You might have heard the term STEM mentioned lately.
The acronym that has educators, businesses and politicians abuzz, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is considered the cornerstone to our nation’s prosperity. It is an interdisciplinary approach to learning by combining multiple academic subjects and focusing on real-world lessons. It is about students applying science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work and the world around them while moving students forward – creating stronger problem solvers and more creative innovators to lead the global economy.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, innovation, largely derived from advances in science and engineering, is a primary driver of the future economy and creation of jobs. However, the percentage of science and engineering degrees awarded annually peaked in the 1960's. In Central Florida, we actually lag behind. Only 20% of the degrees awarded in Central Florida are in the STEM fields, compared to 30% nationally.
Students are finishing high school without being fully prepared for college. According to The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 report, only 19% of Florida’s class of 2013 scored “college-ready” on all four ACT exams. When compared to performance nationally, Florida ranked 41st in math and 48th in science on the 2013 ACT. In an increasingly competitive world, where innovation is the key to a flourishing economy, the need for us to educate ourselves and our children in STEM fields is more pressing than ever.
Orlando Science Center is taking a stand in the efforts to revitalize STEM education in our community. Whether you encounter us here in the facility with your family, with your Scout organization, on a field trip, or even through one of our off-site school programs, our goal is the same – to show people that exploring these critical areas in an informal way can be fun, exciting and even inspiring.
Our hope is that you’ll take the things you discovered as a result of your time with us and use them as a springboard to explore at home and in school too. Our ultimate goal is to create a STEM-centered community that paves the way towards excellence in science, technology, engineering and math.
If future generations don’t receive an adequate STEM education, they won’t have the opportunity for the highest paying jobs, compete in a global market or fill the STEM pipeline that leads to economic growth. We hope you’ll join us on this journey!
16 February 2012
Posted in At Science Center
Dr. Ioannis N. Miaoulis, President and Director of the Museum of Science, Boston visited the Orlando Science Center this week to speak to a select crowd of educators, community leaders, science center staff and trustees. and other VIP's about his efforts to impact Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in America.
When Dr. Miaoulis first arrived in the U.S. from Greece, he was surprised at the level of confusion from American students about what Engineering actually is. He saw the term engineering used in many contexts from train drivers, to anything that needs fixing, even as a label on janitorial closets.
He noticed that the science taught in our schools was primarily focused on natural science, ignoring the aspects of our world that is human made. He felt that the US had reached a point where there was great attention paid to how many legs grasshoppers have rather than explaining how the items like buildings, cars and roads came to be.
The answer to this query became his life calling and Dr. Miaoulis began to lead the charge in Massachusetts to introduce engineering into the school curriculum and ultimately impact STEM focus on national educational standards.