The State of STEM education in middle and high schools

The recent publication of a report, titled The State of STEM Education, has highlighted a concerning shortage of STEM faculty in middle and high schools. The report is based on a survey conducted by Samsung as part of their Solve for Tomorrow program, which involved polling over 400 STEM educators. The majority (94%) of these educators were primarily responsible for teaching STEM subjects.

The survey revealed that 65% of the participating educators reported their schools were facing a STEM faculty shortage, with 13% considering it a severe issue. Although teaching STEM was found to be challenging for the majority (59%), the unique rewards of promoting student curiosity and motivation were also emphasized. Interestingly, less than 8% of the respondents felt that remote learning had a more significant impact on STEM education compared to other disciplines.

Ann Woo, the director of corporate citizenship for Samsung North America, highlighted the importance of addressing the concerns of these educators to ensure the future of STEM education and the development of a vibrant STEM workforce.

Other key findings from the survey are as follows:

65% of respondents believed that their local school boards and communities supported STEM education and its success.

44% reported that project-based learning effectively engaged students and sparked interest in STEM careers.

44% also found project-based learning to be an equalizer, helping struggling students grasp STEM concepts while allowing advanced students to excel.

74% of respondents acknowledged STEM education as a valuable contribution to educational objectives.

53% considered STEM education as a pathway to future opportunities for a diverse range of students.

60% of the educators felt respected by their students, and the same percentage also reported feeling energized by students’ enthusiasm for STEM.

However, 41% of respondents felt that they were underpaid, and 26% experienced burnout.

We can see that integrating coding and robotics into STEM education can offer numerous benefits, including the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. By learning coding and robotics, students can acquire essential skills for the future job market, become more adaptable, and understand complex systems. It also fosters collaboration and teamwork as students work together on projects, building their communication and interpersonal skills. However, at present, there is a discrepancy between the enthusiasm to implement more STEM into classrooms and the lack of people who are responsible for teaching them.

In conclusion, addressing the shortage of STEM faculty and incorporating coding and robotics into education can significantly impact students’ lives, helping them thrive in a rapidly evolving world. It is essential to understand and address the concerns of STEM educators while providing the necessary support and resources for a successful STEM education system.  

Although there are many robots and coding programs available for Elementary teachers, the resources for middle and high school are much less. One such solution is Kai’s Education with their Kai’s Clan robots.

 This all-in-one STEAM toolbox incorporates the following features: 

  • collaborative coding using the cross curricular lesson plans. 
  • designing your robot avatar in Minecraft, Tinkercad allows students to creatively design their own objects to fulfill the storytelling of each project. 
  • using IoT (sensors) to read data and incorporate the data in their code allows students to have sensor data affect their virtual world, if that is Mars, or Amazon Warehouse or a smart city. 
  • using the code (Blockly/Python) students reap the rewards of watching their code and story come alive in Augmented and Virtual Reality, providing a truly immersive experience.  

While there are other resources available, Kai’s Education robots are the only ones that blend the physical and virtual worlds, offering students a unique learning experience. Incorporating coding and robotics into STEM education not only benefits students but also supports STEM educators and addresses the shortage of STEM faculty. Let’s work together to provide our students with the tools and resources they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving world.

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