Role of technology in enhancing the learning of STEM subjects

Why combining diversity with STEM is a good thing for kids

Rae Wynn-Grant tracks lions through the Tanzanian savanna and bears across North American forests. As an African-American large carnivore ecologist—and mother of a daughter—the Nat Geo fellow has an important perspective on getting girls and kids of color excited about STEM. She talked to Nat Geo Family about her experience as a Black woman in science, why diversity in STEM is so important, and how to get children excited about learning.

Rae Wynn-Grant is a large carnivore ecologist.photograph by Christine Jean Chambers

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NAT GEO FAMILY: What made you want to become a wildlife biologist?RAE WYNN-GRANT: My family didn’t have a TV but my grandparents did, so I’d go to their house and watch a lot of nature shows. I was captivated by the wild animals. I’d watch these white British guys walking through the jungle with all this knowledge about the animals, and I thought, “I want to be a nature show host when I grow up.” I had no idea until I was a little older that I was being introduced to science.

NGF: And that’s when you decided what you wanted to do?RWG: Yes, but I wasn’t sure if I could be a wildlife biologist. I didn’t get very good grades in math and science, and I really struggled with self-esteem growing up. What I needed was some encouragement and self-confidence, but I wasn’t always getting that in the public school districts I attended, in California and Virginia. I think that’s a problem for a lot of kids of color, as well as girls.

NGF: You were accepted to Emory University in Atlanta and ended up being the first African American to major in its environmental sciences program. What was that like?RWG: Honestly it was an uncomfortable adjustment. Emory University is actually pretty diverse, so on campus I didn’t feel uncomfortable with my Blackness. But when I got into the environmental science department, it was really isolating. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re the only person who looks like you.

Expert: We Need to Change How We Teach STEM Subjects to Young People

STEM Industries, STEM Subjects

Though you might not know it from looking at our educational system, the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions and industries are booming and driving the growth of the economy.

In the U.S., STEM employment grew by 10.5 percent between 2009 and 2015, while non-STEM occupations experienced only a 5.2 percent net growth.Click to View Full Infographic

In the U.K. last year, the tech industry grew 32 percent faster than any other, and a 2015 study for the European Parliament predicts STEM job openings will increase in all 28 countries in the European Union until at least 2025.

For years, researchers have asserted that teaching young people how to thrive in the STEM industries will help them succeed in this future workforce. However, amidst a climate of science denial, some experts argue that education is lagging behind the rapid economic developments in motion all over the world.

University of Helsinki professor of pedagogy Kristiina Kumpulainen is one such expert. “Society and the demands of the workforce are changing at a rapid rate, as is our perception of what to teach children and what they need to know to survive,” she explained to Scientific American. “The school environment, teaching methods, and the content aren’t relatable or inspiring to them any longer, which creates motivational problems.”

Furthermore, according to Carnegie Mellon University STEM education experts David Kosbie, Andrew W. Moore, and Mark Stehlik, the U.S. is notably behind peer nations. Only about 40 percent of U.S. schools teach programming, and the programs of those that do vary widely in terms of rigor and quality. In one-third of U.S. states, computer science credits don’t count toward graduation requirements.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education has been acknowledged and unanimously held of prime importance for study curriculum to develop essential skills globally policymakers including in the World Economic Forum of 2017. Technology can play a very vital role in learning STEM subjects which include skills like complex problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. The existing problem in teaching STEM subjects is the excessive focus on theory instead of application and experience-based learning. The article takes you through the technological tools through which STEM education can be made more effective and enriching.Online interactive learning:The various online learning tools of Google like G Suite and Google Classroom have played an important role in creating the right digital environment in traditional K-12 classroomsG Suite for Education provides students and teachers with a safe, secure and easy way to share documents and provides innovative capabilitiesThese tools have improved the way teachers and students communicate and collaborateThese have facilitated active learning and allowed learners to share important information, extract core concepts from the new material, and organise a frameworkThese tools are completely in sync with learning STEM subjects, that require addressing real problems, intelligent estimation and trial-and-error problem-solving, collaboration, and intrinsic motivationGoogle for Education shareable devices help teachers to equip students with newer and more engaging ways of learning information and skills, besides allowing independent learning’; var randomNumber = Math.random(); var isIndia = (window.geoinfo && window.geoinfo.CountryCode === ‘IN’) && (window.location.href.indexOf(‘outsideindia’) === -1 ); //console.log(isIndia && randomNumber < 0.9 ); if(isIndia){ // code for showing ctn ad $(‘#fluid-container’).remove(); return; } $(‘.top2brdiv’).remove(); $(‘#fluid-container’).append(adContainer); })() Simulation:Simulation, which means the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system with the help of computer models, supports STEM learning fully

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