Engaging Students in STEM Education
The researchers Kennedy and Odell begin their literature review with a definition of the overall purpose of STEM education and to add to the development of a STEM literate society which (Bybee, 2013) defines. The global recognition of STEM education and curriculum is address with data from the European Coordinating Body in STEM Education and the U.S. President’s Council of Advisor on Science and Technology, 2010, 2011, under President Obama. Projections of fall 2021 enrollment in U.S. STEM programs in grades 9-12 show the highest increase in student population to be represented by the Hispanic/Latino students which will create a greater need and shortage of bilingual STEM educators (Kennedy & Odell, 2014). The authors discuss the Texas initiative to implement and strength with a focus on highlighting the elements of STEM as the cornerstones of student learning in Texas high schools through their 2006 program referred to as T-STEM. Kennedy and Odell outline the T-STEM Blueprint which focuses on seven benchmark evaluative items and demonstrates the static data indicating rising population and success/failures of the T_STEM academies. Their discussion also highlights the failings and shortcomings of the current implementations of STEM. They conclude with suggestions for improvements and criteria upon which to work with STEM curriculum.
With the “flattening” of the global economy in the 21st century, the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has taken on new importance as economic competition has become truly global. STEM education has evolved into a meta-discipline, an integrated effort that removes the traditional barriers between these subjects, and instead focuses on innovation and the applied process of designing solutions to complex contextual problems using current tools and technologies. Engaging students in high quality STEM education requires programs to include rigorous curriculum, instruction, and assessment, integrate technology and engineering into the science and mathematics curriculum, and also promote scientific inquiry and the engineering design process. All students must be a part of the STEM vision, and all teachers must be provided with the proper professional development opportunities preparing them to guide all their students toward acquiring STEM literacy. By focusing on student engagement, educators from institutions of higher education and K-12 schools can work together to develop pedagogical models that provide rigorous, well-rounded education and outstanding STEM instruction. This paper defines the necessary attributes of STEM programs designed to engage all students, describes a number of model programs focused on student engagement, and discusses assessments in progress.
Kennedy, T., & Odell, M. R. (2014). Engaging students in STEM education. Science Education International, 25(3), 246-258.