Developing programs focused on STEM education is more than being able to say that your institution is offering a STEM curriculum. It is about preparing students with 21st-century skills. Recently, an article appeared in the New York Times entitled "How to get a Job at Google ." The number one attribute, according to the senior vice president of people operations for Google, is general cognitive ability — "the ability to process on the fly by pulling together information."
Other attributes noted in the article are emergent leadership, ownership, problem solving skills, intellectual humility, collaboration and adaptability. What is truly exciting about developing students with 21st-century skills is it gives all students the opportunity to acquire post secondary certifications, associate degrees and bachelor degrees in STEM fields, which can lead to competitive careers.
We recognize the importance for our students to be literate in science and mathematics, however, to equip them with the necessary skills to power innovation and economic growth, as well as the ability to be competitive in a global market, our students must be more than STEM literate, they must be STEM fluent. Through a holistic approach to STEM education that includes intentional teaching practices that encourage students to engage in their learning in and outside the classroom, students become informed, literate citizens. Furthermore, students who learn to engage with a real world focus, interpret academic content, effectively communicate, collaborate, apply problem-based learning and innovation of new ideas hone their skills to become STEM-fluent citizens.