Exposing students to the possibilities of what they can do through STEM can help open up the doors of opportunity. Statistics show that there are thousands of unfilled jobs in STEM across the country every year, and 85% of the future jobs for 2030 don’t exist yet. Twenty years ago, a Drone Operator, Social Media Manager, App Developer, or Uber Driver were unheard of. This presents a very unique challenge in preparing our students for the future.

Pearson The Future of Skills 2030
Explore Pearson’s Future Skills universe to discover the skills that would prepare you most for your job in 2030.

Computer science and computational thinking are now foundational skills. Students as young as kindergarten age can start to develop these skills to set them on a path that could ultimately change their life trajectory. Our educational system for the past 50 years has not entirely departed from the fundamentals of the four core subjects, textbooks, paper, #2 pencils, and a teacher at the front of the room. Traditionally, teachers decide what students need to learn, when and how they will learn it, and how long it will take. However – now the pedagogy has started to change.

Many tech companies predict that the next era of innovation is human-machine partnerships – not that robots will take over human jobs. That partnership includes developing technologies that work alongside humans in a modern world. As technology advances and intensifies, the workforce of the future will need to be able to adapt quickly. Code.org found that Computing occupations makeup 58% of all projected new jobs in STEM fields. Not all of our students will not be attending traditional colleges and universities, so we have to expose them to multiple avenues to success. Maybe we should focus less on preparing kids for specific careers, and discount the idea that we have to match a degree with a specific job.

CODE.org STEM problem in computer science
Computer Science Education Stats from Code.org

Especially now that complex technologies and ‘infinite’ formation is now available at our fingertips, we must adapt to the learning styles of our students as digital natives. More students are reading online, and using apps, and using YouTube, but in a typical school day, how many meaningful decisions about their role and learning do students get to make? Too often, the answer is not many.

We as educators have to find ways to ignite their curiosity while teaching them to explore the intersections between content. This will enable a symbiotic relationship between students and teachers and the subjects being taught and learned. Most STEM jobs are an intersection of core disciplines, and that being said, they shouldn’t be taught in silos.

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Patricia Brown

Patricia Brown

Technology Specialist

Note: Fresh Ideas for Teaching blog contributors have been compensated for sharing personal teaching experiences on our blog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.