Making a Case for Project-Based Learning

Posted by Terry Talley on October 06, 2015


 STEM is now the hot topic in science education around the world! Why is that? How can this change in the focus of science education possibly prepare our students for their economic independence? STEM proponents advise that our students' economic independence will come from the choices they make while in school concerning what they will be prepared to do post graduation. Will they be ready to compete in the global workplace that has emerged since 2000, when the "world became flat?"

Thomas Friedman in his 2005 speech at Notre Dame, about his book, The World is Flat, had an insightful look at globalization and outsourcing. The point of his book and speech is that while we, as a nation, were sleeping, globalization changed from being built around nations to being built around individuals. Individuals are now competing economically and independently against other individuals on a global level, rather than the economies of nations competing against the economies of other nations around the world. 

With the advent of the Internet, the personal computer, and fiber optic cables, our economic content knowledge is now available to the world in digital form. As a tool for connectivity, the Internet gives the world access to our knowledge base and the ability for individuals to collaborate, outsource, and innovate within the workflow and information synthesis that used to be the exclusive business of companies in the US. 

On this digital platform, Freidman states that, "whatever can be done, will be done" by us, for us, or to us. The new digital platform makes three billion workers in countries such as Russia, China, and India, available to impact the economics of our workforce in the US; with the workflow going to the most available and adaptive workers in the world. The only workers who will not be impacted by this world-wide digital platform are going to be those whose jobs cannot outsourced, digitalized, or automated, or those whose work is specialized and anchored to specific locations, such as doctors, carpenters, or nannies.

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