Are Your Learning Spaces Ready For STEM?

DNA - science lab refurbishment

Are Your Learning Spaces Ready For STEM?

10:48 20 March in Education, Modern Ways of Learning, News and Views, School Interior Design, STEM Learning Spaces, Study Space Research

There is a huge shortage of skills and talent forecasted in some industries. Those hardest hit are engineering, technical and science. Within the next 10 years, 40% of engineers are set to retire. Facilitating STEM/STEAM career pathways in your school is an exciting and rewarding journey, helping keep the future of our country safe.

The importance of a comprehensive STEM strategy for your school cannot be underestimated. You’ll need to raise and hold student interest, facilitating a cohesive and contextualised learning journey. We’ll help you develop your STEM learning spaces.

Inspiring All Students in STEM/STEAM Subjects

Contextualised learning helps engage students, giving them real life examples and encouraging them to apply knowledge across a range of subjects. When you’re blending maths with history, and science with art, lessons become far more engaging. Then you’re working together to achieve less of ‘why do we have to do this’ and more of the ‘oh I get it, that’s pretty cool!’

Collaborative and community learning are gaining in popularity too. It’s often said that a team is greater than the sum of it’s parts. It’s never been truer than in a team of students, and is particularly relevant to STEM subjects. The best way to learn is to teach others, and peer-to-peer instruction gives a richer learning experience. Group working and collaboration helps students to combine their talents and understanding.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths as subjects have traditionally been pursued by more boys than girls, although research shows that girls are able to excel. Encouraging girls to enter STEM career paths is gaining in popularity. 23% of girls feel that STEM careers are geared towards boys. Multi-country research suggest that 43% of girls would consider STEM careers, whilst 62% say there should be better role models and 70% say they would consider STEM careers if there was greater equality. Women make up 46% of the overall workforce, although only 15% of STEM roles are filled by women. In countries like Finland and Russia, STEM careers are viewed as gender neutral.

It’s time to wake up to the opportunities at our fingertips, and encourage students into futures that are inspiring, inspirational and so crucial to the future of our nation.

Environment Design

Your school environment has the ability to affect student success by up to 25% both positively and negatively. Quality of teaching is important too, but creating a school environment that promotes greater working together, cross subject learning and maker mentality will allow your teachers the space and tools they need to help your students reach greater heights on their STEM pathway.

Your learning space and infrastructure can be personalised to your school’s unique needs. Elements such as group working spaces, personal private learning spaces and technology can be brought together to maximise the impact of your school facility.

Employability Skills

Many employers are looking for ‘softer’ skills in their employees. Features like resilience, teamwork, empathy are all important for success in the workplace. A successful STEM/STEAM strategy will help to draw out and strengthen these factors in your students.
The four Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity are all highly valued, and indeed are all features of a well-rounded student, suited to life in today’s fast paced and unpredictable world.

A Culture To Suit

Implementing a culture that embraces the full STEM curriculum will result in more than just good grades in yearly exams. By fully involving teachers, and empowering them to shake up the curriculum, you’ll ensure a more comprehensive STEM learning strategy, resulting in engaged, lifelong learners.

Communication between staff and students, and relevant and inspirational careers guidance and information is an important building block to your STEM strategy.

Involving Industries

Many employers are keen to be involved in schools. By including industry influence in your STEM strategy, you’ll help to inform and inspire students about the options available to them. You’ll engender interest in both parties, as organisations will be keen to attract students talented in their field, whilst real-life industry insight helps to inspire students and inform them of the options open to them.

There have been examples of organisations paying for students university fees, as well as guaranteeing them a job for 3 years once their studies have been completed.
The projected shortfall in STEM careers means forward-thinking employers are already acting to attract talent for the future.

STEM In Your Learning Spaces

A correctly designed learning environment will help you accommodate your student’s STEM journeys more effectively. By taking an evidence-based user-centred design route, you can ensure the best long-term strategy for your facility. Involve students and stakeholders to ensure your environment will work for everyone. Here at Envoplan we have tried and tested research methods that let you discover what is really happening in your learning spaces.

An inspirational STEM environment is more than just classroom or science laboratory design. Spaces should be connected and flowing, with environments suited to tinkering and maker mentality, peer-to-peer communication, private working and other activities.

Student - group work in self directed learning model

Spaces for communication

Communication in the STEM program is hugely important; between students, industries, careers teams, teachers, parents. There are many ways you can make communication easier by simply accommodating it within your environment. 3D Display areas, wall display space, and digital communication mediums will all help.

Aside from sharing of information for long-term purposes, you’ll also need to ensure your learning space promotes communication and collaboration within day-to-day activities. Whiteboards, writable walls and collaboration software are great ways to involve students and encourage collaboration.

Maker spaces

Encourage students to discover through hands-on experiences. Durable surfaces and tools and equipment help to foster creativity and discovery, otherwise known as ‘maker mentality’.

Virtual Reality is a fantastic tool available to schools for subjects that don’t allow for tinkering in the school environment. Apps that allow you to discover the anatomy of the human heart, or the intricate workings of a wind turbine are ideal for learning beyond the confines of the school environment.

Bespoke classroom furniture - art trolley
blended learning teacher and students collaborating

Autonomous, durable and flexible

Realising the STEM dream in your school has to happen through real-life people, furniture and spaces. Your development strategy for the infrastructure needs to be future-proof and durable.
We’ll work with you to develop your infrastructure plan to ensure you are able to accommodate STEM learning for the long-term.

Whether you’re looking for flip-top tables, collaborative learning zones or individual focussed working pods, we’ll help ensure your strategy will give you the best long-term return, and won’t be just a quick temporary fix.

Making It Happen

We’ve combined forces with leading STEM consultants and we’re able to assist you with creating a cohesive STEM strategy. From your infrastructure to your culture, we’ll bring together the talent and advice you need to ensure that STEM subjects are elevated to their rightful place within your school.

Book your STEM consultation today. Contact Bruce, our business development manager on b.evershed@envoplan.co.uk or call 020 8997 9656 to discuss further.

Are You Ready To Upgrade Your STEM Learning Spaces?

 

Contact us on 020 8997 9868 or enquiries@envoplan.co.uk – we would love to talk through your vision and help you create a cohesive STEM learning spaces strategy.