Culture and STEM Education

Presented by: Leah Buechley

Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is increasingly promoted as a path to personal and national success. Powerful institutions, including the US department of education, have encouraged students to choose STEM majors and careers. Despite the fact that these fields are so widely advocated for, they remain startlingly non-diverse, dominated by white and asian men. This talk will examine how social traditions are largely responsible for these patterns of participation.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are cultural disciplines as much as they are intellectual ones. Our educational systems indoctrinate students with cultural norms as much as they impart other knowledge. Some cultural practices, rich with STEM content, remain largely invisible in educational and social contexts while others dominate. Why? This talk will explore historical connections between different creative practices, diversity, and STEM. It will also provide examples of inclusive educational platforms and present guidelines to help teachers and technology designers connect with a broad range of people and practices.

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