The Centre for Smart Cities is involved in a project that aims to stimulate school pupils’ interest and competence in STEM subjects by introducing concepts that have real-life applications within the context of a Smart City.
Today, approximately 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas. By 2050, The United Nations estimate this figure will rise to 65% – combined with a significant rise in the overall population. With so many people now living and working in cities, it is not surprising that discussions about sustainable development are predominantly framed within an urban context, focusing on complex issues such as climate change, health and wellbeing, traffic congestion – to name just a few. The advancement of STEM related disciplines is therefore essential in addressing the key global challenges facing society in the 21st century.
Providing young people with a fundamental understanding of STEM concepts not only enables them to comprehend and consider the complex world around them, it also provides a gateway to highly skilled employment and fosters social mobility.
Despite this, the number of school pupils across Europe electing to study STEM subjects is declining, and this trend is most noticeable amongst female pupils. To some extent, this decline can be attributed to the perception of STEM subjects. STEM subjects are often perceived as being for ‘high achievers’ and therefore many capable students do not consider STEM as a viable study option unless they are consistently achieving top marks. Another contributory factor is the way in which STEM subjects are taught. Many pupils regard STEM subjects as being focussed on a collection of detached, de-contextualised and value-free facts that are not connected to students’ own experiences.
Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the Smart Kids project will develop an extra-curricular learning module that aims to increase the interest and attainment level of school pupils in STEM subjects by adopting a bottom-up, learner-centred approach.
For further information about the project, please visit: https://smartkidsproject.eu/