For generations, classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have been built around a steady diet of lecture-based learning. Soft skills, such as creative problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration, are often given short shrift.
Now educators and education researchers are calling for change. They argue that a slew of ‘twenty-first-century skills’, which include creativity, persistence and motivation, can and should be taught and fostered through well-designed courses. Focusing on these skills enhances students’ abilities to master and retain knowledge, and many hope that it will help to curb the alarming rate at which students who start off in STEM abandon the subjects.
Nature in collaboration with Scientific American is taking a look at the promise and challenges of bringing STEM education in line with decades of education research.
As government education experts call for toddler literacy, and baby apps proliferate, are we losing sight of materials-based learning? Infant scientists and young explorers thrive in the open air and through free play, eager to grasp the world — literally.