There have been 3 major turning points in the history of humanity until today. The first people, who lived as hunters and nomads long ago, started a settled life after discovering how to cultivate the land, and thus the agricultural revolution began. Thanks to the agricultural revolution, man ceases to be a creature that consumes nature only and begins to produce. The agricultural revolution also creates what we refer to as the concept of civilization today. With the emergence of cities, people are looking for ways to make production more efficient, and as a result, the industrial revolution takes place. Industrial revolution and mechanization increase and accelerate production. These two milestones give people the opportunity to explore and develop further. As a result, the most important turning point that led to the formation of the world we live in today is reached: the scientific revolution!
Today, knowledge and innovation are almost equivalent to having power. It is now a must for countries to be on the side of producing and developing information for both the development of countries and the growth of companies. Therefore, scientific and technological advances are among the most important targets, especially for developing countries. In order to advance both in science and technology, it is important to organize basic education in this direction and to set long-term goals. Children need to go through an education system that focuses on science and technology from the primary school age, perhaps even in the pre-school period. STEM education is an education model that allows students to receive education in parallel with the scientific and technological innovations of the age, prepares them for the future, and is frequently applied in developed countries. Alright,
What is STEM?
The first question asked about STEM, which has become increasingly popular in recent years and attracts the attention of students as well as parents, is “What is Stem?” there is a question. STEM is seen as an education model as well as a lifestyle. This education model is an applied model that combines methods that encourage both research and questioning as well as production and innovation. The STEM model, which aims to radically change the education-teaching system that has been going on since the past and is based on rote, is heavily applied by countries that focus on science and technology, and its positive effect on students is proven. Another frequently asked question about this model is, “What does STEM stand for?” the question is. STEM; Science, Technology, It appears as an acronym of the words Engineering and Mathematics. STEM, which is created by the initials of these 4 basic disciplines, is also called STEM in some educational institutions in our country.
The dates of 1957, 2001 and 2012 appear as a turning point in the historical development of the STEM concept. The Russians sent Sputnik-1 into space for the first time in 1957 as the first spacecraft, and this shows that the state, which was the Soviet Union at that time, took the first step to follow an integrated approach in both science and technology, as well as engineering and mathematics. Exactly one year later, in 1958, the United States of America establishes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and begins to focus on science and technology in education systems. After a very short time, these steps are starting to bear fruit. Today, “What is STEM?” The answer we gave to the question was, in 2001, Prof. Dr. Introduced by Judith RAMALEY. Although the term STEM was first used at that time,
STEM, in which science, technology, engineering and mathematics are handled with an integrated perspective, starts from pre-school age and can continue until graduate school. This model, which is an interdisciplinary and applied approach, is perhaps the most important of the revolutionary innovations carried out by developed countries in the field of education. This model, in which science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines are intertwined, brings together the theoretical background of science branches such as mathematics and science, and the applied perspective of engineering and technology. Thus, students prepare more quickly for relatively new fields and sectors, which are seen as the professions of the future. So, how is STEM education spreading in Turkey in recent years?
The need for more development in the digital field and in the IT sector in the changing world causes an increasing need for people working and producing in these fields. Developed and developing countries also have to update their education systems in order to keep up with this global wind and compete in a healthy way. STEM education is an active learning-oriented approach that touches different disciplines by combining theoretical education and practice. STEM Education, which mostly focuses on applied and practical education, also makes it easier to produce solutions for daily problems, to develop creativity and to have a mindset that is prone to analysis. STEM education, fundamentally known as 4C skills, critical thinking, creativity, It aims to equip students with communination and collaboration skills. This innovative education system uses the following methods:
- Creating a problem that is intended to be a solution
- Designing a product or invention to fix the problem
- Putting the design to the test
- Examining how the design contributes to the solution of the problem
- Sharing the evaluation result
The most important point about these methods is that if the problem has not been solved, it is necessary to go back to the beginning and continue to follow the same steps. Designed as a cycle, STEM education develops both the mind and imagination, as well as motor skills and critical thinking. Of course, the benefits of STEM education are not limited to these.
Benefits of STEM Education
The STEM model is becoming more and more needed as time goes on. Research conducted in the field of education reveals that experimentation and practice are also very important in order to learn a knowledge, apart from written and oral methods. When it comes to solving a problem, it seems that the theoretical knowledge is insufficient and thus the STEM education application comes into play. The benefits of STEM education are not limited to academic education. This training model is also
- Asking the right questions
- To take the right path with answers,
- Being an active listener
- Being solution oriented
- analysis ability,
- Analytical thinking feature,
- It also increases the power to deal with complex problems.
- Developing these skills, which are among the skills that every person who wants to be successful and happy in the 21st century, is of great importance for the development of countries. In order to have a well-trained and qualified workforce, it is necessary to provide a quality education starting from primary education. STEM education, which enables students to receive an integrated and quality education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, thus contributes to the development of not only individuals but also society. This education model enables to use knowledge actively. STEM, which enables to increase abilities such as time management and planning not only in children but also in adults, can be adapted to all age groups.
There are STEM projects that can be easily implemented for students of all age groups, starting from the pre-school age. Although the concept of project evokes large and comprehensive studies, it is possible to carry out small-scale studies and STEM projects with small groups. In addition, the popularization of the concept in recent years allows us to encounter many kits and toys that are offered for sale as STEM projects. In order for a project to be included in this category, the child must be actively involved in the work, the child must be able to make decisions and make small designs throughout the project. Some of the STEM project examples implemented by the Ministry of National Education are as follows:
- Energy Saving Street Lamp
- Smart Trash Bin
- Marine Cleaning Ship
- Smart Kids Fever Meter Device
- Ergopratic Chair
- Technological Shelter for Stray Animals
- Waste Machine
- Smart Bird House
These examples include many achievements from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For example, the Smart Bird House identifies the needs of birds with biology, calculates the required amount of heat and food using mathematical methods, designs with engineering information and benefits from technological developments such as solar panels.
Although it is quite easy to access information in the age of technology and internet, there are still not enough opportunities for students to use this knowledge and skills in real life. STEM activities allow the new generation to be productive and put their theoretical knowledge into practice. These activities can be easily applied in all periods, starting from pre-school age to higher education years. Although they vary in practice, STEM activities in theory revolve around the following steps:
- Problem identification and analysis,
- Solution suggestions and selection,
- case study design,
- Sharing the product or work with effective communication techniques,
- Evaluation and exchange of ideas.
STEM activities become a circle by taking these five steps and returning if necessary. This technique can be easily adapted to all age groups with various projects and materials.
Preschool STEM Activities
Introducing young children to preschool STEM activities gives them a huge advantage. Children who develop these skills at an early age are also more successful in their academic education. Fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics included in the concept are presented to children in their simplest form in pre-school STEM activities. Activities such as building bridges using Legos, calculating algorithms in the lives of animals, discovering and learning shapes make it easy to enter different fields. Preschool STEM activities allow children to explore their skills and interests at an early age.
STEM Education in BUMED MEÇ Schools
Founded by Boğaziçi University Alumni Association, STEM education practices are used in BUMED MEÇ Schools to enrich the curriculum and education system. Information technologies-based STEM applications allow children to be individuals who research and question from a young age. This model, which is used practically in both face-to-face education and distance education, is specially designed pedagogically. STEM activities, carefully designed according to age groups and education levels from kindergarten, increase the cognitive and algorithmic thinking abilities of Generation Z. In addition to applications covering studies on subjects such as coding, robotics and programming language, BUMED MEÇ Schools also offer Digital Citizenship courses and these courses proceed under the following headings:
- digital communication
- Our digital responsibilities
- Access to accurate and reliable information
- Digital ethics – Respect for intellectual property
- Production-oriented use of technology