Many children in the formative years of their education (7-12) have interests, talents and curiosities that simply cannot be satisfied in traditional public or private education settings. Research shows students in the United States are far behind their counterparts in other countries in key areas of learning. Industries are calling for creative problem solvers with the ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and work efficiently. Most importantly, they’ll demand inventive leaders with experience in STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
STEM programs were first branded by Judith A. Ramaley, the former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division. A STEM-based curriculum applies an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Traditional academic teachings are paired with real-work applications, giving students the critical thinking skills to solve problems. The best STEM programs will combine expert instruction, hands-on learning and real-world tools, resulting in an education that’s more interactive, engaging, and effective.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16% of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. In addition to having major implications for the United State’s role in the competitive global economy, it also serves as an indication of which fields will be lacking qualified workers in decades to come. In today’s technology-driven economy, STEM education provides opportunity for every student to succeed.
What are parents to do to help their children succeed in an increasingly technological world, as traditional education in many areas of the U.S. lags behind in these key STEM fields? While some educators are engaged in these activities, many are not empowered to do so. As traditional education experiences budget crises, non-traditional education is flourishing in the STEM fields.
STEM education classes cover a variety of topics from science, to robotics, gaming and website development. Students who have the interest and aptitude for STEM at an early age highly benefit from the exposure to these subjects. Both now and in the future, as the workforce expands and more STEM talent is needed to fuel the robotics industry, the gaming profession, automation, and more – experts predict that businesses and organizations will continue to be impacted by a workforce shortage of STEM informed students.
More importantly, STEM programs are designed to make the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math FUN! Hands-on activities can include the building of video games, mobile apps, robots, 2D and 3D animations, digital music and more.
In recent years, STEM-based learning centers have risen in popularity, offering affordable and accessible classes after school, on weekends and over school holidays. Mindframe Education, based in Ashburn, Virginia, offers classes like game design development, engineering, robotics and app development. Mindframe’s classes place a heavy emphasis on fun. The students have an incredible time participating in activities such as Saturday night Minecraft tournaments – but the learning they receive surpasses even the fun. Mindframe recognizes the importance of developing well-rounded students, for this reason, they include non-tech activities in the curriculum, including games, challenges, nature activities and local field trips.
For students, participation in these auxiliary STEM educational classes may mean the difference between a lucrative profession and a mediocre income. And more importantly STEM education fulfills a need that traditional education has yet to fully incorporate.
Interested in a STEM curriculum for your K-12 child? At Mindframe Education, our goal is to provide the best in STEM learning opportunities to empower students to become tomorrow’s leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Click here to try a free class!