Innovation in STEM (iSTEM)

To quote Dr Ron Beyers (previously interviewed in 2013): “May I introduce you to a new philosophical approach?”  I give you the idea of iSTEM (Innovation in Science Technology Engineering & Maths) and even iSTEMed.

It is Dr Beyers’ opinion that STEMed focuses on training and teaching while South Africa needs to move toward education.  But that’s one and the same thing, right!?  WRONG!

The education system

In previous posts on this blog, I have discussed the Education system of South Africa and What education should look like.  Numerous studies have been done and published on how trainers must get the learners in the course to retain the knowledge (or content) of the course.  Below is the learning pyramid (learn more about the learning pyramid at Teaching in Ontario – 3B Strategies):

student retention rates pyramid

Placing the emphasis on innovation

Beyers have been using iSTEM and iSTEMed in all the discussions around STEM education wherever he gets the chance.  As touched on above with the 3B Strategies, the concept of iSTEM and iSTEMed places the emphasis on Innovation and not just going through the motions of teaching Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics as subject matter.

This is what the “education system” have been doing in the past – our a paradigm shift is needed to change the education ball game around completely.  The focus needs to be on the learner.  Ultimately the retention of knowledge and skills should be the result.

Bring about systemic change

Ron Beyers ends off our conversation by saying: “This is still early days for the concept of iSTEM but I am convinced that we need to start changing our own mindsets to bring about systemic change for the benefit of more individuals.”

The student becomes the master

In my personal view, I believe that when the student becomes the master, then only the master can say that he/she has fulfilled the purpose of teaching.  This purpose is to make the next generation better human-BEINGS than what we’ve been able to be in the past.

It is for that reason that I think Dr Beyers is on to something with iSTEM and iSTEMed.

as always:

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