The emergence of new technologies has historically been a source of inspiration for generations of high-ability and gifted students. Today, however, it’s important to realize that development of these technologies is on an exponential trajectory; years, not decades. The need for highly qualified candidates in STEM fields can often make for an excellent career choice for students interested in areas such as AI, cyber security, biotech, big data, space exploration, and synthetic engineering or even cutting-edge technologies like quantum computing, digital telepathy, and algorithmic personality detection. The opportunities are mind-boggling.
Classroom technologies on the horizon will also help to inspire gifted kids. Augmented reality, virtual field trips, 3D printing, cloud computing, digital libraries; all are poised to disrupt how they learn. Traditional education is set to be revolutionized as teachers become facilitators; not simply lecturers. New methods such as game-based learning will not only aid in how students learn, but provide opportunity for our brightest students to create and design the games. Biometrics will allow teachers to track student comprehension; and provide evidence for the need to differentiate instruction on an individual basis. Online education utilizing technologies like Second Life are already being implemented to create global classrooms.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech jobs related to environmental innovation are the fastest growing.” ~ Dr. Cait Fuentes King
Recent research has shown how important it is to expose young children to technology. The top 10 career choices (2-12 y.o.) are positions highly visible in their everyday lives and in the media. As they get older, we know that passion follows exposure. Kids should experience the possibilities of tech careers through engaging field trips to high-tech companies, attending summer camps, mentoring and internships. Early introduction to STEM careers allows the creation of skill sets over a longer period of time and inspires kids before the ‘nerd’ factor sets in.
How can science and education collaborate to promote STEM in schools? Scientists working as local school advisors and serving as mentors to students is a good first step. Tech companies can provide funding and resources for STEM education; aiding in the development of career pipelines.
Parents, too, can encourage their kids to explore STEM careers. They can talk to their kids about following their passions; dreaming big! Parents should seek out opportunities such as after-school programs, competitions (chess, robotics, etc.), online classes, and classes at local libraries, museums, and universities.
A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.
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Exponential Technologies | Peter H. Diamandis (YouTube 19:48)