The first engineering school in Australia opened in 1861 with 15 students enrolled. From handwritten notes to online lectures and task-based learning, learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has definitely come a long way. 150 years later, STEM is being recognized around Australia as a force to be reckoned with. Since its humble start, the government has allocated a lot of resources to make sure that STEM subjects are given their due importance.
The Australian government has put aside AUD$64 million as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NIA) to fund STEM initiatives in Australian schools. Some of these initiatives include, Embracing the Digital Age and Inspiring STEM Literacy. They have also put aside $1.5 million to introduce Artificial Intelligence in Schools.
In 2015, the Australian government set up the National STEM School Education Strategy, which is meant to continue until 2026. The Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) is another initiative that was started in 2018 and continued for a second year this year. The program initially targeted 97 preschools, 400 educators and 4000 children around the country and then progressed to 110 preschools in 2019.
The future of STEM in Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that STEM will still be important into the future. They predict that jobs of tomorrow will need problem solving skills, digital skills and creative thinking. With the amount of money that the Australian government has put into STEM in recent years, it is definitely a worthwhile investment.
Today, many universities and STEM related industries see life-long learning as an imperative skill. They have coined the term, ‘micro-credentialing’ – where people need to go back to school for shorter courses but have to constantly upgrade themselves to keep up with the trends. As technology changes rapidly and continues to become more and more complex, employees too, need to constantly upgrade themselves.
STEMmates for the future
STEMmates is proud to be one of the beacons of STEM in Australia. We endeavor to make sure that every child that comes to our courses is inspired and encouraged to continue their STEM journey.
Our hands-on classes and activity-based workshops are designed to spark excitement in the eyes of our young learners. Our courses also teach students essential soft skills that are crucial for their future lives. Our aim is to get them ‘career-ready’, even when they are as young as 7 years old.
We can only imagine what lies ahead for the future of STEM. But we need to make sure that our children hit the ground running. Make sure that your child is prepared for what lies ahead.
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Failure is usually defined as a lack of success. Not being able to succeed in a certain venture or attempt at something. Unfortunately, failure comes with a lot of negative connotations, so much so, that we don’t want it anywhere in our lives. But, is this reasonable?
Many self-help books talk about failure, but most importantly, the positive side of something as negative as this. Let’s look at the plethora of bumper stickers, motivational posters and inspirational quotes that talk about failure in a positive light. “Failure is the key to success” and “If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again”. These are very commonly known lines that have been used as encouragement when one has not performed so well. And these are the connotations that should accompany failure. Not those of disheartenment and giving up.
Failure in STEM
Students in Australia have been dropping out of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects for fear of failure. They assume that these subjects are too difficult, and therefore, would rather choose an easier path to score well in examinations. This year saw
high-level math enrolments drop to its lowest number in 20 years. A study done on 2000 students from 12-25 years old, saw many of them having very low confidence levels in math and considering engineering a “hard” subject. This was especially so among females. This aversion to STEM subjects due to their perceived difficulty and possible cause of failure is a big reason why students are steering clear of these in schools and for their later careers.
Encouraging the failure
As adults, educators, parents and guardians, as strange as this will sound, we need to be advocates for failure. We need to promote these truisms, that “success taught me nothing, failure taught me everything!”. We have to show the younger generation that failure is essential to becoming successful later in life, and STEM subjects are just an example of all of the hardships that they may encounter, and then eventually thrive from. The more children know that it is okay to fail, the more they will simply want to try. Difficult subjects in school, along with examinations and tests, are just the first hurdles they will have to leap over.
Success with STEMmates
STEMmates courses are designed to teach young learners that failure (or the fear of it) is not something that should stop someone from having a go. Instead, we focus on allowing learners to develop using problem-solving and critical analysis, rather than rote learning. Learners are encouraged to not give up and try again – figuring out complexed assignments through trial and error methods and communicating, both with their teachers and with each other. This also eventually helps them to retain their new knowledge a lot longer and, hopefully, keep them interested in STEM way into their future.
The industrial revolution made it necessary for all children to learn to read. We started out with the alphabet and nursery rhymes – and progressed onto harder literature. Similarly, the current technological revolution is making it critical for all children to understand STEM, from a young age. STEM refers to the learning of science, technology, engineering and math and as we continue to grow and become more modern, these topics are becoming more and more fundamental.
Not all children are made for academics. Many children hate the idea of going to school, sitting down for hours on end and studying. Especially if the subject they’re learning doesn’t seem interesting enough for them. Gone are the days when we were just told that we had no choice but to go to school and we had to study whatever our parents told us to. Children nowadays have choices, and voices and boy, do they use them!
Technology has given children the power to find information from sources other than school, which may sometimes not be beneficial for them. But they look for information that excites them. How then can we make them study important subjects and make it their decision to do so?