November 30, 2011 AT 12:49 pm

STEM Education in America: Two Infographics

The first is this cute and thoughtful infographic (above – click the image for the full version) from onlineengineeringdegree.com, which paints a lamentable (if not surprising) picture of the state we’re in. The second, created by Knewton and originally posted on the Daily Kos, further addresses the problem:

The citation of Pete Conrad in the second ‘graphic really drives home the point that “standard” educational models can fail even for (perhaps especially for) the most talented of us. At the bottom of the the first graphic is another statement I can get behind; that “big lecture classes are cheap, but their dullness and rote memorization drive students away from STEM” — so very true (and sad).

Feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments!

Both of these originally via techi.com (h/t Akiba)


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8 Comments

  1. It’s sad, but the means by which students who are more tactile learners were exposed to STEM have been largely cut back. Wood shops, chem labs, heck even art programs have been systematically cut back or eliminated across the country.

    It’s terrible. And it’s devastating our economy. Short term gain is the greatest evil our nation has ever known.

  2. I’ve been talking to my wife about this alot (she is an education major).

    I’ve noticed that I’ve always learned more from projects then from school (just my nature). I wonder, if for some students at least, school could switch to project oriented education.

    Think, at the end of the 2nd grade.. 4 teachers present 4 different projects. The students write a little blurb on which projects appeal to them and why they want to work on them.

    The next 1-2 years that teacher guides the students through completing the project and links in history, English, science, math etc.

    It won’t work for everyone.. but at the end of the day an A is worthless.. A robot is priceless!

  3. As much as people would like to think, Most STEM graduates leave the field because Business Majors are the ones making all the decisions and making the big bucks here in america. MBAS run the show and MBAS wont hire non MBAS. If anybody with an engineering degree wants to even move beyond simple engineering to management or something, without the magic business degree, your S-O-L. Then the thought occurs, if with an MBA and a bit of shmoozing I can get a good job, why bother to get an engineering degree? This is why there are fewer STEM graduates… This is why America is struggling…

  4. Chances are x3n0x is a business student who’s never worked in a real engineering company. Take a trip to CAT or John Deere

  5. I am an engineering technician, and I work for a well respected Pipeline services company. I do engineering work every day, AND, I do electronics design and consulting on the side when I am home. We have problems in our company because the MBAs are more concerned about how their balance sheets look, rather than what is good for the company, the business, and the customer. This is the attitude that MBA’s have brought to America, and the root of the whole problem.

  6. @karm: on the contrary, I’ve heard exactly what x3n0x is describing happening at a lot of "real" engineering companies, and I’ve witnessed it myself.

  7. Aside from the business focus/hijacking mentioned above, IMHO a failure of STEM is the exclusion of Art. The science/engineering greats were quite often artists and/or had great appreciation of art. So I prefer the term STEAM. And getting more project focused education back in schools – and beyond. Libraries as FabLab/Makerspaces.

    And yeah, I have worked in real engineering companies, and research labs. Business concerns quite often overwhelm science/engineering realities. PERT-chart engineering, revising deliverables to meet sound bite name on PERT-chart, near-horizon thinking (get this milestone done, nevermind it makes the long term system unstable)

  8. Another interesting perspective on the engineering shortage (to be specific) is offered on Analogzone between an email exchange with IEEE members. A little feisty, but a good read:

    http://www.en-genius.net/site/zones/testmeasurementZONE/editorial_opinion/tmed_103111

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