iSTEM+

`iSTEM+’ (read “i-STEM Plus”) stands for `integrated STEM education including more subjects, skills and people’. It is an organisational tool to support a whole-school approach to embedding joined-up STEM education & skills in the curriculum for all learners. Such schools are called `Skilful Schools’ and they work with other partners including nearby schools, parents and employers in `iSTEM+ local clusters’ providing cross-curricular opportunities for the development of both STEM and employability skills.

`iSTEM+’ (read “i-STEM Plus”) stands for `integrated STEM education including more subjects, skills and people’. It is an organisational tool to support a whole-school approach to embedding joined-up STEM education & skills in the curriculum for all learners. Such schools are called `Skilful Schools’ and they work with other partners including nearby schools, parents and employers in `iSTEM+ local clusters’ providing cross-curricular opportunities for the development of both STEM and employability skills.

The origins of the acronym STEM are in the SET for Success Report of Sir Gareth Roberts' Review of the supply of people with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical skills for HM Treasury published in March 2002. This identified a number of issues in school, further and higher education, as well as in the labour market for science and engineering skills, that needed to be addressed in order to secure a strong future supply of scientists and engineers in the UK. This formed the basis of the last Government’s policy: “Science and research are major contributors to the prosperity of the UK. For our prosperity to continue, the government believes we need high levels of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and citizens that value them.”

The same policy is being taken forward by the current Government. STEM skills are required to support other Government policies such as Business Enterprise, Industry, Media & Creative Industries, Research & Development, Science & Innovation, UK Economic Growth and the impending UK Digital Strategy. A new aspect is that of Digital Skills. This was the subject of the House of Lords Make or Break report in 2015 and of the current House of Commons Digital Skills Enquiry. Employer’s organisations have consistently reported increasing shortages of STEM-skilled people as a major factor in inhibiting economic growth – see the 2015 CBI Inspiring growth education and skills survey.

Most schools provide STEM enrichment activities such as clubs, visits and competitions for some of their pupils. There are many organisations supporting such activities such as STEMNet, STEM Learning, Tomorrow’s Engineers and Your Life. But these have not been sufficient to meet the increasing demands of employers. Building on preparatory work by Becta’s 2010 Fit For The Future project, a group from the STEM teachers’ professional associations (ASE, ATM, CAS, DATA, MA, NSEAD, YST) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has developed a whole-school, bottom-up strategy to embed an integrated approach to STEM education and skills in the curriculum for all students 5-19.

This has been developed by the Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education CCITE into the `iSTEM+ approach’. The aim is to restore the UK to the position of a world-leader in technological education it previously held. In the 1980s the UK responded to the skills crisis of the day, the `Challenge of the chip’, with the BBC’s digital literacy campaign (and BBC micro), the Microelectronics Education Programme MEP, the `Micros in Schools’ initiative and the Technical & Vocational Education Initiative TVEI. This was a cross-government response from Mrs. Thatcher’s first Government led by the Departments of Industry, Employment and Education. Two of the chief architects of that response, Lord Baker and Lord Young, are still actively engaged with educational reform through the University Technical Colleges and Enterprise Education. Now, 35 years later, we are in a position to respond to the criticisms made of our technological education by Google’s chairman, Dr. Eric Schmidt. Digital technologies, especially mobile ones, are now all pervasive, powerful and affordable. All students in England now follow a Computing curriculum 5-16 which requires them to learn how to program a computer.

The BBC has launched its `Make it Digital’ initiative and, together with partners, is providing the BBC micro:bit free to all 11-year olds with a plethora of supporting materials. The Raspberry Pi has sold more than 5m and recently launched two new models. The Pi Zero and Crumble devices are less than £5, my grandson’s pocket money. The Digital Inc. initiative enables schools to provide heavily discounted connectivity and platforms which can be paid for from Pupil Premium. The DfE has established its Careers & Enterprise Company C&EC which is working through the 39 English Local Enterprise Partnerships LEPs to provide every state secondary school and college 12-18 with a volunteer Enterprise Adviser EA from a local employer. In his speech at the January CaSE Lecture, the Science Minister, Jo Johnson, announced new funding to put the UK at the forefront of international research and inspire the next generation of world-class scientists. Since September, CCITE has been in discussion with DfE Ministers Caroline Dinenage and Nick Boles about developing the iSTEM+ approach as the basis for a new integrated STEM education & skills strategy for all learners 5-19.

CCITE is now discussing with Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Digital Economy, and DCMS officials, ways in which the UK Digital Strategy can support STEM education & skills in schools as well as promoting digital literacy.

Fusion is nearer than you think. Get ready to: • become a Skilful School • form an iSTEM+ cluster • help prepare for tomorrow’s world • make the UK great again when the revolution comes.

NB The following content is taken direct from the iSTEM+ Moodle created by Philip Moffit. Phil is an engineer working in engineering and asset / facilities management at the Royal School of Military Engineering. He is also a STEM Ambassador and Schools Liaison Officer for the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Phil worked with us mainly on the KIKS project and it is appropriate to acknowledge his major contributions to iSTEM+ and CCITE.

The first known use of the term iSTEM+ was in 2010. Professor Adrian Oldknow, Emeritus Professor of STEM at the University of Chichester, conceived the notion in response to skills shortages in collaboration with UK STEM stakeholders and teachers when designing enhancement and enrichment interventions. Notably, it was acknowledged at the time that STEM education in UK schools was approached through stand-alone and often abstract subjects, as discrete from real-world problem solving perspectives.

From 2010 onwards iSTEM+ projects were progressively developed to integrate STEM education with more subjects, skills and people. Specific projects, designed to support whole-school approaches to embedding joined-up STEM education & skills in the curriculum for all learners, were commissioned and designed by Professor Adrian Oldknow and Doctor Tony Houghton. They were generally incubated by the Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education (CCITE), where Doctor Tony Houghton is the Education Development Director.

iSTEM+ promotes emergent, non-prescriptive and bottom-up communal approaches to learning. The dominant pedagogical models are project-based learning and networked learning. The inter-related elements of iSTEM+ are detailed at this download and are described in this video

A number of instantiated examples of iSTEM+ activities are linked at “See also”, and the following indicative case studies show the configuration and running of iSTEM+ aligned activities in schools:

Primary: iSTEM+ and “gSTEM Thursdays” at Gomer Junior School, Hampshire, UK.

Secondary:iSTEM+ in Flight” at Hockerill Anglo-European College, Hertfordshire, UK.

International collaboration: iSTEM+ and “Kids Inspiring Kids” in Spain, Finland, Hungary and the UK.

iSTEM+ promotes emergent, non-prescriptive and bottom-up communal approaches to learning. The dominant pedagogical models are project-based learning and networked learning. The inter-related elements of iSTEM+ are detailed at this download and are described in this video

A number of instantiated examples of iSTEM+ activities are linked at “See also”, and the following indicative case studies show the configuration and running of iSTEM+ aligned activities in schools:

Primary: iSTEM+ and “gSTEM Thursdays” at Gomer Junior School, Hampshire, UK.

Secondary:iSTEM+ in Flight” at Hockerill Anglo-European College, Hertfordshire, UK.

International collaboration: iSTEM+ and “Kids Inspiring Kids” in Spain, Finland, Hungary and the UK.

Alton Convent School

Apáczai Nevelési és Általános Művelődési Központ School

Bálint Márton School

Bohunt School

Brune Park Community School

Budapesti Fazekas Mihály School

Carisbrooke College

Children and Young Adults Derbyshire

CEMAST Fareham College

Comberton Village College and Sixth Form

Crofton School

De Sar School

Gomer Junior School

Hockerill Anglo­European College

Huhtasuo School

John Cabot Academy

Laukaa School

Linton Village College

Lope de Vega School

Malmesbury School

Mankola School

Palokka KIKS Team

Park House School

Parkside Academy

Perins School

Raedwald Trust

Rainham Mark Education Trust

Reading College

San Jose School

Sánchez Cantón School

Sashegyi Arany János School

Sawston Village College

Sierra Sur School

St John’s College School

The Burgess Hill Academy

The Petersfield School

Torrente Ballester School

Twickenham Academy

UTC Reading

Vega de Toranzo School

Viitaniemi School

Wildern Secondary School