OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, Actua released a new report featuring the results of its national survey Canadian Teachers’ Readiness for STEM Education.
The report, commissioned by Actua and conducted by Abacus Data, surveyed 507 grade 1-9 teachers from all provinces found that:
- 9 in 10 teachers believe that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills and knowledge are important to students’ future education, careers and being an informed citizen.
- 94 percent of teachers agree that there is room to improve their own STEM and digital skills.
- Less than half of teachers say that they have the confidence to teach digital and technology skills and knowledge.
- Women teachers (39 percent) are more likely to say they lack confidence in their ability to teach digital and technology skills than men teachers (19 percent).
- Teachers with no STEM component or focus in their pre-service education are more likely to say they lack confidence to teach digital and technology skills (41 percent) than teachers who do have a STEM education background (31 percent).
When asked what barriers they face to STEM and digital skills professional development, half of teachers said that there are too few opportunities available. The next most-frequent barriers are time and cost.
“What we see here is that there is a very strong case for developing and widely distributing high-quality and accessible online STEM and digital skills development opportunities for teachers across Canada,” said Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua. “Now more than ever our world is relying on STEM professionals to solve our greatest challenges. In order to have a next generation of innovators ready to do the same, our teachers need to be empowered with the proper training and support to make it possible.”
Actua launched a national teacher training program in 2017 to provide K-12 pre-service and classroom teachers with professional development opportunities in STEM. These include conferences, PD days, after-school and weekend training sessions, in-classroom mentorship, and supporting resources now engaging over 10,000 teachers annually. The program is designed to enhance learning outcomes in their current curriculum, providing teachers with more advanced and relevant resources to help better equip youth with today and tomorrow’s in-demand STEM skills. These include, but are not limited to: edtech, coding and digital skills, robotics, artificial intelligence, cyber security and digital citizenship, engineering design/design thinking, makerspace education, and competencies including computational thinking, creativity, and critical thinking.
About Actua: Actua is Canada’s largest science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) youth outreach network representing 41 university and college based members. Each year, Actua’s growing network of member organizations reach over 300,000 young Canadians in 500 communities nationwide. Actua focuses on the engagement of underrepresented youth through specialized programs for Indigenous youth, girls and young women, at-risk youth and youth living in Northern and remote communities. Its national InSTEM program reaches over 35,000 Indigenous youth per year in over 200 Indigenous communities. Actua’s major funding partners include: Government of Canada, Google.org, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), RBC Foundation, Suncor Energy Foundation, TD Bank Group, Toyota Canada Foundation, Finning Canada, Microsoft Canada, Imperial, Lockheed Martin Canada. For more information about Actua, visit actua.ca.
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