What is STEM?

Definition of STEM: The term STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is an acronym used by those relevant to the educational method concerning the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This term was first used in 2011 by the biologist Judith A. Ramaley, who as head of the Natural Science Institution of the U.S.A., was in charge of developing new educational programs. STEM is an educational approach designed to combine technology and engineering along with science and mathematics, which are vital in order to understand the laws of the universe. The University of Colombia stated that the basic question to be answered is “How can we give such a meaning to education so that children would want to remain at school, improve their performance and graduate high school with the proper knowledge in order to start their academic education and enter working market?”

The answer to this question is simple: Students would have to be trained properly so that they can understand that their own prosperity depends on the quality of the whole world they live in, in other words they should be educated in matters like the climatic change, renewable energy sources, natural environment etc.. A nation deeply educated is able to meet the everyday challenges and innovate. The United States have already acknowledged that they have fallen behind in the fields of science and mathematics and for that reason president Obama  alerted the community to take action in order to deal with this problem. With the moto “educate to innovate” a grand campaign was initiated to offer children the opportunity to develop their capabilities in an ideal environment. STEM education is now an economic must in the country, as more than 30 prospering occupations will require STEM knowledge in the near future. Furthermore, according to a study of the Brookings Metropolitan program, major areas whose citizens have been trained in the STEM philosophy have a strong economy and equality of income among the working classes.

This means that it is now more than ever essential for all governments to invest in this pioneering initiative. Throughout Europe, countries that aim to develop their industry, try to induct STEM in their education systems. To this direction, in 2009 begun an effort in the European school network, based in Brussels, so that some of the schools would develop pilot activities and technologies in the classroom, exploring the use of educational material in teaching STEM. Stem education is an attempt to evolve from the tutor-centered approach into a teaching method that involves problem solving, creative initiative, research and hands-on activities. STEM offers a chance for children to develop their abilities encouraging then to answer questions and get involved with fun activities based on science, mathematics, engineering and technology. It is truly impressive how the children react to this method, as they seem to find it more interesting and appealing. By applying STEM through various projects, students learn to process facts and focus on solving problems and gain abilities fitting to global education, develop critical thinking and work in a team, while it has also been reported that the knowledge gap between children from different countries has significantly been decreased. In this philosophy, a new project was born, called “ STEM on the road” aiming to initiate social awareness and ensure everyone’s involvement in achieving real increase in children’s performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.