The relationship between technology and STEM education

While teachers are scrambling to find new ways to equip kids with the education they need in order to go on and have a career in one of the STEM fields, the answer and help they’re looking for may be right under their noses. Technology, something that surrounds everyone every single day, may be the answer to helping teachers peak the interest of their students in STEM as well as introducing valuable new resources and skills to the students.

A research study by Common Sense Media shows how pervasive technology has already become in children’s everyday lives.

“Computer use is pervasive among very young children, with half (53%) of all 2 to 4 year olds having ever used a computer, and nine out of 10 (90%) 5 to 8 year olds having done so,” said Common Sense Media’s study.

The study reinforces the idea that if technology is going to be used more and more outside school, teachers should take advantage of it while they can and use it to the best of their ability to help kids learn about STEM.

Edutopia agreed that technology is something that has begun to expand outside of an everyday citizen’s free time into their work and/or learning environment.

“Learning through projects while equipped with technology tools allows students to be intellectually challenged while providing them with a realistic snapshot of what the modern office looks like,” especially STEM jobs.

Education Week shared a few great ideas about what kind of technology should be used in the classroom and how it should be used.

“A student with a tablet or smartphone in hand has a portal to hundreds of apps that support STEM learning. There are a lot of things that students can do on basic tablets and phones… instead of [teachers having to go] out and searching for STEM-centric lessons … This STEM-specific tablet can be connected to classroom projectors and monitors so that all the students can participate at once, or can be used as an individual tablet for customized learning in grades K-12,” Education Week wrote.

While there are a lot of positives that come with using technology in the classroom, there are some definite negatives that need to be monitored very closely if technology is really going to work. South Source, a publication of South University, shared some of those negatives and the consequences.

“Privacy and security are two concerns that can come with using social networking in the classroom. It can also become a distraction to students, or even a tool used for bullying. ...However, using social networking as part of the learning process can also have benefits. Students who are more introverted may open up and connect more with faculty and other students when they are communicating through social networking. It also affords students the opportunity to collaborate and work together in a whole new way.”

When it comes down to it, it seems obvious that despite the possible repercussions of using technology in the classroom, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Especially when it comes to increasing interest in STEM education. Without technology STEM education may begin to seem dull and uninteresting to students, along with being not in tune with the society around it which is gradually relying more and more on technology. In an increasingly technology-wound world in every single STEM field, the idea that teachers should be incorporating technology into the classroom is one that should have been done from the very beginning.

For more information, read this article on Edutopia, this article on Education Week, look at this study done by Common Sense Media and this article written by South Source.

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