What is the Importance of STEM Education? In UAE.

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With Shameema Parveen, CEO of Edutech and Christian Bseliss, STEM Invention Advisor – littleBits Prototype Development. 

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and it has influenced our daily lives in ways we may not realize. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, with the addition of Arts, which is what the ‘A’ stands for. STREAM is the more comprehensive of the two, and it will be released soon. Christian explains that it stands for Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art, and Math.

STEM, according to Shameema, can easily become a cliché. It’s not just about robotics or 3D printing vocabulary; it’s about a lot more. STEM has resulted in a significant pedagogical shift in how teaching is carried out in today’s schools.

“We don’t want to get bogged down in all the different sorts of STEM, so we created STEM Plus, which includes Humanities, Design, Arts, and Language Arts, all of which are important for students’ growth today.” I’d like to emphasize the importance of language and language arts because we’re losing the capacity to read, so I believe it’s critical for a STEM curriculum to teach you how to speak, read, and write,” she says.

Recruiters are seeking for problem-solving skills, the capacity to generate ideas, and a “engineering or maker’s mindset.” Engineering studies can be quite theoretical, however there is now a movement in the types of courses available. Harvard, for example, has established courses that combine business and engineering and are very practical.

Christian, on the other hand, points out that the “Super Skills” for the twenty-first century, often known as the 4C’S, are not always taught to students (Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking and Creativity). These are required for any project or course that begins in elementary school. For example, when creating a prototype to present to a teacher or investors, students would not only know how to construct but also work on their communication skills in order to make a good pitch.

Christian believes that the earlier STEM is included into the curriculum, the better, since he recalls learning about games in third grade. The best way to achieve this, in his opinion, is to introduce STEM through devices and/or toys that teach programming while still being entertaining. This appears to work effectively with students since they are enthralled and are unaware that they are learning to programme by playing with what they believe are toys. This is why STEM is superior to traditional teaching since it captures students’ attention and encourages them to think creatively (Do it yourself). When we encourage kids to solve problems using their own skills rather of spoon-feeding them, we help them to be more creative in bringing their ideas to life.


Who needs STEM anyway?

To this, the response is that everyone does! Almost all professions nowadays include elements that support this.

Science, like the sun, moon, and stars, will always play an important role in the world. lands and oceans… Climate change, natural disasters, many aspects of nature, organisms (large, small, microbiological), etc. Plants and nourishment… the gasoline that heats our homes and drives our vehicles… The countdown seems to go on forever. In today’s world, innovation is synonymous with computers and cellphones, but it also refers to television, radio, magnifying devices, broadcast, telescopes, the compass, and even the steering wheel. Building plans structures, roadways, and extensions, but it also addresses current transportation issues, unnatural weather changes, and condition-friendly machines, apparatuses, and frameworks.

All we have to do is look around to see how much has been done to improve our lives and our houses in only the last decade. At the store, the bank, on tax paperwork, in managing speculations, and in the family budget, we encounter math. Mathematics is essential in every other STEM subject. STEM is important because it affects every aspect of our life.


How can teachers impart STEM knowledge to their students?

Teachers should not be fearful or nervous, according to Christian, because everyone starts somewhere and no one is born with STEM skills. There are numerous free resources and activities available for instructors to use in their classes. Regardless of the outcome, it is the method of instruction that matters, and project-based learning, in which students are at the centre and teachers take a DIY rather than an instructional approach, is highly beneficial in this scenario.

“You will never forget what you made with your own hands.” If I tell you to do something, you’ll probably forget about it after a week or so. This is illustrated by the chocolate cake analogy I used in my TEDx Talk: attempting and failing multiple times until you learn how to create a chocolate cake properly will make you an expert at this task. He added, “This may be used to any other task as well.”

It is up to the instructor to decide if STEM will succeed or fail in the classroom.

There are countries that are doing an excellent job of teaching STEM subjects utilising sticks, cardboard rolls, paper, and other commonplace things. When you look at the Montessori system, you’ll notice that they educate with leaves, rocks, and sand. For example, rocks can be used to educate about forms, and sand can be used to demonstrate porousness or how objects cling together; children learn best from their everyday experiences. Having to develop projects allows for an inquiry-based, student-centered approach that is sure to provide outcomes.

According to Shameema, today’s tools will become obsolete as new technologies emerge, thus it’s critical to teach STEM-capable abilities to students so they can adapt to any future tools. Perhaps a Hyperloop transportation manager or even a robotics doctor will be required in Dubai in the future to repair the robots. All we need to educate pupils is how to keep learning in order for them to be able to use their soft skills in the future.

We must encourage the current generation, as well as future generations of kids, to grasp and embrace the technology that touches them every day of their lives, because STEM is so vital for our children, our region, and our country. Students should be counselled on the advantages of taking as many math and science classes as feasible in middle and high school. These courses must be taught by professors who are interested and enthusiastic, and they must include both hands-on and mind-on activities. Making science and math classes engaging and interesting will not only help kids learn, but it may also plant the “seed of interest” for a satisfying STEM career.

Shameema then concluded with a great quote, “All great inventors in the world have succeeded from never giving up – the ability to keep trying  is what makes a good inventor”.