STEM Education: It's time to take it seriously. Like, properly, really seriously.
20% of all new jobs created year-on-year are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) central. Another 60% on top of that involve the regular use of technology, including word processing, basic coding, computer troubleshooting and interaction with various mediums and forms of tech. In ten years time, it's expected that vehicles will have been mostly updated to self-driving; 30% of the US workforce are drivers: Uber, Trucking, Taxis, post, delivery etc. How do we, as a society stop our next generation from being replaced by robots - but rather, have them creating robots, or working in knowledge based fields, unlikely to be replaced by robots any time soon? Be the creator, the the innovator, understand the environment, work with the future and embrace our robot companions - they'll make us all much wealthier and much more efficient.
STEM is not a new concept. We've had all of these things for decades, centuries, millennia even! But it's never been more prevalent, important and critical than now to start inspiring more people to have a passion for STEM; to start making STEM central to the experience of growing up as a child in the 21st century.
Notice how I said 'passion'? That's because teaching STEM isn't useful. Don't just learn, do. Be passionate and love it - that doesn't happen when you teach it like everything else at school - text books, writing notes, remembering facts and writing essays about concepts and theories. STEM is about understanding the world better - it's about invoking ones' creativity and imagination to push the boundaries of what we as the human race know; we don't push the limits when we're not inspired.
When is the right time to start doing STEM? The earlier the better. Ever heard the term 'nerd'? Ever watched a TV show that depicted the science enthusiast as a socially awkward hermit? It's those stigmas that can stick as early as age 7 in both girls and boys, so let's get our children understanding what STEM really is (hint: the most kickass thing you can do) before popular culture tells them what to believe; let's start making crazy science and wild robots from an early age. On top of being super important, STEM in all forms is just super fun, exciting and a really cool skill to show off to others!
Want some good news, parents? STEM is super easy to teach, the internet has made it super simple to learn nearly anything you want. Want to know what a logic gate is? Wikipedia is more accurate than you know. Want to build your own sun-tracking solar panel? YouTube is a magical land of information. Want to be inspired for a engineering project? Forums are your best friend. There are so many resources out there to get working on - the hardest bit is finding the equipment to do it... Starting the STEM journey can be difficult - where do you start? What's doable, what's worth spending the money on? It may well be the case that your child just simply has no interest and may never have a massive interest in STEM - what a waste of money it could be to buy a $600 robotics kit only for it to never be used... I firmly believe that the right start to STEM is so important - and being shown the light of what they can do, working with your child to find something that interests them as well. Sadly, places that offer this kind of experience are rare and often vary greatly in style - ranging from school-like experiences (which may suit some people) to one-on-one sessions (also perfect for some); finding the right balance is difficult for many. TinkerTank offer a range of experience that works for you.
Whilst schools work out how to teach STEM and train their teachers to fit the most open ended subject matter into school time, TinkerTank is leading the way in inspiring kids and making STEM enjoyable.
TinkerTank is a Maker-Space. A place of creation and taking ideas and thought bubbles into real creations. TinkerTank is an EDUCATIONAL MakerSpace. A place of inspiring a passion for STEM and helping children turn their dreams into reality. TinkerTank is both of these things - for the experienced creator, and for the curious tinkerer. TinkerTank can 3D print, code, wire, robot, teach Ukulele and create awesome YouTube videos. TinkerTank can teach, and inspire and work with your child to make STEM engaging and interesting; helping your child find their interest - not making them tick syllabus boxes in a curriculum designed to generate as many society ready people as quickly as possible.
Let's start taking STEM education seriously - it's taken until 2016 for schools to start making it a priority, but it'll take much longer to iron out the kinks that make the process of learning STEM difficult for many. Whether you come to TinkerTank, or take up arms and start the path of a STEM future at home - the change is coming, and we need to be future ready.