9. Prof Ian Moll

The pedagogy of technical and vocational skills: Robotics and beyond in the South African school curriculum.

Prof Ian Moll is research fellow at REAL (Centre for Researching Education and Labour) at the University of the Witwatersrand. He was retired from the Division of Educational and Engineering Information Technology at the university at the end of 2021. His interests lie in the psychology of learning; knowledge, work and skill; the networked society; learning and pedagogy; and educational technology. His PhD is in cognitive science from the University of Geneva. During his career, he has been an early childhood educationist, an adult literacy teacher, a trade unionist, a district director in the Gauteng Department of Education, a researcher at the South African Institute for Distance Education, visiting professor at the Universities of Makarere and Witwatersrand (where he was a lead researcher in the Panafrican Agenda on the Pedagogic Integration of ICTs), and a lecturer in educational theory and research, psychology of education and instructional design.

What is STEM education?
STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is not merely a list of important subjects, but education in these subjects should be approached as a cross-disciplinary pedagogically integrative philosophy, explained by the Redhill school . STEM is much more than the sum of its parts. STEM education combines these four subjects into an interdisciplinary approach of enquiry and problem-based learning. STEM helps children develop critical, analytical thinking skills to solve real world problems, and helps them become lifelong learners. They become competent and able to change with our rapidly changing times.
STEM education has developed to be more significant for the world as it poses a range of advantages in a myriad of fields. As most sectors are dependent on the STEM fields, it indirectly plays a significant role in the flourishing of the economy. In the coming years, the STEM sector is expected to be one of the largest employers in the world.

Purpose and objectives:
The purpose of this DF is to focus on particular aspects of STEM education that are currently of concern and interest, including:
• The effects of recent disruptions of education on STEM education
• The urgent need for career guidance and awareness of the importance of STEM subjects
among learners
• Technology as school subject matter: including technology and engineering as school
subjects, and technology-focusedschools
• Creativity and STEM education (referred to as STEAM)
• Exposure to 4IR technologies, e.g. robotics and coding
Objectives include:
• → Raising concerns on behalf of the SET professional associations in NSTF, both during the event and in subsequent publicity and communication with the Department of Basic Education
• → To approach STEM education from the perspective of various stakeholders and experts
• → To collate the best ideas for dealing with the huge challenges to STEM education in our
education systems
Education is a vital component of building a great career. When it comes to STEM, there are many enriching opportunities and a great variety of meaningful careers. Moreover, with a scarcity of talent in the fields of STEM, some candidates are in high demand. Other skills attained through STEM education include problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more. Regardless of the future career path considered by schoolchildren, these skill sets go a long way to preparing them to be systematic and logical thinkers, as well as innovative. By learning to approach problems scientifically, children gain valuable analytical and information management skills, which can be applied to all areas of life. The best STEM learning is hands-on, and the best teaching helps children learn to solve problems in fun and meaningful ways. STEM-based education teaches children more than science and mathematics concepts. The focus on hands-on learning with real-world applications helps develop a variety of skill sets, including creativity and 21st-century skills.

https://www.samefoundation.org.za/stem-education-science-technology-engineering-maths-for- south-african-underprivileged-schools/
https://www.ucf.edu/online/engineering/news/comparing-stem-vs-steam-why-the-arts-make-a- difference/
https://www.redhill.co.za/curriculum/future-focused-education/stem- education#:~:text=STEM%2C%20or%20Science%20Technology%20Engineering,as%20Finland%2C%2 0Norway%2C%20Netherlands.
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