STEM is All Abuzz!
STEM would certainly be the word to win if an American Educational Buzz word too a prize! Educators seem to talk about it constantly. After-school clubs meet and exist whose sole purpose is help you add STEM to your child’s education. By now, I feel that it is redundant for me to even explain what the acronym “STEM” stands for. However, for those new to … America … it stands for SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, and MATH.
The STEM initiative got its start around the turn of the millennium, when “reports” by “experts” told us that we were “short” of “engineers.” One report in particular, called “Rise Above the Gathering Storm,” made many claims of America’s inadequacies amongst the nations of the world. Do you feel inadequate? I sometimes do. Nevertheless, the result of this and similar reports let to the sitting President to create various funding initiatives for schools, and, well, yada, yada, yada, here we are today.
What does that mean to you today?
What does that mean to you today? Are we still behind? Is America on the brink of its own obsolescence? Hardly. America competes with the world just fine. We win some, we lose some. But, if you are interested in STEM, let me warn you – it is not of the feint of heart. Many like the idea of their child being an engineer. Some children even want to want to be engineers. But be clear about the intense academic rigor that goes into engineering. Yeah. It’s intense.
I am a fifteen-year veteran of Software Engineering, having worked for numerous companies in various capacities. In college I majored in Chemistry before moving to Computer Science (on accusation that I smelled like a refinery – a compliment, coming from Texas). After completing my masters in computer science, I finally realize that I at least know what I don’t know about engineering. But that puts me into a great position to help you get started in this arduous endeavor.
What I will be teaching at True North will not just be math, science, and computers. Rather, I will be teaching kids how to think. Algebra is as much about manipulating expressions and knowing formulas, as it is problem analysis and solution design. This analysis and design is the difference between a programmer and a Super Software Engineer like STEM Man!
In a sense, it is best to teach Algebra, Chemistry, and Computer Science all at once, a concept called cross learning, since much of the subject matter: Stoichiometry in Chemistry is simple Algebra, variables are used the same way in Algebra and Computer Science, etc…
So, What is STEM, Again?
In essence, what is STEM? It is an effort to get kids to not just learn STEM subject matter, but to think like an engineer – to be creative in problem analysis and resolution, and, most importantly, to bring something new to the table. For an employer, this means bringing a fresh, innovative perspective, formerly overlooked by their peers. This is what we will strive for at True North. I hope you will as well.