How The Private Sector Is Making STEM Education More Accessible
It doesn’t take an education policy expert to tell you the current state of public school learning is hit or miss. In some school districts, students are hitting their benchmarks and excelling in stride, while in others, test results and other indicators reveal a less-than-desirable outcome.Jaya MckeownMar 24, 20237 Shares553 Views
It doesn’t take an education policy expert to tell you the current state of public school learning is hit or miss. In some school districts, students are hitting their benchmarks and excelling in stride, while in others, test results and other indicators reveal a less-than-desirable outcome.
Across the board, efforts to help students learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics remain limited in terms of where it needs to be going forward. The industries of the future - and the careers therein - will be almost exclusively STEM-oriented.
The writing is on the wall: if the United States wants to remain an economic superpower and significant player on the world stage, it needs to make STEM learningmore accessible. As a result, companies are stepping in to pick up the slack left by insufficient public school education.
The following are seven ways the private sector is making STEM education more accessible to students of all backgrounds:
Due to limited funding, many aspects of STEM learning are difficult to provide in a public school setting. State-of-the-art computers and machinery are expensive. Throw in the hands-on learning required for many tech-oriented lessons, it’s easy to see how outside help is often required. The good news is that companies like iCode are expanding coding and robotics franchiseopportunities for communities across the country. These institutions work like any other franchise, but instead of selling sandwiches or haircuts, they’re teaching kids how to code.
While it’s often said you can’t believe everything you see on the internet - for good reason - that doesn’t mean there aren’t reliable sources of knowledge that can be harnessed for learning. Online platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy, and Udemy make it possible for students to access a wide range of courses and resources developed to supplement classroom learning. These platforms place emphasis on STEM learning, giving students greater exposure to science and technology.
Few private sector contributions to STEM education prove as comprehensively promising as learning software. That’s because almost anybody can download software and go at their own pace. From math tutoring programs to chemistry-based learning driven by software, it’s only a matter of time before every avenue of STEM is covered by these highly accessible options.
Many major corporations have launched corporate social responsibility programs that support education initiatives. For example, Microsoft's YouthSpark program provides technology education and training for young people around the world. While STEM-based businesses are the major players behind STEM-based corporate programs, it won’t be long before other companies in other sectors get in on the action in terms of funding.
It’s no secret today’s youth are enamored with tablets and smartphones. While the inherent nature of interacting with mobile operating systems and apps has the benefit of teaching tech skills to kids without them knowing it, that’s not enough to prepare them for the STEM-based careers of tomorrow. The good news is companies are busy developing mobile apps designed to help kids learn about STEM. These apps are especially handy considering how eager children are to use their mobile devices.
Many types of toys and games do a wonderful job of teaching kids about science, technology, and other STEM-related disciplines. While kids are quick to spot most educational toys, many are surprised to learn that popular options like Legoare harnessed for their STEM learning potential. These toys and games also help teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills, making them an essential component of any effort to help kids learn more about the world around them.
Private tutoring services like Kumon and Sylvan Learning provide one-on-one tutoring services that can help students improve their academic performance. While private tutoring sounds like an option reserved for the middle class and above, many programs help cover the cost for those who qualify, making private tutoring an accessible learning method for mastering STEM regardless of socioeconomic background.
It’s no secret the United States needs to do more to help its youngest citizens become more familiar with STEM. While improved public school education is essential in the long term, private sector solutions are proving to be an effective bridge in the meantime.