Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are fundamental to a (post-)digital society. Associated competencies are not only crucial for success in many professions, they are also central to the development of well-grounded personal viewpoints and participation in societal discourse on an equal footing. Beyond skill acquisition, it is desirable for children and young people to develop a wide range of interests, and the sense of self-efficacy required to use digital technologies and pursue their own goals. In particular, we explore how children and young people can be encouraged to use digital technologies as a way of developing creative ideas and solving practical individual or societal problems. The non-formal education sector in particular holds great potential for digital empowerment, for example in the context of the ever-growing maker movement.
To get a comprehensive picture of what motivates young people to participate in STEM, we are also investigating the role of parents, peers and teachers in the development of relevant activities among children and adolescents. The insights gained in this way help to design low-threshold non-formal offerings and motivating settings for informal learning.
Our empirical studies on STEM education are part of a larger research program on education and empowerment in the post-digital age.
Smolarczyk, K., & Kröner, S. (2021): Two decades in the making: A scoping review on research on digital making and its potential for digital empowerment in non-formal settings. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2021.1974987
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