ERIC Number: EJ1197924
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
International STEM Education: The Netherlands as a Case
de Vries, Marc J.
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v78 n4 p21-25 Dec 2018-Jan 2019
This article begins with clarification of any confusion one might have as to what is meant by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The author writes that the acronym STEM was originally used in a political context to call attention to the demands of the future workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics-related professions. At that time STEM meant a set of independent disciplines, each of which was abbreviated by one character. Later, educators saw this as a challenge to seek ways of developing integrated STEM Education, in which elements from the four individual disciplines could be used in combination. Currently, the acronym iSTEM (integrated STEM) is often used to distinguish from the previous meaning of STEM. The article goes on to explore the ambivalence of STEM education in the the Netherlands, which is one of the countries in which Technology Education struggles. Technology Education was introduced there as a separate subject in lower secondary education in 1993. Since 2004, schools there have had the freedom either to keep Technology Education as a separate subject or to integrate it with Science Education. The merger of Science and Technology, which can be seen as a movement towards integrated STEM Education in some schools, particularly those in which there was a strong Technology Education program, produced an unexpected positive effect. Suddenly, Technology Education was in the same realm as the important subject, Science, rather than in the realm of making crafts. Altogether, the case of the Netherlands offers experiences on the international stage which show the ambivalence of iSTEM for the position of Technology Education in the curriculum. There are examples in which iSTEM almost leads to the death of Technology Education and, at the same time, there are other examples that are very promising because they give prominent attention to Design and Technology in integrated projects. A determining factor is the type of teachers involved (a combination of Science and Technology teachers in the successful cases and mono-disciplinary teaching in the failed cases). The author concludes by advancing the idea that the experiences in the Netherlands show that it is possible to realise integrated STEM education, but only when this is done in cooperation between science, technology, and math teachers.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, STEM Education, Technology Education, Integrated Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Approach, Educational History, Educational Trends, Cooperation, Science Teachers, Mathematics Teachers, Definitions, Academic Standards, Secondary School Science
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands