Special |

Building the 21st century scientist

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.

Content

The world can no longer afford to support learning systems in which only the most capable students can thrive.

Editorial | | Nature

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.

Books & Arts | | Nature

Thought leaders across the globe answer one question: what is the biggest missing piece in how we educate scientists? Responses ranged from the practical to the philosophical.

Feature | | Nature

From elsewhere

Much climate change education research is now being funded in the USA. This Perspective argues that university-level climate change education may promote interdisciplinary, keep talented young people in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics pipeline, and help all students enhance their scientific, quantitative and climate literacies.

Perspective | | Nature Climate Change