STEM is Greater than Programming and Robotics

STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) is the newest subject that is being driven to help develop tomorrow’s ever evolving Society. We have to be mindful when we talk about STEM because it’s not just a buzzword educators should throw around to signify the advancement and evolution of school education programs.

The biggest misconception I run into is the new association that STEM implies a simple Robotics program. Even though I am an engineer by trade I more often than not correct people that STEM is not only made up of Programming, Robotics, Engineering nor Aerospace. STEM is a deeper, complex, extensive subject that covers different concepts, skills, principles and topics.

There’s no arguing that robotics is STEM’s new darling, but I challenge, “how do one dimensional robotics programs teach all the STEM concepts in a manner that’s not limiting?” Let me say for the record that Robotics is the best platform to use to launch STEM educations. In my experience coaching robotics is that after you build a robot, and then what? What did the child learn and can they then after build a robot to solve a particular need? Without creative problem scenarios, an engaging storyline, mentally stimulating exercises  and hands on activities, what lesson does the student learn from building a LEGO’s EV3 robot and playing with it using bluetooth connectivity and  touch screen cellphone controllers?

STEM isn’t merely guiding a student to build a robot and play with it. It should be also about growing the student’s ability to think through problems and solve it themselves. STEM is just not robotics, electronics or programming, it is the entire gambit of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The main goal of STEM is to teach  tomorrow’s future innovators how to implement what they study in their classrooms. The biggest deliverable that STEM education should deliver is an education that prepares the student in school to solve real world problems. It is vital and important to introduce students to more concepts such as chemistry, biology, decision analysis, design, simulation, problem identification and many more…

True STEM programs expand their curriculum to use both Robots, Technology, Self- Critical Thinking and Fun Interactive Labs. All this is easier said than done but when STEM programs incorporate all 4 facets of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) it provides an enjoyable learning experience for the students. This perhaps gives rise to the romantic association of STEM to robotics because robots are similar to toys and hence most programs use this as their entire STEM solution. The true solution to STEM education lies in the ability to teach complex STEM topics using engaging, fun and enjoyable education for life.

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STEM education is the best way for students to learn the practical application of Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematics principles.  I have long believed that education is two fold. Aside from first learning the theory and subjects in the classroom, it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce learn how to apply the knowledge they acquire.

It is not enough to simply give young innovators and pioneers the building blocks and then leave them to figure out how the pieces come together without teaching them how the different pieces fit together. The Design Technology and Innovations (DTI) program was developed to introduce students to real world  principles and good practices used in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our hands on and minds on program provides fun interactive STEM labs that help students guide themselves through a conceptual journey of problem solving.  Our team has developed fun, easy to use and enjoyable interactive labs that challenge students to solve problems with minimal assistance from coaches. Students that go through this program will have an in depth understanding of STEM, enjoy labs and learn how to build prototype designs they can send home.