Importance of STEM education
All throughout India, STEM educators are focused on a shared goal: improving the way science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are taught so that students can become successfully innovative members of society. Innovation is a knowledge-based competitive advantage that has the power to transform the way India competes at the global level. When students are conceptually trained in STEM, they are able to blend each discipline to solve problems in the real world. Through this highly in-demand ability, new socio-economic opportunities open up to all students, changing the lives of entire families.
The goal of STEM education is to develop students’ ability to comprehensively apply interdisciplinary knowledge to solve practical problems. It’s about building students’ innovation competence, which is the capacity to generate original, appropriate and implementable solutions to problems. When students are able to think critically with the freedom to productively struggle and fail, they are able to work through the problems and learn from their whole experience. It’s a truly authentic way of learning.
Suggestions to bridge the industry-academia gap
At its core, the idea of innovation pedagogy is to bridge the gap between the educational context of academics and how students will apply the knowledge to their working life. Learning is deeper when the previously gained knowledge is continuously applied in practical contexts. This learning approach defines a new way for knowledge to be understood, remembered, and used in a way that can create innovations. STEM educators can leverage this method to develop a new generation of STEM professionals whose way of producing new solutions make truly innovative thinking that yields a significant added value possible.
In 2019, the international journal Learning Environments Research published a paper called Educating for innovation: students’ perceptions of the learning environment and of their own innovation competence. The authors discovered that to successfully achieve innovation competence, there are six main skills that combine to create the ability: creativity, leadership, creative self-efficacy, energy, risk propensity, and ambiguous problem-solving.
When schools create learning environments that foster these skills, students feel empowered to engage in the high-level problem-solving that is critical for student development in the 21st century. It all starts with identifying innovation competence as a key educational goal for students to master. Then, the six innovation competence skills can be woven into the ways that teachers leverage 3D learning to create conceptual learning environments that prioritize hands-on learning and exploration that achieve long-term retention over relying on rote memorization to temporarily create a superficial acquaintance of knowledge.
The possibility of using 3D tech
3D stereoscopic technology has the power to transform students into future innovators because it creates the ideal conceptual learning environment. Conceptual learning is activated through hands-on experience and real world application in an environment where mistakes are easily fixed and curiosity is the guide. When students use interactive models as a learning tool, the sensory experience and aided visual perception help students master the concepts quicker and more easily. This method accomplishes so much more than from merely memorizing only for the test. Better understanding and deeper skill development is associated with the students who use their hands to physically manipulate models and engage with the material in creative, risk taking ways.
Hands-on learning with three dimensional objects allows the student to grab and hold the model as they alter, rotate, and explore. This enables participants to make decisions such as communications, analyses, evaluations, and revisions that cannot be made as conveniently in any of the individual modes alone. It’s a practice that deepens innovative thinking and facilitates intuitive learning, making it possible to directly apply knowledge while thinking through creative ideas and testing solutions to real life problems. To make concepts more digestible, 3D learning breaks apart a complex topic into simpler pieces and demonstrates each step in a tangible way. This trains students to be active investigators of their world where they learn best by exploring and making connections to the world around them. Inevitably, this way of thinking leads students to habitually identify problems to be solved and develop innovative solutions.
When students are immersed in 3D conceptual learning environments, their mastery of complex STEM concepts skyrockets and they are able to meet their academic potential. Simultaneously, these STEM students are cultivating their innovation competence that will make it possible for them to solve the intricate and unforeseen problems of the future. Developing the skill set of creativity, leadership, creative self-efficacy, energy, risk propensity, and ambiguous problem-solving is the new way forward for students who want to become tomorrow’s problem solvers. The best part? It’s also the most straightforward path to economic mobility for an entire generation.