President Obama on STEM Education

By Jordan Hart

Every year the president of the United States stands in front of the nation to deliver the State of the Union address and kick off the congressional year. This year President Obama covered a wide range of important topics, discussing subjects he felt Americans were talking a lot about, as well as those subjects he personally wanted to hear more discussion about.

President Obama addressing questions during his Fireside Hangout via Google+ Hangout.

One topic in particular captured an unexpected amount of attention: STEM education. President Obama didn’t actually use the popular acronym “STEM,” although he spelled it out when he said, “We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.”

Point of Strong Agreement
And the president wasn’t the only one talking about technology education. In the Republican response, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pointed out that this topic was one about which both parties can agree. “Helping the middle class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require,” Rubio said.

To that end, one government initiative is called Educate to Innovate, which is billed as offering “Knowledge and Skills for the Jobs of the Future.” This is a call to educators everywhere to gear up for emerging technologies, and take on the great challenge of preparing younger and older workers alike for the new wave of jobs. This is why Digital Media Academy exists. For more than a decade DMA has been providing skills-based education for the “jobs of tomorrow.” Those positions have since become the jobs of today, and they will only become more prevalent during coming years.

DMA students program robots to complete tasks.

Teaching Kids How to Adapt
Educators in the Information Age face a new sort of challenge. In the past, the path was mostly clear; curricula were handed down and adapted over generations. These days we are writing curriculum on topics that didn’t even exist five or ten years ago. Through cutting-edge education DMA teaches students the methods for learning, adapting and creating in their rapidly evolving world.

That’s why it’s so critical that DMA’s five-day tech camps are project-based, so that students can be properly instructed in the design, planning, development and testing phases of creation. Many of the specific software programs our students use for creation will change or be replaced by mobile apps by the end of this decade. But the creative processes and technological prowess that DMA students gain will carry them through a lifetime.