- The new "STEM 2026" report from the American Institutes for Research lays out a vision for education in science, technology, engineering and math in 10 years, outlining six key components as well as the challenges and opportunities for innovation related to adopting them.
- The vision for STEM 2026 is: engaged and networked communities of practice, accessible learning activities that invite intentional play and risk, educational experiences that include interdisciplinary approaches to solving grand challenges, flexible and inclusive learning spaces, innovative and accessible measures of learning, and societal and cultural images and environments that promote diversity and opportunity in STEM.
- Challenges include creating those communities of practice, redesigning lesson plans to promote play and risk, starting STEM education early, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, developing new assessments and promoting equitable access to the STEM teaching and learning experiences outlined in the vision.
The AIR report includes examples that can help schools and districts implement elements of the STEM 2026 vision. Many schools are already experimenting with interdisciplinary learning opportunities, recognizing they are closer to what students will experience as working adults. States that have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards are tackling the challenge of creating new assessments that measure the skills today’s students need to demonstrate. And the rise of makerspaces has brought with it a commitment to freeing students to tinker and explore.
These students are being asked to take risks, embrace failure and persevere. Some districts are redesigning kindergarten to bring play back to a central place in instruction after a drift toward worksheets and early preparation for testing. Across the country, there is evidence that schools are already moving toward this STEM 2026 vision. The document's streamlining of that vision can help even more schools do the same.