Everything you need to know about STEM for parents in Hong Kong

Bizibuz_blog_Everything you need to know about STEM for parents in Hong Kong

What is STEM / STE[A]M?

Most people are familiar with the acronym of STEM for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and some might even be aware of the hipper version, STEAM, which incorporates the Arts. But what is STEM education and its trendier cousin STEAM? And why is it important for my child?

Behind these acronyms, there is an entirely new approach to learning that leaves rote learning in the dust. Rather than focusing on test preparation or siloed subject study, STEM teaching builds engagement and encourages the development of higher-level skills by relating lessons to the real world. This revolution in education is a direct response to the realization that our future is dependent on innovation, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking.

 

 

How STEM / STE[A]M benefits your child

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The benefits of STEM education for children have been widely reported in recent research studies. The crib note version is that children who take STEM courses, play with STEM toys or use STEM apps have been found to have their natural curiosity heightened which leads to all sorts of positive side effects such as

  • increased confidence
  • greater sense of self, and goals
  • improved concentration and cognitive abilities
  • improved collaboration skills.

 

Future of the education in Hong Kong 

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As parents, you understand that each child is unique in terms of their interests and learning styles, so why would it make sense to subject your child to lecture-style teaching and rote learning and expect them to achieve heights of academic success? The reality is a minority of students learn effectively this way and STEM education is designed to be flexible enough to harness a specific child’s interest and particular learning style.

And surely the greatest gift you can give your child is a sense of their place in the world. STEM offers a vocational roadmap that can transform the natural curiosity of early years into highly lucrative careers in creative industries that are reportedly driving innovation and future growth in Hong Kong.

 

Difference between STEM and IB

Given the multi-disciplinary focus, it’s easy to confuse STEM education with the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. The IB programme consists of 4 educational courses for children aged 3-19: the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), the IB Mid Years Programme (IB MYP), the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP) and the IB Careers Programme (IB CP). As of writing, there are 69 IB world schools and 37 schools authorized to offer the IB diploma in Hong Kong (you can find the full list on the IB website).

 

The IB programme and STEM are both known for the holistic development of a child as an inquirer within the classroom and in connection to the outside world. Both use innovative educational approaches to learning and collaborating. Subject matter is not siloed, but is instead delivered through fluid instruction spanning multiple knowledge, skills and beliefs.

 

The IB programme has however fostered a broader focus in its attempt to connect learning with the real world. It is sometimes thought of as equivalent to a liberal arts qualification given its notable features of requiring the study of English, a humanities subject, and also a language.

Nevertheless, the principles of STEM fit seamlessly with the philosophies of the IB, which place an emphasis upon structured inquiry into complex problems, learning through doing and emphasizing creativity and collaboration.

 

The Ultimate STEM courses in Hong Kong

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As a technology company CEO, a mother of children that attend an IB school in Hong Kong and that take STEM courses offered through our platform, STEM is near and dear to my heart. Here are my top picks for school holidays and weekend downtime:

 

Science courses

  • Curiosity Kids’ have online science experiment classes
  • Genius Development has 8 locations across Hong Kong and biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science classes so there will be something for everyone
  • PhD Scientists have courses that are great at preparing your child for secondary science classes

 

More class information can be found here.

 

Technology / coding courses

  • Genius Development also offers coding summer camps where children can learn python, C++, JavaScript and other programming languages
  • 931 SMD offers Minecraft education for 5-16 year olds at their Causeway Bay location. My kids are addicted

More class information can be found here.

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Maths

  • Most Maths offers primary level Maths tuition in Kowloon
  • PhD Scientists also have Maths support classes

More class information can be found here.

 

Chess

  • Go Legend offer online chess classes for aspiring champions

More class information can be found here.

 

My favourite STEM apps

A go-to guide for all things STEM would not be complete without indispensable STEM apps.

  • STEMWerkz is animated, interactive and covers a range of topics across all the STEM acronyms. Available for either iOS or Android.
  • Infinite Flight Simulator is an incredible flight simulator game with multiplayer mode. Warning habit forming! Available for iPad and other mobile devices.
  • SoloLearn is great for learning a broad range of coding languages. It’s also free if you can bear the ads. Available for either iOS or Android.
  • IXL Math has a wide age range applicability (3-18 years) and a huge database of practice questions. Available for either iOS or Android.

 

Cultivate the early stirrings of STEM inquisitiveness and inventiveness in your child today!