2. Entertainment and education will converge
Today’s kids are “digital natives,” having grown up around computers and other technologies. Given their familiarity with modern technology, it would be safe to assume offering young students the use of certain devices, applications or hardware within STEM lessons would be a ‘sure-fire’ way to keep them engaged and excited. However, teachers are finding that this familiarity is actually breeding a sense of apathy among their students. It’s ironically becoming increasingly difficult to present STEM lessons in a way that maintains student interest.
To generate excitement around STEM lessons, it’s important to bake educational value into areas of technology that students are already engaging with on a daily basis, such as smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, and other devices. In the next five years, we will see a convergence of entertainment and education to occupy students’ interest. For example, integrating educational content into mobile gaming will allow students to stay engaged and feel as though they are playing (when they are actually learning). With this kind of assimilation, mobile gaming and coding education can become one.
However, this is another area where a lack of teacher training becomes a roadblock. Teachers simply do not have consistent access to these new tools – or to the courses required to master them and weave them into the classroom. If we expect children to be given the tools to learn and further their STEM knowledge, we also need to give teachers equal–if not greater–time, resources and opportunities to learn.
3. The arts will change STEM to STEAM
Creating STEAM curriculum–science, technology, engineering, arts and math–is crucial to the success of student education in the next five years. When integrated into STEM, art and design give students the tools with which to think creatively and to solve complex problems. Countless studies have shown the value of art and design in a child’s education, particularly because of their ability to foster creative thinking–a skill necessary in everything from theater to organic chemistry.
The addition of art and design instruction into traditional STEM education inspires students to think in a different way. Not only does this help children succeed in school, but it also builds a foundation for expanded creativity in math and science, promoting innovation.
In the next five years, we must work to incorporate a more creative approach to STEM education. This will be essential for molding the upcoming generation of students into the future engineers, scientists, mathematicians and creators that will shape our society through the next chapter of the technological revolution. Equally important, however, will be the focus on providing teachers with the right resources – such as basic computer science and coding training, and STEM and Arts integration training – to implement the lessons that will create these workers of the future.
It all starts in the classroom.