In modern education and society, many of us have heard the term STEM with regards to specific fields of study and work, and while it has become commonplace, many people still might not actually know what the term means – despite the fact that it encompasses many facets of society.
But what exactly does STEM mean, and what impact does it have on the world?
Table of Contents
What Is STEM?
The term STEM stands for ‘science, technology, engineering, and mathematics’, and refers to a broad range of topics within those specific disciplines.
When Is This Term Used?
These subjects are categorized into the word STEM in education, where they are grouped together in curriculum plans and prospectuses (see also ‘15 Best STEM Activities For Preschoolers To Try Today‘).
What Variations Are There?
As well as STEM – a term that is widely used in many parts of the world (but specifically in the United States) – there are other acronyms used to describe specific fields of work and study.
- A-STEM – arts, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
- eSTEM – environmental STEM.
- GEMS – ‘Girls in engineering, math, and science’.
- MINT – mathematics, information, natural science, and technology.
- SHTEAM – science, humanities, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
- STEAM – science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics.
- STEAM – science, technology, engineering, and applied mathematics.
- STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
- STEEM – science, technology, engineering, economics, and mathematics.
- STEMIE – science, technology, engineering, mathematics, invention, and entrepreneurship.
- STEMM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.
- STM – scientific, technical, and mathematics (or ‘science, technology, and medicine’).
- STREAM – science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
Why Is STEM Important?
Based on the above information, it is easy to see why STEM fields have so much importance within wider society – both in terms of how we function as a species, and the necessities we rely on to stay alive, healthy, and in the comfort we have come to know.
One reason why STEM fields are so important to society at large is their impact on innovation, and the various inventions and emerging technologies that continue to advance and improve our daily lives.
This is not only in the fields of consumer electronics, but also air travel, automobiles, medical machinery, heating, lighting, power saving devices, power storage devices, and any number of other things that keep the lights on, keep the heating running, and ensure we can all live in the modern way to which we have become accustomed.
It has been directly proven that as STEM applicant numbers decrease, the long term prosperity of various societies begin to dwindle.
This is because people in the STEM fields are vital when it comes to maintaining the whole ‘machine’ – that is, the whole of society that works together in unison.
They are the ones who develop and manufacture new technologies, and they are the ones who develop the concept for power and generate it for us.
And they are the ones who protect and reinforce the infrastructure of societies with technology, protection, heating, lighting, water, and both the comforts and necessities that we need to continue at the pace we are currently advancing at.
If we did not have STEM fields, our society would not have advanced at the same rate as it currently has, and likewise, if this ever dwindled to nothing, we would quickly degenerate as a society into something resembling pre-18th century life.
Science and medicine have also improved our chances of living a longer, healthier life, and as such this wouldn’t be the case if those advances weren’t consistently being worked upon and improved.
Without those studying, and without that desire to continue and get better, we would be in a very different state as a society.
And it doesn’t bear to think how many people wouldn’t be around today without the various scientific, medicinal, and technological advancements that have been developed over the 20th century alone.
The continual research of people in these various fields also helps us to advance as a society, something that can be witnessed in the rate of advancement throughout the 20th century.
When you consider that in the space of 100 years we developed automobiles, airplanes, space shuttles, actually achieved space travel, created computers, the internet, and any number of other achievements, it really is staggering.
The continuation of STEM fields is vital to this continual improvement of us as a species, and who knows where we will be in another 100 years time?
What Are The Benefits Of STEM Education?
Of course, there are also benefits for the individuals who want to get into the STEM fields.
Money isn’t everything, but it sure does make things easier, and it is a widely known fact that individuals in the STEM fields are some of the highest earners around.
This is of course comparable to the level of skill, knowledge, and potential that these people have.
STEM graduates also have better employment opportunities, ensuring they are in positions that put their potential to good use.
The numbers are still limited, which makes graduates all the more desirable for companies around the world.
Space To Discover
Of course, with these better jobs, there is also the room to make more discoveries – or more precisely, to have the freedom to discover within your field.
People with interests in STEM can improve their skills, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities tenfold – making it some of the best training around.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about STEM, and what exactly it stands for.
It’s true that the STEM fields represent some of the most accomplished and best minds in the world, and hosts experts that offer a lot of good and benefits to society as a whole.
So if you are looking to involve yourself in the STEM fields, then why not give it a try? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!