Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon - Turning STEM into STEAM
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Co-founder of the STEMettes, states that it’s the small things we can do and tweaks we can make to curriculums to ensure learners are fully equipped for digital life – understanding who uses technology and why it is created, the problems technology can solve and who it can help. This can be done by involving altruism and creativity arts in study programmes – turning STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into STEAM.
As tech becomes more prominent, it’s important to change how it is developed – by having a diverse range of people involved in building technology, considering the diversity of people who will be using it and encouraging creativity in the design process. By putting creativity and arts in amongst STEM will allow for all different perspectives to be integrated and allow us to build the right technology for everyone. As a result the approaches we take to educating STEM learners need to involve creative arts and also altruism – another area that Anne-Marie says often gets left out of study programmes. Key to this is talking about the problems we can solve with technology and teaching learners about sustainability, bullying, climate change, mental health and internet safety. Encourage learners to explore building apps around these topic. All of the above is vital to future proofing technology and it’s important that tutors teaching STEM subjects educate learners on this.
In addition, Anne-Marie suggests using virtual reality to allow learners to experience job related scenarios – ultimately allowing them to build up the skills for their job before entering a workplace and reducing the risks to the trainee in the process. For example, trainee firefighters are now using virtual reality to simulate fires for training before entering live fires.
Other key trends that are changing our behaviour and job roles include the use of internet in our daily lives and artificial intelligence. We are in a world where technology talks to technology – an everyday example can be seen in online ordering when we receive automated delivery updates for our parcels.
Another element vital to this is ensuring all tutors are upskilled on digital and technology to ensure young people are learning the right habits and aren’t learning from people who are fearful of technology.