The building design and construction industry has recently seen a rise the demand for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classrooms. The purpose of these classrooms, which are typically found in secondary education facilities, are to get kids interested in these subjects with the hopes that they will develop a passion for STEM and pursue a career in this field.
A recent report from Burning Glass found that the demand for students to fill STEM positions is much higher than previously thought. The report found that:
- In 2013 there were 5.7 million job postings in STEM fields. Of those, 76% require at least a bachelor’s degree.
- 48% of all entry-level jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher are in STEM fields, while only 29% of bachelor’s degree graduates earn a STEM degree.
- STEM graduates have access to 2x as many entry-level jobs as non-STEM graduates.
The results of this study aren’t very surprising because although it’s not always obvious, the products from STEM professions surround us in our everyday lives. Whether it’s the buildings we live and work in, the roads and bridges we drive on, the tablets and smart phones we use to stay connected, or any of the millions of other modern day conveniences, we all rely on STEM professionals to imagine and create the infrastructure that supports our daily lives.
As demand for these professions increases, secondary education facilities are investing in new, state-of-the-art STEM classrooms. These spaces are designed to support integrated science, technology, engineering and math education by presenting students with real life challenges related to two or more of these fields. When designing STEM spaces, architects and engineers are not just providing schools with more classroom space, but rather a collaborative learning environment that gives tomorrow’s leaders real-world experience with solving some of today’s toughest challenges.
Although STEM classrooms aren’t all the same, they usually share similar design characteristics. For example, they are typically more open than their traditional counterparts, with flexible spaces that can be used to explore multiple subjects at once. STEM classrooms and teaching spaces also come fully equipped with the latest technology to give students full access to any information they may need with the click of a button.
So what does the future hold for STEM education? Due to the system’s current success, maybe someday every school will be required to have a designated STEM learning space. Some schools are have already taken STEM one step further and are now pushing for STEAM classrooms, which includes an “A” for art and design.
And while it’s great for architects and engineers to continue to improve their designs, I personally can’t wait to see what the next generations of STEM students are able to come up with next.
Photo from http://theeinsteinschoolplano.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/STEM-logo.png