If you want to understand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) — and its significance in educating our nation’s young people, check out IEEE-USA’s April free e-book for IEEE members: Why STEM Is Important. During his career as a working engineer, technology education was a second calling to author Harry T. Roman. And Roman spends much of his time now working with students in New Jersey on special project team challenges, as well as instructing teachers on how to successfully integrate STEM into their classroom curriculums.
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In addition, this eBook demystifies the concept — for engineers and anyone else interested in the subject. In clear, direct language, Roman explains what STEM is, what it is not, and why this educational model promises to launch a new era of U.S. economic productivity.
Why STEM Is Important also offers examples of how educators can build learning environments where students learn how to solve all different kinds of real-world problems.
“STEM is all about combining content and process to solve problems and create new products and services — a fundamental necessity for economic growth,” says Roman. “It’s not about making kids into engineers, but rather teaching them how to think and analyze more effectively.”
Roman describes STEM as an essential education paradigm, adding that STEM’s basic premise in our interconnected world, is that solving problems is a multidimensional endeavor involving active learning, collaboration, teamwork, and student empowerment. “STEM shines best when students see how math can be used for practical applications,” he says. “Being proficient in STEM will help them gain a real appreciation of a problem’s magnitude and significance.”
Roman’s book provides concrete examples of how STEM students must take a range of real-life constraints into account, when solving problems, such as the technology; costs; environmental considerations; legalities; safety; governmental impacts; and aesthetics. He points out that if the list looks familiar — it is because engineers and inventors solve problems with integrated thinking–along with making decisions, designing, and fabricating within constraints.
Why does Roman believe STEM is so vital to the U.S. economy? According to a 2012 U.S. Commerce Department study, STEM-rich industries (those that are intellectual property-intensive) contribute $5 trillion to the nation’s economy. That’s about a third of the total economy, representing approximately 40 million jobs.
“No wonder companies seek out graduates and workers who have STEM skills,” Roman writes. “Yet, many STEM-based jobs go unfilled every year, so clearly increased emphasis is needed for schools to teach this important learning style.”
Download your free April eBook to learn what STEM is, and what it is not; and to learn just why it is so important in today’s world, and to our future.
From 1 April through 15 May, IEEE members can get their free eBook by going to: https://ieeeusa.org/shop/policy/new-ebook-why-stem-is-important/.
Log in with your IEEE Web Account, add the book to your cart, and use promo code APRFREE18 at checkout.
Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA’s Publishing Manager; Manager and Editor of IEEE-USA eBOOKS; Editor of IEEE-USA Conference Brief; and InFocus Department Editor for IEEE-USA InSight.