Innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) play an essential role in creating new economies, increasing competition in the global market, and improving the quality of life. Given the importance of STEM in our lives, nation’s economies and the environment we live in, there has been an increasing emphasis on teaching STEM under the umbrella of STEM in recent years. STEM stands for the blended and problem-based learning environment that integrates all four subjects in an interdisciplinary fashion.
While the idea of STEM is relatively new, STEM programs are flourishing in schools in every corner of the world. The rapid adoption of the STEM idea calls for new understandings about how to reframe the curriculum?, how do teachers develop knowledge/expertise to implement the interdisciplinary curriculum?, and how do students most effectively learn in a blended and interdisciplinary learning environment?. The adoption and implementation of STEM programs also bring new responsibilities for STEM education research community. We should develop new research approaches to understand student learning and teacher practice in these new contexts. We should also establish new interdisciplinary communities to discuss issues and opportunities associated with adoption and implementation of STEM education programs. We must also establish publication venues for these discussions. As a response to this emerging need, we established The Journal of Research in STEM Education (J-STEM).
J-STEM is an international peer-reviewed open access journal. It publishes and communicates original research findings to inform researchers, practitioners, and policy makers in an effort to improve the quality and accessibility of STEM education. J-STEM assigns highest priority to reviewing original manuscripts that use rigorous quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods studies on topics related to STEM education in educational settings. Such contexts may include K-12, higher education, and informal education contexts such as museums. We also welcome analytical papers that evaluate important research issues related to any field of STEM education.
Next special issue will be on “Public Engagement with STEM”
Research at the Interface
Science education and science communication are often thought to be two sides of the same coin, if not on two entirely different planets. Yet is this chasm for real or has it been constructed artificially? Often the two fields of research overlap. As soon as we add the “I” to “SE” and look at “informal” means and settings of education, we already stand with one foot in what I dare to call the ‘foreign territory’ of those investigating the public engagement of science with children in school or kindergarten.
Doesn’t innovation, just as in most other fields of research, happen at the fringes of our disciplines where schools of thought connect? More than just an opportunity of diversifying our methodological toolbox, this encounter of different research traditions could also encourage us to leave our comfort zones and embrace new approaches and perspectives. Where ISE could help communication scholars to better understand the true didactic dimension of an outreach activity, Public Engagement could encourage education researchers to look at the social robustness of what appears to be purely evidence-based knowledge for designing an exhibition. An example for the challenges at this interface is the ongoing debate about redefining the raison d’être of science museums as spaces for brokering social community issues in the context of a more deliberative democracy. Since neither education nor communication can be expected to end on the doorstep of a classroom or museum, it should be promising to knock at this door from both sides at the same time.
J-STEM is therefore proud to invite contributions for a special issue on “Public Engagement with STEM”. As a sponsor of the recent World Conference on the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), we particularly encourage papers about research at the above-mentioned interface between science education and science communication. J-STEM assigns highest priority to reviewing original manuscripts that use rigorous quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods studies on topics related to STEM communication in educational settings. We welcome proposals from graduate students, junior faculty, senior scholars and practitioners around the world.
Papers are selected in a two-step process: abstracts with up to 250 words shall be sent to J-STEM Associate Editor Prof. Alexander Gerber (Chair of Science Communication, Germany, ag[at]hsrw.eu) by 15th Oct 2016. The editorial board will then select topics and invite full papers to be submitted by 28 Feb 2017.