Learning for STEM Literacy: STEM Literacy for Learning



We are in the STEM generation whose comprehensive purpose is to resolve (1) societal needs for new technological and scientific advances; (2) economic needs for national security; and (3) personal needs to become a fulfilled, productive, knowledgeable citizen. STEM specifically refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but now has a broader meaning to include environment, economics, and medicine. Currently, there is not an agreement of the particulars in education, or in standards, by professional organizations that define STEM literacy. Most definitions do cover societal and economic needs but overlook personal needs. There is a general consensus that everyone needs to be STEM literate. But there is a difference between literacy and being literate. STEM literacy should not be viewed as a content area but as a deictic means (composed of skills, abilities, factual knowledge, procedures, concepts, and metacognitive capacities) to gain further learning. This paper gives a brief background of literacy definitions in STEM and presents a description of STEM literacy based upon (1) cognitive, (2) affective, and (3) psychomotor learning theory domains. The paper stresses the need to evolve from learning for STEM literacy to using STEM literacy for learning to satisfy our societal, economic, and personal needs.