With increased productivity through technology and our ever-expanding global connection with one another, the significance of a high-quality education in math and science is quickly becoming more apparent as a foundation for progress and opportunity.
It’s estimated that two-thirds of all jobs will require post-secondary education training based on critical thinking and problem-solving skills amassed through math and science by the year 2020. Nearly as many jobs will require basic literacy in those fields by then as well.
Unfortunately, access to optimal STEM education is unevenly distributed throughout the nation, with millions of students living in what are referred to as STEM deserts; communities without proper access to challenging and stimulating science and math programs.
This lack of STEM access is fast becoming a critical equality issue within the realm of education, especially for students in rural or poor urban communities where access to such courses seem perpetually out of reach.
The statistics are surely staggering. More than half of U.S. high schools don’t offer Calculus courses, four out of ten don’t offer Physics and more than one in five schools don’t provide students with courses in Algebra, which is widely considered a gateway for STEM success further along during college.
Perhaps the key factor in solving the STEM dilemma is a matter of making math and science courses more engaging for students both in and out of the classroom, where learning can be made interactive and encouraging in order for children to discover the benefits of math and science, recognizing the capacity within STEM course for as much imagination and critical thinking as they can possibly provide through any number of tools.
One such tool is the Robots4STEM program, and their interactive learning software known as Jett. Robots4STEM seeks to create equal opportunities for children interested in pursuing STEM-based careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Through the use of a virtual environment, students are provided with a safe space easily accessible through any computer or mobile device where they can test their knowledge of coding for Jett, a robot and avatar designed to help students learn and apply skills in coding. Through the concept of Individualized Learning, JettLingo, the drag-and-drop programming language created in tandem with Jett, provides students with a visual building block style language that teaches the basics of coding both at a personalized pace for the student and through global accessibility, allowing them to learn and refine their skills in and out of the classroom alike.
Robots4STEM works with educators, regardless of prior Computer Science knowledge, to inspire a students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as their confidence, creating a building block of its very own that allows students to explore their own interests in relation to STEM fields.
The inequity of sufficient STEM programs is a concerning epidemic in American schools to be sure. But the time has come to ensure the access of high-quality, rigorous coursework in STEM courses to all students across the country, which will lead to further advancements in our national security, technological leadership and our economy. Through programs like Robots4STEM, we can create a brighter, progressive future for our children and teach them the benefits and opportunities an education in STEM courses can create.
This story was originally published in U.S. News.