STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – is not well understood by society, institutions, politicians, or individuals. Many see it as a collection of individual disciplines, each requiring traditional specialised study. Professionals working in STEM tend to define their disciplines with reference to professional practice competencies such as problem-solving, communications, ethics and experiments – competencies that also exist in many non-STEM disciplines. But while innovation and problem-solving are not unique to STEM disciplines, they are fundamentally embedded in STEM education.
This report focuses on different pedagogical approaches to introducing an integrated STEM education, the benefits to students, and the importance of supporting teachers with professional learning that builds confidence and content knowledge, and improves classroom practice. It suggests that new assessment practices are needed to measure the more intangible skills developed through integrated STEM education, such as problem-solving, creativity, communication and team work. It is also clear that traditional notions of classrooms, with their emphasis on teacher-centred approaches to learning, need rethinking.
This report responds to five common questions about STEM education:
- What is STEM education?
- Why is STEM education important?
- How do we include STEM education in school education?
- What impact is STEM education likely to have on students?
- What will be the indicators of success of STEM education?