STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. Folks seem to often assert that what is wrong with contemporary education is lack of emphasis on STEM topics. There are forecasts of dire shortages of “technical” folks in the future. As a holder of an MSE from a reputable university who was involuntarily retired at age 50 along with tens of thousands of my co-workers, I find myself having some trouble accepting the word of “industry spokespeople” on this matter. It would be a shame to push people to going to all the trouble and expense of getting a technical degree only to find themselves unable to secure a relevant job. Sometimes I think it is an industry gambit to just tamp down the salary they have to pay for an engineer by taking care to have the supply outstrip the demand.
But having gotten those doubts and worries out in the open, I’ll confess to my belief that STEM emphasis is good for schools. I’ll not suggest that it is key to producing our next filthy rich Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (each of whom dropped out of college anyhow). Time: Top 10 College Dropouts. But I believe that it will help produce people who are better equipped to rationally assess claims that are made in the media. Are GMO ingredients worth identifying on labels? Could the “system” supporting our elections be tampered with? Is the earth only 4000 years old? Are vaccines worth their risk? The list of issues that can be subjected to STEM-based consideration goes on and on.
Anyhow, there’s a Google+ “community” that is focused on the topic of STEM. STEM on Google+. Erno Rubik, creator of the Rubik’s cube puzzle, is a member of that community. Erno Rubik Google+ Home Page. Today he shared to that community an interesting article that he found that asserts Rubik’s cubes can be a useful STEM education tool. Rubik’s Cube fits right in with STEM education goals. Interesting reading. I suppose I should confess that I’ve never actually mastered solving a Rubik’s cube myself, not even with the aid of the available YouTube how-to tutorials that the article mentioned.
Sharing that link to the article about the value of the Rubik’s cube in STEM education was the purpose of this blog post. But if you wonder about that article’s use of the word “grit”, you might want to visit my old book report on the book by Paul Tough, How Children Succeed.
Unrelated to Rubik’s cube, but very much related to STEM education, you might also be interested in this item I recently shared with the Google+ STEM community: Yes We Code
What do you think? Is STEM given proper emphasis in our school’s today?