Watters, J. & Diezmann, C. (2013). Community partnerships for fostering student interest and engagement in STEM. Journal of STEM Education,14(2), 47-55. United States of America: Institute for S T E M Education and Research. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=89166349&site=ehost-live
The foundations of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education begins in the early years of schooling when students encounter formal learning experiences primarily in mathematics and science. Politicians, economists and industrialists recognise the importance of STEM in society, and therefore a number of strategies have been implemented to foster interest. Similarly, most students see the importance of science and mathematics in their lives, but school science and mathematics is usually seen as irrelevant, particularly by students in developed countries. This paper reports on the establishment and implementation of partnerships with industry experts from one jurisdiction which have, over a decade, attempted to reconcile the interests of youth and the contemporary world of science. Four case studies are presented and qualitative findings analyzed in terms of program outcomes and student engagement. The key finding is that the formation of relationships and partnerships, in which students have high degree of autonomy and sense of responsibility, is paramount to positive dispositions towards STEM. Those features of successful partnerships are also discussed. The findings raise some hope that innovative schools and partnerships can foster innovation and connect youth with the real world.
School of Education
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