Schools have traditionally been slow to introduce technology into the classroom. While an emphasis on core principles and foundational skills is important, today’s students require more hard STEM skills to succeed in the changing world of work than ever before.
Forward-thinking schools around the world are looking for ways to integrate technology into the school day, encourage interest and competency in STEM skills, and foster core, supplementary and soft skills that students can use to prepare for tech-focused careers.
Schools across America are experimenting with multi-media both in and outside of the classroom, offering video supplements to the homework hour and hands-on coding experience at each student’s desk. Remote study options are available right up to the post-graduate level, including the rise of low-barrier MOOCS, university-level mass online courses and programs.
An international Singapore school can lead the way by blending next-level access to technology with an emphasis on core and soft skills to prepare children for careers in technology. Interactive whiteboards, online and portal-based learning resources, and hands-on projects enhance the learning experience. Emphasis on creative problem solving, leadership, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills helps condition students for the challenges of the workplace. Emphasis is placed on understanding and putting STEM subjects and principles into action from a young age, and they’re also integrated across the curriculum for deeper, more flexible applications.
Increasingly, summer camp-style and after-school programs are available to supplement an underperforming local school’s offerings. Intensives in coding, robotics, applied problem solving, and engineering are available in many areas. Experts recommend caution when it comes to learning specific technology skills, though. They note that some traditional skills, such as rote memorization, may be becoming less valuable, but that understanding core STEM principles is more valuable then too much focus on things like specific programming languages or technology applications, since those change so quickly that they may become obsolete by the time students enter the workforce.
General comfort with technology, strong representation across STEM subjects, soft skills and core principle comprehension, along with critical thinking and creative problem solving skills are a common thread across effective, forward-thinking educational institutions. Both automation and customization are also growing trends; the ability to reduce frustrating, administration-heavy tasks may help teachers and schools place more emphasis on the individual student’s experience, and the ability to adjust learning plans to student needs at scale are being explored.
Students will need effective reasoning and problem solving skills, the ability to adapt rapidly to change and innovate, and comfortable fluency with technology to succeed in the changing career landscape. Schools can help by integrating of-the-moment technology in the classroom, focusing more on STEM subjects with a problem solving and practical emphasis than rote memorization, and encouraging soft skills in communication and creativity. Since technology changes so quickly, it will be less critical for students to have hands-on experience of current tools and languages, such as coding, and more important for them to understand the underlying principals so they can continue to learn and apply emerging technologies and stay relevant as the world of technology changes.