STEM Is "Cool"
Most people don’t often stop to think about the impact our culture has on our children. Kids have a tendency to strive for whatever they see adults idolizing, and over the years that’s something that has really changed. At the turn of the century the American people observed the creation of new enterprises. They saw entrepreneurs like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie build empires. Prolific inventors and scientists like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were featured on the mastheads of the newspapers of the day. This inspired a new generation of innovators like Henry Ford and Max Factor to create entirely new industries. Even in the 60’s every little boy wanted to be an astronaut, inspired by the leaps in advancements made in the area of space exploration.
Today, this is hardly the case: above all, kids idolize those in the entertainment industry- and there isn’t anything wrong in that itself. The promotion of arts and culture is of tremendous benefit to any society. This only becomes a problem when nearly all youth aspire to enter such professions and show little interest in scientific fields.
For the past fifty years we’ve developed the habit of increasingly associating music and movies with glamor and science with social inadequacy. As a result, kids don’t think twice about cultivating their interest in math or science. It’s a bleak truth, and while this is changing for some related fields, particularly those in the technology arena, were hardly seeing any change in other areas like applied mathematics.
This experiment in today’s video sheds light on a way we can start changing this. Kids were asked to arrange various professions on a scale from “not cool” to “super cool.” When they were given words, jobs like “carpenter”, “musician” and “police officer” topped the list. But when the same kids were given photos of those people in professional settings without any text indicating what those professions were called STEM jobs like “mechanical engineer,” “software developer” and “forensic scientist” jumped in popularity.
This video is a fascinating demonstration of how, with a little adjustment to perception, we can steer kids in new directions-or at least let them know that these directions are real options they can explore! OGTV is proud to bring this feature story sponsored by Randstad USA). Play the video to see the experiment in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxuEHhERFIQ