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Role of STEM education in child development vs traditional learning methods

Ritika Amit KumarRitika Amit Kumar, CEO & Founder, STEM Metaverse

Education across the world is transforming especially since the technology around us continues to evolve. Today, education is adapting to become more interactive and immersive. Amidst the shift, STEM education is at the forefront of this transformation and plays a significant role in shaping the growth and development of children. By using experiential learning, STEM education focuses on developing logical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, which are crucial for success in today’s world.

These skills, along with the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, enable children to analyze, evaluate and solve complex problems. David Kolb‘s theory of experiential learning further explains the importance of hands-on, immersive learning in understanding and applying knowledge.

A closer insight into STEM

STEM education has been pivotal in the changing course of the educational curriculum in India. It has emphasised the need for a holistic approach towards diverse skill sets and thought processes. David Kolb’s theory is an excellent way to look at how STEM is essential in equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become leaders in the 21st century.

David Kolb’s theory focuses on the importance of hands-on, immersive learning experiences in order for knowledge to be fully understood, internalized, and applied in a meaningful way.

This approach also emphasizes the incorporation of an emotional component to learning, achieved by engaging children in activities that allow them to actively use multiple senses. This holistic approach helps students to better understand and retain the information and to make connections between different subjects and real-world applications.

Additionally, it encourages students to develop their problem-solving, critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. As a result, STEM education is not just about providing students with information but also creating a deeper understanding and connection to the subject, making it a valuable tool for shaping the future of our world.

These then lead to the concept of Discovery-Led Education, or Inquiry-Based Learning, which encourages active exploration and discovery of new concepts and ideas.

Exploring the concept of Discovery-Led Education

Discovery-led education is an approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes student-centred and hands-on learning experiences. It is based on the idea that students learn best when they are actively engaged in the process of discovering new concepts and ideas for themselves, rather than simply being passive recipients of the information.

It allows students to engage in hands-on, project-based activities that enable them to actively discover new concepts and ideas, unlike traditional methods where students are passive recipients of information through textbook lessons. With the use of AI and VR, new teaching methods like Discovery Led Education encourage students to take an active role in their own learning by questioning, testing hypotheses, and making connections.

Additionally, Teachers in this case act as facilitators to provide resources and support, but it is the students who ultimately shape their own learning journey. This approach is believed to be more closely aligned with real-life problem-solving and decision-making, making it more relatable and relevant to students, which in turn increases their interest and engagement in the subject.

STEM education and its branches empower students to contribute equally in the classroom, fostering crucial life lessons and making it a core differentiating factor from traditional study modules.

STEM promotes a wide range of perspectives and ideas

STEM education plays a vital role in fostering diversity and inclusivity in the classroom. By providing children with exposure to different role models, cultures and perspectives, STEM education helps to broaden their understanding of the world around them. This can help children to develop a more inclusive mindset, and to better understand and appreciate the world and people around them.

It further promotes creative thinking and the development of innovative solutions. By encouraging children to think outside the box and to approach problems in new and innovative ways, STEM education helps to foster creativity and innovation. This can lead to an increase in self-confidence among children, as they learn to trust in their own abilities and to think independently.

Developing Interdisciplinary and Independent Thinking

STEM education, with its interdisciplinary approach, allows students to grasp the intricacies of the real world and the connections between different fields, such as languages, history, science, and art. The ability to seamlessly integrate these into the daily curriculum is what makes STEM education such a progressive concept. This helps students make connections and form independent perspectives and ideas among students.

Preparing students for the future

STEM education is geared towards preparing students for future career opportunities. The strong skillsets it is able to achieve through this all-rounded education along with technology is what plays a significant role in the world and will be the driving force behind the dynamic future that stands ahead of us. Hence, having established a strong foundation in these STEM subjects will be vital for students towards achieving success in the job market.

Also read: Why STEM Education is the pathway to tomorrow

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