What do we mean when we say “STEM education”? For years now, we’ve recited that STEM means “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” We’re often somewhat less precise when it comes to defining what STEM education is. Rodger Bybee’s latest book, The Case for Education: Challenges and Opportunities, takes a critical look at the many diverse explanations that exist in education today and provides a direction to STEM education, if not a definition.
Bybee states that, in his experience, discussions regarding STEM education fall into three separate but related goals.
“Education should contribute to:
- a STEM-literate society
- a general workforce with 21st-century competencies, and
- an advanced research and development workforce focused on innovation.
The broader category, which applies to everyone, is STEM literacy, which refers to an individual’s
- knowledge, attitudes, and skills to identify questions and problems in life situations, explain the natural and designed world, and draw evidence-based conclusions about STEM-related issues;
- understanding of the characteristic features of STEM disciplines as forms of human knowledge, inquiry, and design;
- awareness of how STEM disciplines shape our material, intellectual, and cultural environments; and
- willingness to engage in STEM-related issues and with the ideas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizen.”
Throughout the book, Bybee provides practical guidance and suggestions for STEM reforms that are appropriate for varied contexts. Thought-provoking questions, such as STEM Education Seems to Be the Answer—What Was the Question?; If STEM Is an Opportunity, What is the Federal Government’s Role?; How Can a State, District, or School Develop a Coherent Strategy for STEM Education?; and What Is Your Action Plan for STEM Education? are addressed in the chapters to provide individuals in leadership roles with a better understanding of how to take action on STEM initiatives.
Read a sample chapter: How Is STEM Education Reform Different From Other Education Reforms?
This book is also available as an e-book.