Education

The importance of STEM in preparing for the fourth industrial revolution

23 May 2017, by Amy Sarcevic

We are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution and Australia must increase participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects to meet the demands of its evolving job market.

Our current education system isn’t converting enough students into modern, high-level professions such as nanotechnology, bio-engineering and computer science – yet these are areas of superior job growth.

Technological innovations and disruptors are emerging at an unprecedented speed, obsoleting many of the roles we know today and creating a sharp increase in demand for the digitally competent. It is estimated that STEM professions will represent 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025.
The skills shortage falls in the same decade in which Australia is trying to brand itself as a nation at the forefront of science and innovation, as it struggles to compete with the production and commodity based economies of other nations.
“Something needs to be done. We have to find a way to funnel young adults into STEM disciplines and find pathways into employment” says Rose Hiscock of Science Gallery Melbourne (and former Director of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum), who presented at last year’s STEM Education Conference. “We need to be responsible at every link in the chain to make sure young adults are enabled to take pathways in STEM”.
However, channeling students into STEM subjects represents only the first hurdle in the pursuit of arming ourselves for the fourth industrial revolution.
The sheer velocity of technological advances makes “digital competency” notoriously difficult to teach; and there is a seismic gap between the current STEM curriculum and the skills and knowledge required for STEM professions; a gap which will continue to grow unless something is done.

“We need to bring a real-world context into the classroom”, says Machinam Founding Director, Felicity Furey, in advance of her presentation at the 2017 STEM Education Conference. “Children often ask the question, ‘why do we need to learn this’? If they do not know the answer, how can we expect them to pursue, be engaged or excited about STEM?”
Felicity will discuss how teachers can create their own real-world resources at the STEM 2017 conference, which is being held in Sydney this July.
The conference is designed to help teachers and education leaders with the tremendous responsibility of delivering the world’s next generation of digital innovators. It will outline and discuss how we can transform our curriculum to create industry-ready graduates and explore potential barriers to participation and success in STEM subjects, including dyscalculia, gender stereotypes and our approach to assessment and planning. Over 250 delegates are expected to attend.

 

You may learn more and book your place here.

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