STEM education is everywhere
STEM education and workforce development programs seem nearly ubiquitous across the United States. Across industry, nearly every science and technology company of any stature has some form of STEM education initiative (from Raytheon and Microsoft to Bayer and Toyota) . Across government, most federal agencies (especially those with a science and technology focus) have a STEM initiative, like that of NASA, EPA, National Park Service, and many more. Non-profits from the 4-H and National Girls Collaborative Project to the National Institute of Building Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association are growing STEM across multiple facets of education.
GIS is STEM
Whether the data and analysis are rooted in a particular discipline of science or engineering, or students are learning about GIS technology itself, GIS drives STEM. What’s more, the mathematics of GIS data and geoprocessing range from the straightforward to quite advanced, as colleagues are noting in a forthcoming spatial mathematics book.
The value of GIS as a tool for critical data analysis cannot be overstated. In the forthcoming, Next Generation Science Standards, the emphasis on data analysis as a key part of “science and engineering practice” is central to the standards and to K12 science education in the US. Mapping data is useful – but analyzing it is even more powerful for problem-based and inquiry learning at any level or discipline.
Learn more about how schools and clubs are already using GIS to advance STEM education.
- Tom Baker, Esri Education Manager