ERIC Number: EJ1041777
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 5
Creating a STEM-Literate Society
Dow, Mirah J.
Knowledge Quest, v42 n5 p14-18 May-Jun 2014
Picture a professor of library and information science working in her office on the fourth floor of the university library. She is away from student traffic and relatively isolated from other faculty on campus. Nevertheless, the professor has much to be proud of as she uses computer technology to reach, teach, and interact with enrolled students both near and far, as well as to connect with a local and national network of library and information professionals. But something is distressing her. She is aware that in the United States there is a growing, coast-to-coast community in conversations about creating a STEM-literate society, a general workforce with 21st-century competencies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and an advanced national research and development agenda focused on innovations to combat the nation's most urgent social problems. However, she is distressed because she is not connected to the conversation. She can shape future educators in her classes through the assignments she creates and try to equip them to protect themselves from impending threats with economic and political consequences. But all that preparation may mean is that educators who have been under her tutelage can affect incidental change at the school building level, resulting in little impact on K--12 student achievement. What if this professor exercised the courage of her educational beliefs? Upon reflection, ideas emerge about how to improve future teachers' knowledge, skills, and dispositions while increasing the number of high school graduates choosing STEM careers. She prepares by attending professional development sessions, conferences, and class-project competitions advertised not to school librarians but to science teachers. She teams up with a physical sciences professor to co-teach future teachers. When it is envisioned that future classroom teachers and school librarians are enrolled and learning in the same college courses to prepare to co-teach content that overlaps multiple academic disciplines, these courses will prepare future school librarians and teachers, together in the same college classrooms, for their shared roles in enabling upper elementary through high school students to: (1) gain knowledge of practice, cross-cutting concepts, and core ideas in STEM content areas; (2) be prepared to engage in public discussions of science-related issues; and (3) become critical consumers of scientific information related to everyday lives.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Scientific Literacy, Technological Literacy, Labor Force Development, Knowledge Level, Teaching Skills, Career Choice, Faculty Development, Teacher Collaboration, Teacher Education Programs, Librarians, School Libraries, Competence, Imagination, College Instruction, Creativity, Innovation, Teaching Methods
American Association of School Librarians. Available from: American Library Association. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel: 1-800-545-2433; Web site: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/knowledgequest.cfm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A