Preparing Students for Technical Careers with STEM Learning

Today’s educational environment is more competitive than ever, partly due to the shape of the current job market, but mostly due to the shape of industrial growth over the past 30 years. The bloom of the information age has redistributed some skills that were traditionally reserved for a small class of specialized workers, and it has made other skills into necessary prerequisites for success, even in careers that traditionally required little technological engagement. As a result, even those students whose eventual career paths head into humanities, the law, or other social and administrative roles wind up needing a well-rounded base of STEM learning in addition to their preparation in a specific career.

Accelerating STEM Based Learning for Students
As a parent, adviser, or teacher, your goal for middle and high school aged students is to help them prepare for the future, and that means knowing when an extra push will help them reach the next plateau in their skill sets. This means finding extra opportunities for engagement with STEM skills, and preferably the kind of engagement that brings variety and hands-on experience to learning. Public school environments have become quite adept at teaching what can be taught in a regular classroom—what students need is the chance to apply those skills to problem solving in independent and group situations.

For teachers, a variety of independent lesson planning and activity packaging vendors have risen to supplement the traditional classroom materials in core subjects. These hands-on curricular kits help to emphasize the ways that science and technology are applied in the course of a career’s day-to-day tasks, allowing them to reinforce what they know with what they do.

The most attractive part of these Stem Based Learning kits is their adaptability. Since they come packaged with lesson plans, goals, and assessments, they can be adopted outside the classroom and put to use by educators in support roles like tutoring programs, after school club advisers, and those teaching in intermediate school district technical programs. This flexibility brings multiple avenues for student engagement with STEM learning, and in relaxed environments where students are free to explore as they go. For schools with a special focus on technology, working with a vendor whose programs encompass many levels of learning means being able to fold together in and out of class experiences to nurture every learner.

Building a Long-Term Curriculum
If you are an educator looking to put together a curriculum proposal for hands-on STEM courses or learning units for existing courses, then planning the ways that these units reinforce existing curricular goals and working with afterschool and tutorial programs to ensure synergy are just the first steps. To fully maximize learning opportunities, STEM programs need to bring learning opportunities to students in the same kind of spiraling, review-oriented process used for traditional core subjects.

That means getting other educators onboard and planning for a long-term strategy that encompasses both the middle school and high school age brackets, ensuring students experience a continuity of STEM learning opportunities throughout their entire secondary education. That way, they find themselves arriving at college and career opportunities with a firm foundation of fully realized and applicable skills that are up-to-date with the current market.