STEM 101

Mary Shumway, State Director of Career and Technical Education

Mary Shumway, State Director of Career and Technical Education

STEM 101

If you live in the U. S., the buzz surrounding “STEM” is unavoidable. But the lack of a clear definition of STEM – or even its component parts (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) – may have us buzzing without fully recognizing basic differences in our understanding. “STEM 101” is an effort to increase your awareness of STEM, and to recognize the various foundations upon which different conversations about STEM are based.

Utah has its share of organizations, partnerships and government agencies working to increase participation in STEM including the STEM Action Center.

The buzz around STEM began with debates in education and immigration as concerns were raised about a lack of qualified candidates for high-tech jobs. The STEM buzz also fed into concerns about the way subjects were being taught “in silos.” Science and math are long-recognized “core academics,” and the introduction of technology and engineering to the mix was an effort to highlight the need to apply science and math in better integrated curriculum.

The U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published their first STEM-Designated Degree Program List in 2008, identifying college majors associated with occupations for which foreign workers were needed. In education there were efforts to help students understand rigorous academics by applying science, technology, engineering, and math in “real-world” contexts, and assuring that students were developing the 21st century skills that would make them college and career ready. The buzz grew, and there were other groups that saw value in associating with STEM.

Utah has its share of organizations, partnerships and government agencies working to increase participation in STEM including the STEM Action Center. The STEM Action Center was funded in the most recent session of our state legislature, and charged with:
> Supporting instructional technology and related professional development.
> Developing the STEM education endorsement and related incentive program.
> Promoting STEM in middle school, in part through enhancing CTE Intro.
> Promoting STEM education initiatives that result in certifications in high schools across the state.

So, what’s a person to do? Perhaps this background has only served to confuse you further, but here are the two main points. Continue reading at http://www.utahcte.org/blog/stem-101/

Mary Shumway is the Director of Career and Technical Education at the Utah State Office of Education. You may reach her at mary.shumway@schools.utah.gov. Learn more about Career and Technical Education on the UtahCTE.org Web site. This is a cross-post from the CTE Directions newsletter, April Educator Edition.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply