With at least a million workers required to fill open STEM jobs by 2022, STEM has taken its place as a must-have skill for today’s students. As a result, classrooms, maker spaces, and libraries are looking to new ways to incorporate STEM learning in 2019.
The next year in STEM will be all about:
Focusing on code. Steve Jobs said, “I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think. I view computer science as a liberal art.” And he might be right.
Computer science majors are currently the highest paid among recent college graduates, and industry demand for coding jobs is far higher than the current number of workers who are qualified to do the work. 2019 will be the year that educators focus in on giving kids a solid foundation in coding so that they can be competitive in the future of work.
Teaching our teachers. Many teachers were not taught STEAM topics when they were in school — and 78 percent of them report that they need more training to feel confident teaching STEM in the classroom. As the need for coding instruction in the classroom increases, professional development for teachers will take center stage in 2019.
A combination of curriculum, content, and micro-credentials will help educators adapt their teaching style to be able to better equip students for the future of work.
Incorporating STEM into other subjects. Kids need to see science, technology, engineering, and math in subjects that are not science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM is quickly becoming a part of every subject, and in the coming year, educators will increasingly incorporate STEM lessons into English, History, Social Studies, Photography, and every subject in between.
Making time for play! According to researchers at Stanford University, too much homework could mean that kids don’t have a chance to meet their developmental needs or cultivate other critical life skills. That’s why no-homework policies in various classrooms across the country are becoming more popular as teachers make more time for play and exploration at home.
In 2019, expect to see educators advocating for play-based learning — both in and out of the classroom.
Project-Based Learning. PBL will be incorporated into more schools across the country. Schools will introduce students to authentic problems and challenges, then encourage them to gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time on solutions.
Parental involvement. When parents are more involved in education, their kids tend to have better educational outcomes — including better test scores, social skills, and behavior. As more parents become aware of their potential impact, they will become more involved in their kids’ learning, both in the classroom and at home.
littleBits has been excited to partner with the National PTA this year as part of its STEM + Families program, which is focused on engaging entire families in STEM experiences at school, at home, in the community. It does this via digital learning environments to support students’ success in STEM.
State-funded grants. Money matters to educational outcomes. As various states start to see the impact of cutting funding in recent years, we’ll start to see larger state-funded grants focused on education. Specifically, we’ll see more schools vying for STEM grants.
Getting smarter about smart spaces. As schools look for more ways to incorporate hands-on learning in 2019, many are beginning to invest in maker spaces. Maker spaces encourage student learning through experimentation, robotics, coding, and technology.
littleBits kits are a favorite tool among maker spaces because they give kids access to the tools they need to invent solutions to real-world problems. Apart from the obvious benefits they get from hands-on learning, students also experience the magic of cross-collaboration. Look for more smart spaces and mini-maker spaces in schools in 2019.
And there you have it — our predictions on the top STEM trends to look for in 2019. Let us know if any of these resonate with you?