benefits of learning STEM concepts starting at a young age. When children learn musical instruments at a young age, they are more musically inclined and it is easier for them to pick up additional instruments. Likewise, the earlier students learn coding languages, the sooner they will master computer programing and other STEM concepts.
What Does Elementary STEM Coursework Look Like?
For STEM curriculum to be successful, students must get hands-on practice working with the concepts that they are learning. In a traditional classroom, this can be straightforward since computer access is very prevalent in both private and public schools. However, an increasing number of parents are choosing non-traditional schooling methods for their children, such as homeschool or online school.
In a classroom, students may learn to code through computer programs or build robots for science projects. Likewise, many online schools include STEM curriculum. Their courses use exercises, labs, and other activities within STEM courses so students can practice applying concepts and see how they relate to everyday life. Homeschooled students can also be exposed to these subjects. For example, many educational apps are available that teach children coding and computer programming through fun, kid-friendly games and activities for tablets or iPads.
Is STEM Education in Online School Effective?
Many types of students can be successful in attending online schools, but not all these programs are built the same. When parents are deciding on whether online school is right for their child, looking at STEM curriculum may be something to consider. Some online or homeschool curriculum programs focus on the core subjects of math, reading, science, and social studies with several extracurriculars. With the growing importance of digital literacy, homeschooling parents should incorporate STEM education into their curriculum, whether it is investing in a homeschool program or simply downloading several coding and computer programming apps.
Investing in STEM education is incredibly beneficial for every student’s future because it can pave the way for higher education and career opportunities. Not only is STEM learning beneficial for the student, but it is also beneficial to society at large. STEM is directly related to progress in health care, technological advancements, and new methods of transportation as well as small inventions that add to our overall quality of life.