MIT professor Richard Larson recently wrote an excellent opinion column - STEM is for Everyone. In the column, he succinctly made the case for widespread STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) literacy, and explained why it is as important to our 21st century information economy as basic reading-writing literacy has been to the industrial economy of the past two centuries. According to Larson, STEM literacy is a way of thinking and doing:
“A person has STEM literacy if she can understand the world around her in a logical way guided by the principals of scientific thought. A STEM-literate person can think for herself. She asks critical questions. She can form hypotheses and seek data to confirm or deny them. She sees the beauty and complexity in nature and seeks to understand. She sees the modern world that mankind has created and hopes to use her STEM-related skills and knowledge to improve it.”
Larson is Professor of Engineering Systems and Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. He is a pioneer in applying STEM capabilities to a wide variety of problems in services industries, from urban systems to online learning. He is the founder and director of LINC - Learning International Network Consortium, a collaboration involving educators from around the world who share best practices on how to best organize higher education distance learning projects in developing countries. Among LINC’s key projects is Blossoms - Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies, which is developing a large free repository of video modules created by gifted volunteers from around the world to assist school teachers with math and science courses.