"과학문화교육"

2011-10-25 (Vol 8, No 5)

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외국 과학문화교육의 면모

(2011) 한국인 과학교육학자가 본 미국의 STEM교육에 대한 글

STEM Education as a Reformative Engine in the United States

Introduction

Today, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields contribute to the betterment of our life everyday by bringing a variety of new technologies including Smartphone, computers, nanotechnologies, bio-engineering, and renewable energy. The technologies bring convenience to our lives and help extend a life span of human beings. The advanced technologies are perceived as significant criteria that distinguish industrialized nations from developmental countries. The world competition resides in the competitiveness and the acquisition of the technological power. In the book titled "The World is Flat," Thomas Friedman (2005) concluded that the creativity could be the ultimate goal for each country to achieve in order to survive the competitive world market. He emphasized that creative technologies would be one in the future that flattens the round globe, removes the hierarchical structure of human power, and collapses the boundaries of inter-continents. He also stressed that creativity would be the biggest value and most significant criteria to be used in competition. Today, the world has already entered into an infinitive competition. This fact is not new at all. It is critical to know what is most important within the competition and how to survive through. This paper is written to respond to this imminent demand of creativity and atmosphere by introducing the U.S. STEM education with implications for Korean science education.

The power of the creativity and the infinitive competition of the world influences individuals, communities, and nations. No one can escape from the atmosphere of competition. Individuals will be assessed and judged based on the creativity of works done in their field. It is an unavoidable trend to go forward. The same principle applies to the development of a community and even a nation. The creative ideas that help develop a community, a state, and a nation deemed to be a corner stone of survival. Each country including the U.S, U.K., Finland, and Germany emphasized STEM education as a national strategy. For example, Mr. Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft Cooperation has often been expressing his concerns to the Congress that there is a shortage of STEM brain that meets the high level of work at Microsoft. After 9.11, foreign-born Ph.D. in STEM fields continued to go back home after the completion of their doctorate due to the short-term visas. It is called "Brain Drain." Without enough number of STEM workforce, Microsoft would not be able to sustain in the U.S. In the Obama administration, an educational bill "Race To the Top" has been passed to produce 10,000 STEM teachers across the nation to compete with the advanced countries around the world (U.S. Department of Education, 2009).

Each country conceived STEM as a survival strategy. STEM became a reformative engine to reshape science education to meet the needs of a nation. The United Sates strategically uses STEM to sustain the top power by educating K-16 students. As mentioned in the above, creativity is the focus of STEM education.

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첨부
2011_STEM_Educatin_US_ENG_PARK(한국초등 원고).pdf

Do-Yong Park, Associate Professor
Illinois State University, U.S.A.

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