The answer leads us to explore the term STEM, which is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. We will examine the importance of STEM and reflect upon some of the driving forces that have led to this term gaining so much prevalence in recent times. In particular, we will examine how this term is being used to promote the importance of technical and scientific literacy as key skills to participate effectively in the 21st Century. Lastly, we will look at the push to change STEM into STEAM – the A standing for the Arts, which has a particular resonance with design thinking.
The Australian Curriculum
Throughout the weeks we will be referring to the Australian Curriculum (AC) online (ACARA, 2014). AC: Science (ACARA, 2014) was one of the first curriculum areas written and as such has been implemented across all states and territories within Australia. However, there are marked differences as to how each state and territory has chosen to implement the curriculum. It is therefore worth familiarising yourself with your state and territory curriculum. Click on your state in the map for more information.
AC: Technologies (ACARA, 2014) has not been formally endorsed, however, ACARA have chosen to release it for states to begin the process of implementation. As such you will notice a difference in the level of detail between the Technologies and Science curriculums.
Science and Technology are commonly paired together in our popular conception of how the world works – But why is this the case?
“Science often fuels technological advances. A single new technology general relies on many different scientific ideas” (University of California Museum of Paleontology, 2014).
To help answer this question, explore the following two short readings that highlight key interconnections between Science and Technology.
As you read consider the following: How do science and technology ‘feed’ off each other?
The common pairing of Science and Technology is often referred to by the acronym STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This term came to prevalence in the late 1990s, initially from North America, as part of an Education reform agenda that was driven by a concern in the declining interest in STEM based subjects. There were two important aspects to this reform agenda. This first was to increase the place of the Technology and Engineering within the curriculum, and the second was to highlight the need to teach STEM areas as an integrated approach to learning.