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STEMania

May 23, 2011
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A few STEM items today. From the most recent issue of Technology and Engineering Teacher by Ryan Brown, Joshua Brown, Kristin Reardon, and Chris Merrill:

STEM education has been defined as “a standards-based, meta-discipline residing at the school
level where all teachers, especially science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, teach
an integrated approach to teaching and learning, where discipline-specific content is not divided, but addressed
and treated as one dynamic, fluid study” (Merrill, 2009). However, which sciences are included, and does the level of
math matter, and how is technology defined? The National Science Foundation includes sciences such as psychology,
economics, sociology, and political science in the STEM definition (Green 2007 as cited in NCES, 2009). Other definitions include the technologies that are included in Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study
of Technology (ITEA/ITEEA, 2000/2002/2007), while some solely focus on computer and information technology/
science (NCES, 2009).

How do you ensure STEM isn’t just for the smart (aka self-selection bias). Cynthia Brown:

In general, the workforce pipeline of elementary school teachers fails to ensure that the teachers who inform children’s early academic trajectories have the appropriate knowledge of and disposition toward math-intensive subjects and mathematics itself. Prospective teachers can typically obtain a license to teach elementary school without taking a rigorous college-level…

Andrew Rotherham on :

We offer scholarships and other incentives in an effort to induce them. But people chose their career path for a variety of reasons, large and small. And it’s worth asking if in this instance trying to change the choices of those who are in a position to make choices is really the most powerful leverage point here.

Mr. Rotherham’s comment doesn’t directly address Ms. Brown’s, but is relevant since many STEM majors are taken away into quantitative business occupations.

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