STEAM: Students prepared for the professions of the future

“We urgently need more engineers and encouraging more women to enter engineering is essential.” This categorical statement, made by James Dyson (founder of the popular technology company Dyson), perfectly illustrates the two major problems facing the labor market today — and two of the main challenges in education —: on the one hand , the need for companies to cover qualified ICT profiles and, on the other hand, the scarcity of women in this type of job.

The reality is that technology companies currently have real difficulties finding young talents who bring new ideas when working with big trends such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things (IoT). But it’s not just about needing workers with technical knowledge, but companies are looking for something more. “In addition, they must be flexible profiles, who know how to work in complex organizations, with teams led by several people, who work on different projects in parallel and remotely”, said Juan Diaz-Andreu García, Client Partner and Head Hunter of the consulting firm Alexander Hughes Iberia, at the DES-Digital Enterprise Show 2022.

These skills, along with problem solving or teamwork, will be essential for the jobs of the future; jobs that today’s boys and girls need to be prepared for.

The key: STEAM

To acquire them, it is essential to focus on their training from an early age. And it is at this point that STEAM education comes into play, understood not as an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, but as an approach to these subjects in a transversal way, which encourages the student to gain a broad perspective. and interconnected of its formation.

The STEAM approach means that students are able to develop skills such as creativity, critical thinking, problem and challenge solving, logical thinking, emotional intelligence, leadership skills, empathy, ‘autonomy…

As the study ‘Radiography of the gender gap in STEAM training’ prepared by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training reminds us, STEAM disciplines are also the basis that supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and UNESCO education, and training in these fields can provide those who study them with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to create inclusive and sustainable societies, putting science and technology at the service of the progress of companies. “Some authors specify that an authentic STEAM educational project is one that is carried out around one of these three themes: sustainability, economy and health. Scientific research and project methodology familiarize students with the approach to the problems of humanity related to these axes and, therefore, contribute to creating awareness, sensitivity and commitment to these challenges”, explains Fernando Posada, teacher and ICT coordinator at CEIP Costa Teguise in Lanzarote.

To guarantee a successful application of STEAM in the classroom, it is necessary to use methodologies that facilitate the active participation of students in their own training: Service Learning, Project-Based Learning, Challenge-Based Learning… The other necessary condition is the promotion of learning competence; something closely related to the new program offered by LOMLOE. “It actually represents a change for teachers who work in a more traditional way, where subjects are not linked to other areas, but not for those who already use methodologies such as project-based learning, gamification, etc.”, he said. Yolanda Martínez Laserna, director of IBSTEAM, the technical and pedagogical center of the General Directorate of Early Childhood, Innovation and Educational Community of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of the Balearic Islands.

And the girls ?

How does STEAM education help close the gender gap? Its integrative perspective makes it possible to work from an early age to dilute the divide between science and letters and, even more, between male and female disciplines or careers.

Read more in the print magazine

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