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What is STEM?

What is STEM (science, technlogy, engineering, mathematics) and what are the benefits of STEM education? Here's how to set students up for success.


What is STEM, exactly? Many people know it has something to do with math and science but might not be aware of the immense value this branch of education offers to people of all ages, especially children.

Here's what parents and students need to know about STEM education, its applications and what's required for success.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for "science, technology, engineering and mathematics," a group of interconnected academic subjects. You may also see the acronym STEAM, which adds "arts" into the mix. However, STEM education is a bit more complicated than just taking courses in those four subjects. It refers to an interdisciplinary teaching method where students are shown the connection between the concepts they're studying and real-life applications of the skills they're building.

The National Science Teaching Association explains that STEM is not a specific subject or curriculum, but rather a way of organizing and delivering instruction to encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and high-order thinking. Today, STEM programs commonly involve computer science, engineering and robotics, and courses are taught to students of all ages, ranging from kindergarten to college.

Why is it important for students?

There are a number of reasons why STEM education can benefit all students. In addition to helping students acquire in-demand hard skills, STEM programs teach valuable soft skills, such as collaboration, communication, problem solving and leadership. Students also build resilience by learning to embrace mistakes and failure as part of innovation. These lessons can help students develop confidence, creativity and skills that have practical applications in everyday life, not just in STEM fields.

In an increasingly technology-driven world, students who possess these skills are also poised for success in a variety of growing careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations—which include fields like engineering, computer programming and physical and life sciences—are expected to grow an impressive 8% by 2029, compared to just 3.7% for all occupations. There's a lack of experienced candidates in many of these fields, so STEM students often have many opportunities available to them. Additionally, STEM careers typically offer significantly higher wages than other occupations, even for entry-level positions.

What do students need to excel?

Naturally, students excel when they have an interest in the subject matter, but there are other factors that can contribute to success as well. For instance, research has shown that, in addition to STEM knowledge and skills, students need opportunities to put what they've learned into practice. This might involve joining a club at school or in the community that would allow them to apply the knowledge they're acquiring in class. There are also many products designed to help kids develop these skills at home, such as science, robotics, engineering and coding kits.

Additionally, students need access to certain resources to move forward in their STEM education. Many of their projects will require access to the internet, and you can set them up for success with a fiber internet connection, which offers fast speeds without lag or buffering. Uninterrupted internet access enables them to communicate with peers and teachers, encourages relationship-building and collaboration and promotes exploration by giving them the ability to research topics of interest to them. There are also many STEM projects and resources online that can help students further their skill sets in their own time.

For students who are interested in math, science and related subjects, STEM education can offer a pathway to success and fulfillment throughout life. You can give the students in your life access to the tools they need to succeed by upgrading to Ting Internet for fast, reliable internet.

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