Making News

Getting girls interested in STEM

How can we break the stereotypes around STEM education and career pathways? Can we raise girls’ interest in STEM by enhancing the STEM curriculum in education from early age? Microsoft and UNESCO presented their findings during the event ‘Changing the FACE of STEM’.

Fostering girls interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education) and inspiring them to choose a career within STEM fields is a challenge. We attended the event ‘Changing the FACE of STEM’ by Microsoft in collaboration with UNESCO. Karon Weber, Director of Hacking STEM at Microsoft, made the field of STEM comprehensible for all ages.

The event was part of the #MakeWhatsNext campaign running across 23 European countries to inspire and demonstrate how technology and science can empower young women.

THE 6 Cs OF EDUCATION

As STEM careers are facing a shortage of girls, research shows that STEM subjects should be implemented as an integrated part in children’s education, from an early age. Presenting the 6C’s of education: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Citizenship/Culture, Character Education/Connectivity, Karon Weber said: “65% of future jobs still have to be invented. To prepare for the future of work children need to develop specific skills. The speed of change as well as available technologies make it important that children learn to navigate in digital transformation”

The 6C’s of education do not only represent inspiration for how teachers can integrate STEM in their educational material, they also represent a shift in the educational paradigm that is needed in order to get more girls interested in STEM subjects. Read more about STEM in the classroom.

LINK TO DAILY LIFE WILL INCREASE INTEREST

Recent research shows that young women need to understand the link between STEM in their daily lives in order to continue to study those subjects. Karon Weber added: “for instance, STEM often addresses coding and data without connecting it to an actual service or to the real-life purpose they serve. This is where a gap in understanding and hence lack of interest occur.”

In order to demonstrate how STEM can be integrated in the classroom Karon Weber made interactive demos using only few and accessible materials, making it comprehensible and interesting for all. Read more about the demos.

STEM education today is still facing economic barriers, as STEM educational materials are often expensive. Therefore, STEM education still needs to modernize and be made available through accessible everyday materials.