How do we get STEM education everywhere?

I Think. I Question. I Design. I Create. I Struggle. I Collaborate. I Try. I Solve. I Invent. I Reflect. I LEARN!author unknown

The students in today’s classrooms are tomorrow’s leaders. Occupations in STEM-related careers are some of the fastest growing and best paid. They also have the greatest potential for job growth in the 21st century. This is why the foundation for a strong and innovative society, at local, national and global levels is in education. As teachers, we strive to help our students grow to be the best they can be. Students with a strong foundation in STEM learning will be tomorrow’s changemakers. However, our societies are facing obstacles in implementing STEM education 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 Guevara
STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 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’s clear that STEM fields affect virtually every component of our modern lives.
 
As a teacher, the conversation around STEM education is hard to digest and convert into quality learning. Particularly, when we are held accountable to our subjects and their syllabus-based outcomes. Couple this with the fact that many STEM initiatives are very expensive and suddenly you end up in the situation we are in. Teachers agree that STEM is of high importance but the challenges are too great. Without overcoming challenges integrating with the curriculum, a shortage of money and many steep learning curves, 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. And, 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.

“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. They are 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.

The WorldSTEM Challenge logo - WorldSTEM aims to make STEM education more equitable.

WorldSTEM is well aware of the high cost that is associated with many STEM products. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right know-how, you can create simple STEM kits that can do the same things that high-end expensive kits do. We think 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!!