STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) have been around since long before the Industrial Revolution.  However, in terms of modern education, STEM experienced a boost into the space age when in his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama ramped up STEM in response to Sputnik by calling out “our generation’s Sputnik moment,” inviting American youth to excel in 21st-century skills learning.  STEM became the vocabulary word of the day.  STEM emphasis upgraded education across the board, from K-12 to university degrees.  “The most recent U.S. PISA rankings placed the U.S. 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science.”

Dmitry Krasovskiy[1], Ph.D. (2020), in his UpJourney article, stated,

With greater adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) being made in professional arenas, the reasoning for implementation of AI in education is becoming more important than ever and could be a bid to solve developmental challenges in STEM education. … AI eliminates human error and reduces the time required for repetitive tasks, giving teachers more time to focus on more creative and targeted content to better suit individual student needs. … STEM problem development automation is achieved by using deep neural networks and other machine learning methods for natural language processing (NLP). NLP models are able to train an AI-based machine to find and analyze the original STEM problem and automatically generate a similar one using the original exercise as a template.

Krasovskiy quotes from the 2018 report by the U.S. National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) that the goal of STEM education is “building a stronger foundation for STEM literacy, inclusion, and diversity of STEM students and preparing the STEM workforce of the future.”  With the use of AI in STEM courses, leveraging automation develops high-quality content in greater quantity at a lower cost, which improves STEM learners to be equipped to enter the workforce.

In an article in Middle Web, Ann Jolly[2] (2020) suggested nine skills future workers should possess:

  • An understanding of global community: nations are closely connected socially, politically, and economically.
  • High emotional intelligence (EI): Best indicator of high EI is empathy
  • Work well with others: open to criticism to develop healthy working relations
  • Strong work ethic: positive attitude, resilience and persistence, honest and ethical decision-making
  • Technical competency: digitally literate, responsible, and eager to improve
  • Problem solvers: Analytic and flexible thinkers with sound engineering practices
  • Initiative: self-motivated and proactive
  • Communication skills: converse clearly, accurately, and effectively
  • Continual learners: open expanding one’s knowledge and skills.

Ann Jolly has also written a book, STEM by Design: Strategies and Activities for Grades 4 – 8 (2016)

Take away:  We cannot underestimate the power of AI (artificial intelligence), because it is foundational.  It is everywhere in our lives and more importantly, it is in the future of our educational excellence.

[1] Krasovskiy, Ph.D., Dmitry; (2020). The Challenges and Benefits of Adopting AI in STEM Education, UpJourney – an educational platform for people seeking empowerment and empathy.
[2] Jolly, Ann; (2016). STEM by Design: Strategies and Activities for Grades 4 – 8. Routledge/MiddleWeb.