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Exploratory Essay Example

Project Summary

            This exploratory essay example will explore the overall topic and bring in the concepts that will be discussed in the main paper. Being an exploratory essay, the main objective is to introduce the topic and expound on it to explain its relevance in this specific context. The topic was chosen due to its importance to the US education system and the emphasis that has been put on it to ensure that students are introduced to science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts early enough to enhance their thinking ability and suit them to address serious life problems which include innovation and security problems. As the key project that will deal properly with the subject will proceed, this essay will not thoroughly discuss the problems.

Introduction

The Integrated STEM Education

                 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics apply to the acronym STEM. It is a recently introduced programme that promotes inclusion of the instruction of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In other terms, it is a modern paradigm that adopts an applied and interdisciplinary approach without actually teaching them in isolation when teaching certain topics. The programme would enable students to think about realistic problem solving skills that are, of course, central in their day-to-day interactions by blending chemistry, physics, training technologies, computer science, engineering, mathematical science, geosciences, astronomy, life science and social sciences.

In the United States, STEM was founded with the goal of solving the challenges produced by education and the availability of science subjects. The goal of the project is to make the fields linked to STEM more important to students. This, in turn, helps to ensure that students become more innovative in the future and come up with new projects that will scientifically benefit the country. Security concerns are a big problem in many countries and it has also become one of the highlighted issues to be tackled once the STEM project is under way. This article would discuss the theory in detail and illustrate the benefits it has demonstrated and the weaknesses that can be applied, including the solutions, to make it a more successful way to bridge the theoretical and technical divide that is generated in science topics.

In order to accomplish its aims, though, the STEM curriculum would have to be applied to students as quickly as possible. As a matter of truth, the traditional practise in which STEM subjects are taught differently in schools would be changed. As a new system aiming at reaching the greatest possible number of learners, it will have to be made available to the learners whether they are talented or not. For this reason, it will have to begin right from the elementary school level. Thus, learners would get an ample opportunity to start studying these subjects while still young and be in a position of nurturing them as they proceed to the middle, high school, college and university in which they are expected to specialize in one of the STEM-related disciplines.

For it to achieve its ultimate goals, it needs to be seriously supported. All the concerned stakeholders need to dedicate their resources, time and energy to ensure that STEM education is a reality in the country. First, the government should, through the Department of Education, allocate enough money for it. These should be used by experts to come up with new policies, build and fully equip learning institutions with facilities, materials and instructors. At the same time, it will be a success if embraced by professionals, educationists, industrialists, learners, parents and the genera public. Each of these has an important contribution to make towards its success.

Rhetorical Situation

Need for the Integrated System

Indeed, STEM has sparked a lot of debate in the country. Just like any other issue, it has attracted a considerable amount of appreciation and criticism from different spheres of the society. To its opponents, it is not necessary as it will not bring many changes to the education system. However, to its proponents, it is a brilliant idea that needs to be supported at whatever costs. Because of its sensitivity, it has attracted a lot of argument amongst the politicians, teachers, educationists, employers and professionals, to mention, but a few. Each of these groups has come up with their own view of how it should be fused into the school curriculum.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the curriculum offered to the engineering sciences students need a lot of reviews. As a technical area, it needs to be properly designed to adequately prepare learners for the challenges awaiting them as they join the profession. In their opinion, there have been complains that the kind of education the science and technology students are being exposed. They hold the view that it does not allow them to think critically and come up with new ideas that can be cultured into the next big things of the future. For this reason, they strongly support the implementation of STEM into the school curriculum because it will enable them to get fully baked experts who can imminently contribute to the engineering profession.

According to the US Department of Education, STEM needs to be supported by everyone in the country. As a new program, it will help in addressing the problems that have been facing the applied, technological, engineering and mathematics professions. After conducting a research, it established that these subjects have not been fully embraced by the learners. It is unfortunate that only 28% of high school freshmen are interested in pursuing STEM-related careers. Worse still, 57% of this number ends up losing interests in these professions by the time they complete their high school education. Meaning, by the time they proceed to the college/university levels, only a negligible number manages to pursue their interests. This is one of the reasons why the US job market is skewed towards certain disciplines.

As Shirley M. Malcom, Daryl E. Chubin and Jolene K. Jesse (2004) exclaim in their book Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators, STEM is a good program which needs to be supported by any concerned American who wants to revolutionize the country’s education system. In their opinion, the introduction of STEM subjects to the learners at the elementary school level is a bright idea that should receive the nod of everyone. The country has lost a lot of potential STEM professionals whose goals succumb to the inefficiencies of the old system which treated STEM subjects as sacred cows at the expense of other social sciences. The tendency of making STEM subjects inaccessible to learners, made many of them to develop a negative attitude towards them hence denying the country an opportunity to have enough engineers, mathematicians, chemists, physicists amongst others.

Looking at some projects that came to change the world, the largest social forum Facebook was invented by Mark and his friends while they were still in college. Other big projects include the invention of Microsoft by Bill Gates and friends. It was therefore advised that the students should be exposed to an environment that allows them to think critically and address the global problems from an early age. This would be done by the use of the labs that were to be established across the country and those that would serve as the centers where the students can access the internet and learn new things that will prompt them to come up with their own works. It is not necessary that all workers need to be university graduates. By introducing STEM at earlier stages of learning, every learner would get a chance to perfect their talents to apply in their careers.

Since the federal government has indicated a lot of commitments towards the implementation of STEM program, it has been allocating much money for it. In the 2014 budget, Obama Administration set aside $3.1 billion for its implementation (Lee 28). At the same time, it launched the highly celebrated ‘Educate to Innovate’ initiative which was exclusively aimed at coaxing, inspiring and appealing to the learners to fully support STEM because it could positively transform them and the society in entirety. Similar support has been given by CoSTEM as it has seriously campaign for STEM by advocated for increased funding and launched campaigns to appeal to the students and the genera public to support the program. This justifies the FY13 Funded Proposal which also suggested that the integrated system project requires much money and each year $4.3 billion is channeled into it. this money should be properly used to train and provide enough STEM teachers who can help in teaching these subjects right from elementary school, through middle and high school up to the university in which they are expected to specialize in their areas of interests.

Challenges

            According to Bybee (2013), the integrated system has encountered various challenges since its initiation (2-12). First, the number of the scientific labs available and the computer access centers have been inadequate. It is important to have a forum where the students can discuss of exchange ideas or access a common pool of information. It has been hard to have such a common pool and this has greatly affected the progress of the integrated system. The aim of the project is to instill practicality into the system of education. If there are limited labs, then the idea may not be as successful as it was supposed to be.

            Another problem is gender disparity among the teachers who are working in the labs and directing the students. It was noted in a number of studies that males dominated the field and therefore prompting the question of gender balance in the initiative. The ladies need to be challenged more to accept venturing into science and technology and this can be done by adding the number of female teachers in the field (Kirk 47). Another major drawback of the initiative is censoring of the content the students are exposed to when they are accessing the in internet. It is known that the internet can be a source of deviant trends and this should be avoided at all costs to prevent the students from subscribing to deviant ideologies that can alter the main objective of the initiative. There are number of ways to achieve that which include monitoring and censoring of what they have access to.

Remedies

            The amount of money allocated to the project could be raised if the current amount is not sufficient to address the situation. Drew (2011) notes that more labs need to be opened and help more students who are thirst for education to receive quality education that is practical and evidence based. The management of the funds should be strictly monitored to ensure that it is channeled to the right avenues. The gender imbalance in the field needs to be addressed by supporting more female players into the field. This is important in prompting more female students to aspire to become scientists and make the idea successful. Once there are many female teachers in these subjects, female learners will also be motivated to be like them. They will act as role models to the students who have been thinking that certain STEM-related courses are reserved for their male counterparts.  

Conclusion

Personally, I would like to declare my full support for STEM. It is indeed a good idea that needs to be supported by all Americans. If given a chance, it can really transform the American education system and make it more responsive to the dynamics of the society. From my point of view, this is a good idea that has been drafted as the science courses in many institutions are much of theory based limiting the students the chance to think critically and come up with new solution strategies. Introducing the concepts to the students at an early age serves to ensure that they engage their small brains when it is active and make the best out of them. Accessing the internet though risky at times is important to make them access important stuff that can be used in their study. It is important however to censor what they have access to as in various circumstances they can turn up to be malicious and avert the mission of the whole initiative.

            The introduction of the integrated STEM education system needs to be monitored to ensure that it succeeds. The challenges that it has faced should be taken positively to address the problems arising and move forward. The students need to be exposed to a more practical learning environment band also at an earlier age to make them productive at an earlier age. This is the only way it can be made possible to bridge the technological gap between the groups of today to the next one. According to experts, the existing gaps in the STEM-related careers are expected to tremendously increase (Bybee 138). Meaning, the country will not have any other choice rather than training adequate professionals to offer the required services. however, this can not be realized unless STEM is rolled into the curriculum.

As was predicted by the Association for the Advancement of Science, 9 million STEM-related professionals will be direly required by 2018. Of this number, 71% will be cloud computing professionals, 16% traditional engineers, 7% physical scientists, 4%life scientists and 2% mathematicians. These figures are right as they reflect the current shortage of 600,000 workers in the US manufacturing sector. This clearly demonstrates that STEM should be introduced in all American schools. Without it, I believe, the situation will worsen. It is the surest way of motivating young Americans to decide to pursue these courses and take all the necessary steps to support them all the way from elementary school level.

I commend the Obama regime for increasing its funding for STEM in its 2014 budget by 6.7%. if used as planned, it will help in recruiting more teachers and catering for all the other logistics as required. With such adequate funding, no school will lack teachers, books and any other resources required to teach STEM subjects in schools. As a strong supporter of this program, I am committed towards seeing a highly advanced America in the near future. I am convinced that, as a nation, we need STEM-related professionals to take us to the next level. After all, the dynamics of the society dictates that the country needs to rethink its science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors lest it be left behind.  

A part from bridging the gap between STEM and non-STEM-related careers, the implementation of this program address the persistent gender disparities in these careers. If introduced as part of the school curriculum right from elementary school, STEM will inspire more ladies to pursue the disciplines related to it. unlike before, they will get a chance to have a taste of it while still young and get to know all its challenges as they learn to live by them. this will make increase the number of STEM professionals in the country. All these points prove that STEM is a good program which should be recommended to all the schools.

Also study: Self Reflection Essay Sample

Works Cited
  • American Society of Civil Engineers. International Conference on Urban Drainage, Urban drainage 2002: Global solutions for urban drainage. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Bybee, R. “What is STEM Education?” Science 329 (5995): 2010, 996–996. Bybee, Rodger, W. The Case for STEM Education: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington: NSTA Press, 2013. p. 2-12. Print.
  • Drew, David, E. Stem the Tide: Reforming Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
  • Education in America. New York: JHU Press, 2011. Print.
  • FY13 Funded Proposal: Engaging undergraduates in STEM laboratories using emerging technologies for teaching and learning | Information Technology Services. (n.d.). Retrieved from <https://its.uiowa.edu/support/article/100850>
  • Kirk, Mary. Gender and Information Technology: Moving Beyond Access to Co-Create Global
  • Partnership. IGI Global Snippet, 2009. Print.
  • Lee, Jane. “Obama’s Budget Shuffles STEM Education Deck”. American Association for the
  • Advancement of Science. 2012. Print.
  • Shirley, M. Malcom, Daryl E. Chubin, Jolene K. Jesse. Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educator, 2007. Print.

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