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The vocational intention or purpose of this study is to increase opportunities in academic and employment by upgrading knowledge and skills in related areas such as in technical aspects that should match greater qualifications for our personal and professional advantages. “The Need for Integrated Stem Education Curriculum” was selected as a good topic to study, and the process to complete this study is through the use of secondary resources and selecting scholastic articles, journals, books, and other literature reviews with case studies and meta-analysis to ensure high validity and reliability.
The selected resources will come from well-respected authors only to ensure that it is relevant to the study. These resources will be compared and contrasted to gain a quantitative and qualitative overview of the topic. Online searches including Ebscohost, Science Direct, Google Scholars, Emerald Publishing, ProQuest and other popular online searches will be used.
Topic selection is crucial to the study but because of our previous academic and personal interest in improving education, the topic has been selected.
For instance, the STEM Education is still something new when it comes to the system of education compared to any other subjects. Because of this, it is very stimulating to understand how the methods, concepts, and frameworks of education is ever-evolving, It is also my personal objective to learn and upgrade our skills and knowledge that we never really encountered in our previous studies especially during the previous decades where STEM was not available or not yet a popular part of the curriculum.
Due to this, I would like to present this research in the form of a thesis or inquiry and tried to extract all the possible resources available to answer the identified problems.
Most countries understand the importance of Science and Mathematics as a subject, but they treat technology and engineering as a technical subject suitable for higher studies. But today, the curriculum is changing to answer the academic needs of students and the socio-economic needs of a country regardless of age. Creating subjects that will boost both the academic and economic opportunities of their students is not in place. In some countries such as the US, the integrated STEM education is being adopted at an early age as much as possible to condition students about its importance and to prepare them to in a highly strong workforce for their career growth and other economic opportunities. Due to these, some countries are developing or creating subject integration to explore the best opportunities that should empower their student’s creativity, academically and economically.
Background - STEM education is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to increase innovation and competitiveness in the process of learning according to the different styles and needs of students. It is not like the traditional system where the focus is mostly on memorization to pass the course or exam. In the STEM system, the objective is also to stimulate the creative thinking capability of students by integrating traditional academic studies into real-life experiences and creativity that makes it more practical to study.
For example, In the United States, the US Department of Commerce believes that STEM should start an early age as possible. They stated that at least 71% of job opportunities and occupations are related to STEM (Engineering for Kids, 2016). Therefore, a young student who has solid knowledge and background in this curriculum-based and related studies has a higher opportunity for business and employment that should sustain the critical growth and stability of the country and its economy. They believe that this education system should improve the critical thinking, innovation and scientific literacy of their students today and the next generation (Engineering for Kids, 2016). However, they also have a problem with the motivation of teachers to stimulate the participation and interest of students (De Loof et. al., 2019).
In Australia, the Australian Education Ministry, National Innovation and Science Agenda, and Australia’s National Science Statement consistently believed that it is now a part of the national priority to improve education and to respond to the needs of different communities (STEM Education Research Center 2017, p.3-5). However, they also admitted that despite the realization of its importance, it is still fragmented and students are less interested while they are still falling short of qualified teachers and educators who lack the knowledge and skills to teach STEM (Timms, et. al, 2018).
They believe that we are now living in a complex technology society to boost the role of STEM education that should answer the expected demand for high-quality education and skills required for the future workforce of the country. The government of Australia focused on the National STEM School Education Strategy to ensure that all students of different levels are given the opportunity to take this challenge by integrating STEM-related subjects as part of their curriculum. They are also willing to increase additional funds to answer the problems and barriers such as to inspire students in digital literacy and upgrading teachers’ capability to teach these subjects, and so forth. (STEM Education Research Center 2017, p.3-5).
Rationale to the Study - The reasons why this topic has been selected is because of the increasing demand and awareness of different countries to pursue, recommend and promote this integrated subject. They also predicted STEM to be a part of the future trend in education because of its rising popularity (Lasica et. al., 2016). It must be realized in education how a four subject of different interests is now integrated, and studying this framework is definitely a great opportunity to prepare young students globally. Realizing its potential should also allow adults to help promote this integration to others especially to children who have less knowledge or less interested in the advantages of the STEM.
Personal Interest – Personally, it is really interesting to learn STEM education to improve self-efficacy. This integration should really boost our future career growth because it also integrates the academic and technical activities that should be useful in real-life education. It is also practical to adopt real-world learning experiences in actual practice useful in school, career and personal growth. This integration should enhance our creativity to be productive. A good example relative to STEM is the Scratch Programming of MIT Lab where they integrate programming and creativity without coding to entice the interest of children to be creative (Scratch.mit.edu, n.d.). Integrating mathematics, science, technology, and engineering is the same; it should boost personal creativity and innovativeness to develop products or services that should improve our lives. All these should further increase our interest to study this topic.
Relevance to Professional Life - It is also stimulating and challenging to understand and learn the STEM and how it can contribute to our career growth. Studying how it evolved and how it will prosper in the future is therefore essential because it is not just based on traditional academic study, but also an actual experiences to understand how schools and universities who have already used this subject as part of their curriculum is expected to achieve increased competence compared to other countries who have not used this integrated subject.
Furthermore, the differences in knowledge and education of the past compared today can create a generation gap and power struggle between the baby boomers, the millennial, and the next generation to come, but understanding these differences should bridge these gaps. Because of the upgrade and innovation that is happening in most countries, graduating college students and professionals must be aware of this current trend and be able to update their skills so that they will not be left behind by the current and future generations.
Based on the studies of countries as mentioned above, one of the main focuses of education today is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to boost their curriculum. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to explore the advantages of integrating four different subjects, and related interest to (STEM) as mentioned. This study aims to identify why this subject is fast becoming a part of the curriculum of different countries worldwide. It is also the purpose of the study to identify some barriers and problems why some countries are still challenged in making it as part of their curriculum.
As an advocate of education, this study will be a collection of current and reliable scholarly articles, literature reviews, books, journals and online reports to compare and contrast data from multiple reports and reliable studies mostly written on the different point of view and according to the results of their studies. The intended audiences for this study are students to increase their awareness about the importance and opportunities that they can derive in the STEM curriculum. This study also recommended for educator researcher, and school officials to further add an additional reference that they can use in studying integrated curriculum and to further promote the STEM integration. It should be a useful reference in their discovery of possible problems and opportunities, especially for schools, universities and colleges.
The concept of STEM integration system education is gaining high interest and popularity worldwide, especially in highly developed countries. However, despite its importance in the curriculum they still find the problem of the lack of interest of students and the lack of qualified teachers in STEM as mentioned above. More so, some countries will find it difficult to implement because of certain limitations such as lack of funds, lack of highly qualified STEM teachers and educators. Learning materials available may not be matched to the STEM requirement that can further delimit other countries to adopt this education system.
STEM Integration can also change the curriculum and framework of studies including changing the implemented policies, rules and regulations that must be readjusted. All these make STEM integration complicated to adopt. Furthermore, there are also some humanitarian advocates who believe that education should be centered more on humanities to answer the moral issues of countries instead of creating a curriculum-based approach that mostly focuses on materialism, job development, and economic opportunities. These are just some of the common problems found in its adoption.
In this module, the selected topic is the need for integrated STEM education in the curriculum. The researcher believes that studying this subject is essential in future education while the preliminary background of the study was also presented above. It is said that STEM education is needed to improve the curriculum and to uplift the education system of a country in terms of developing a stronger workforce and economic opportunities. However, there are also some problems and challenges in the implementation and adoption of this system that lead to the selection of the topic to further study the advantages and its underlying issues.
This module also included the personal interest of the researcher/students and its relevance to the study. The researcher/student also lists some keywords to refine and organize the search function online. Finally, at the end of the module, the purpose of the study and the problem statement was generally identified. The identification of topics, its relevance to the selected audience, purpose and problem statement should serve as an outline that will be discussed in future studies such as in module 2 to module 5.
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