K-12 STEM Education: An Overview of Perspectives and Considerations
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Keywords:STEM, K-12 STEM education, integrated STEM
Over the last two decades, discussions, rhetoric, recommendations, and policies regarding STEM education have escalated among businesses and industry, policy makers, think tanks, and educators around the world. STEM education is cast as pivotal in increasing productivity, prosperity, and global competitiveness; as a lynchpin in addressing current and future socio-geo-political-economic challenges; as a panacea for filling shortages in workforce pipelines. In this commentary, we discuss the emergence of STEM acronym, its variants, and the rhetoric surrounding STEM that drives educational policy. We examine more closely the integration of STEM and present an example of how in our own work, we have begun to clarify the characteristics of integrated STEM that guide our projects. We summarize some of the research studies in the emerging field of integrated STEM that document its benefits and reflect on the opportunities afforded STEM educators for future research. This commentary is by no means exhaustive, but is intended to instigate thought, reflection, and progress regarding the nascent state of integrating the STEM disciplines.
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