Curricular and Learning Strategies for the Successful Implementation of STEM Education in Primary and Secondary Schools

Juan Carlos Olabe; Xabier Basogain; Miguel Angel Olabe
Ponencia en congreso:
International Conference Proceedings Series by ACM
Ciudad de edición:
ACM New York, NY, USA ©2018
Página de inicio - Página de fin:
169 - 175

STEM education was created as a unifying curricular paradigm in which students were educated in four distinct disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, in an interdisciplinary and integrated way. First developed in USA, STEM education has been attempted in several countries, both in the public and the private education systems. The data, however, shows that the number of students interested in these topics is small and decreasing, with special impact on women and minorities. This paper summarizes the main trends in the integration of STEM in school systems, and identifies the three fundamental obstacles for its successful implementation: a) the curriculum in math is obsolete, and therefore physics, chemistry and biology are studied with obsolete tools and perspective; b) students are not educated in the resolution of complex problems that require higher level mental processes, involving higher level cognitive modules, globally known as System-1; and c) students still use pencil and paper to solve problems, while complex problems need for their resolution and iterative process of experimentation and discovery that requires external micro-worlds or ecosystems for their implementation and manipulation. This paper also proposes a set of curricular strategies to address these three fundamental obstacles. Specifically, this paper presents six areas of interdisciplinary curricular development for the successful integration of STEM education. A set of examples are used to illustrate the main constituents of these strategies and the implications on students’ performance.

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