STEM Project Based Learning
Research shows that students perform better when engaged in “active learning” in the classroom as opposed to traditional instruction methods like lecturing. STEM (the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), project-based learning, coding, and computer science are just a few examples of this highly successful active learning format in action. The National Academy of Sciences found that active learning leads to increases in the average student exam performance by half a letter and reduces failure rates overall. As we know that education is a critical tool for allowing students to achieve greater social mobility and transform their local communities, it’s events like this which can make a real impact.
Addressing Talent and Achievement Gaps:
The tech industry has long been struggling with finding the talent to keep up with the growing demand for skilled workers. This is troubling because the IDC estimates that by 2020, 50% of the Global 2000 will see the majority of their business depend on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services, and experiences. It’s clear that we need all hands on deck to meet the needs of our technology-dependent business goals, but when minority groups and women are seemingly missing in action, the talent gap is that much more difficult to bridge.Diversification in the tech industry is critical because it’s an influx of different perspectives which will provide the key to innovation and growth. Unfortunately, the IT sector still lacks input from women and minorities who currently only make up 25% and 10% of the workforce respectively. And the gap only widens as you go up the ladder. Only 17% of Fortune 500 CIO positions were held by women in 2015. Worse yet, the employment of women in IT has actually declined since the 1990s.It’s not just a hiring problem though, it comes down to education and who is pursuing and graduating from STEM disciplines. While 57% of 2014 bachelor’s degree recipients were women, only 17% of received degrees in Computer and Information Sciences. A similar problem is seen with underrepresented minorities in the university setting, particularly in the US.
Supporting STEM in the Classroom:
In recognition of this growing disparity, Microsoft has several initiatives and programs for supporting and encouraging STEM and Computer Science in the classroom and beyond:GirlsWhoCode, as part of YouthSparkSTEM lessons in the Microsoft Educator CommunityThe TEALS program (standing for Technology, Education, and Literacy in Schools)The various online training available through
The Microsoft Professional ProgramWe recognize how important it is to inspire young people and computer science professionals to be a catalyst for change in their communities around the globe, and we hope you will join us in celebrating that commitment during this year’s Computer Science Education Week.