Opening Minds to STEM Careers MOOC for teachers

Module 1: STEM careers in schools and in the job market

The learning objectives of Module 1 are:

  1. Understand the relevance of STEM studies for students and society;
  2. Understand the importance of STEM career in the job market;
  3. Understand the importance of integrating STEM career guidance in lessons, curriculum and what are the benefits for their students.

1.1 The world of STEM

Activity 1

Is STEM education essential in our current society?

In the contest of the current international crisis, teaching profession should be seen as a crucial component in promoting high-quality education. In Europe the higher education sector is relatively under-funded compared with our global competitors. Whatever happens it is important that we do not sacrifice education. It is above all in the field of STEM disciplines that European community should invest, because the innovation passes through the development of scientific and technological education.

1.2 STEM careers in the job market

Next, we present you with the following two articles giving different perspectives on the topic:

Is there a STEM skills shortage in Europe? Analysing the evidence

Is there a STEM skills shortage in Europe? Challenging the evidence

Activity 2

  1. Do you think there is a lack of STEM skills in Europe?
  2. If so, which is the main reason for that?
  3. If not, why are employers finding difficulties to employ workers?

I think so. In my country and in particular where I live (Calabria) the high rate of youth unemployment, low educational level, lack of skills, lack of services, criminality, are all factors that prevent the development of proper career perspectives at European level. At the same time young people with degrees are forced to emigrate overseas in order to find work.

1.3 STEM career guidance in schools

In the study entitled “The Emerging Role of Science Teachers in Facilitating STEM Career Awareness” (Cohen & Patterson, 2012), based on a review of existing literature, the author outlines four cognitive-behaviour dimensions as the pillars of career development:

  1. Awareness (students are aware and know the variety of STEM careers available),
  2. Relevance (they see the connection between the subject they are studying and day to day life),
  3. Engagement (students show direct interest and motivation to interact with the subject matter),
  4. Self-efficacy (students are comfortable with using tools of science).

Activity 3

Read Section 3 “Challenges and solutions to infusing career information into the science classroom” from the report presented in this section (1.3) and name which of those challenges are most present in your daily professional activities and how do you overcome them

STEM teachers should aim to provide all student a scientific education based on practical experience, attract young people into careers in science, improve the quality of science education, and promote informal learning and laboratory experience in the education system. In Italy the project of alternate education where the learning takes place at school and in the company is valid only where exist industrial districts.

Module 2: STEM Careers pathways I

The learning objectives of Module 2 are:

  1. Understand which are the currently relevant STEM industries and what is the spectrum of jobs available in each of them;
  2. Explore and learn about different career pathways available to reach those careers;

2.1 The Fourth Industrial Revolution

How can we prepare for this total reorganization of our lives? How can we make sure that future generations are prepared and ready to ‘ride the waves’ of this revolution, and even more, to contribute and support the shift towards a more prosperous future?

One of the answers, as you can guess, is education. Teachers represent a critical ingredient in preparing the human resources of the future - in making sure that by the time the students have left school, they are able to enter the work field

Activity 1

Artificial intelligence, integrated energy supply chains, neuro-technological brain enhancements, genome modification… Can you name other advancements you think this revolution will entail? How do you think it will affect your everyday life?

Well what to say? Already in this first part of the 21st century we can glimpse the near future. New materials, biotechnology, robotics, virtual reality, new ways to cure the human body, a new forms of labor organization. The most pessimistic scenario is that cities are transformed into megacities and inequality will be ever more visible. According to some we have entered into new era: the era of technology, where the man is no longer able to predict the effects of his doing.

Created By
andrea checchetti

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