Eric.ed.gov – STEM Education: Proceed with Caution

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The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) movement has developed from a non-educational rationale. Although some think it may enliven the delivery of maths and science in classrooms, the social and economic rationales are those that have initiated this movement. Spurred on by the global financial crisis, it is hoped that coordination and integration of STEM activities will better equip a workforce for dealing with the contemporary nature of business and industry, and encourage more school leavers to seek further training and employment in areas of engineering and science. The problem for educators here is that the consequent absence of a sound educational rationale for this combination of subjects inhibits its development. There needs to be a reason for integrating these subjects which relates to quality learning outcomes for students. Given the developing momentum of the STEM agendas, it may be unwise for technology educators to isolate themselves from this movement. In addition, it may be an opportunity to reinforce the place of Technology Education in the school core curriculum. Rather than integration, a more reasonable approach may be to develop interaction between STEM subjects by fostering cross-curricular links in a context where the integrity of each subject remains respected. However, almost as many impediments remain to interaction as to integration: rigid school timetables and curriculum structures, deficient awareness by teachers of other subject areas, inflexible classroom design, and assessment. With a focus on STEM interaction, driven by teachers, interventions can be developed which will overcome these impediments. A focus on STEM integration will not overcome the barriers, and may result in the decimation of technology as a distinct component of the school core curriculum. A STEM orientation, therefore, must be approached with caution.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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