Parents, educators, administrators: we’re all on the same side of “wanting kids to learn STEM.” The reason? Science, technology, engineering, and math represent the fastest-growing careers. In fact, experts estimate that 3.5 million STEM careers will exist, and need to be filled by the year 2025. The U.S. government is among many global entities that are heavily investing in STEM education. The STEM initiative of the U.S. government operates with this stated purpose: “If we want a nation where our future leaders, neighbors, and workers can understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and to meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students’ skills, content knowledge, and literacy in STEM fields is essential.”
Equipping kids for STEM careers is not primarily a western ideal, either. Launched in 2015, all education ministers in Australia agreed to a National STEM School Strategy which would span 2016 to 2026. In 2017, the Ministry of Education in China officially added STEM to primary school curriculum, which was an important official government recognition of STEM education. The point is pretty clear: there is worldwide consensus that STEM skills matter, and kids should start learning them as early as possible.
But as these programs have had a few years to mature, another truth is emerging: STEM curriculum, even as a primary point of focus, doesn’t develop a comprehensive skill set for career readiness. The context in which learning occurs is what reinforces retention, and kids who are truly equipped for STEM jobs need some additional support.
Drone Legends STEM curriculum is built in a unique way that faces this challenge head-on. We’ve dedicated a lot of time to developing a STEM program that doesn’t just expose kids to the facts or principles, but unlocks something far greater. For us, here’s what that means.
“All Hands,” Not Just Hands-On
Pretty much every STEM curriculum in the world is going to claim a “hands-on” learning approach, especially at the elementary school level. This often looks like robotics competitions, coding camps, and engineering projects. All of that is pedagogically sound and meaningful, but we think one point requires emphasis: working together.
In the real world, very few jobs are done in isolation. Coordination, cooperation, and collaboration are essential life skills that make someone successful at a company. Working together as a team on shared projects, toward shared goals, is the way children learn how to master these skills.
This is the reasoning behind Drone Legends missions. Each drone mission gives kids the opportunity to lead, delegate, compromise, communicate, and hone those “working together” skills that are going to prove all-important to employability and long-term career success.
We recognize that many of the aforementioned competitions, camps, and projects are team-oriented, but they tend to put kids in cohorts with other kids who share a level of elite knowledge or very niche interest. In other words, kids who go to robotics camps are typically at a certain level of understanding, and can communicate fairly easily with people who are very much like themselves.
Our approach is highly inclusive (that’s a huge focus for us). With Drone Legends, any kid can be legendary: not just the ones who already have a knack for tech or tinkering. This ensures that students will grow into adults who are competent at working with all of their coworkers, not just those in their departments.
If knowledge acquisition was the ultimate goal of education, schools would be practically unnecessary. Couldn’t we just devise a download to train neurons and call it a day? Obviously, that’s not how the human mind works best, and the best approaches to education take into account a child’s holistic development. This includes soft skills. And this isn’t just our opinion: soft skills are continuously held in high regard, being called out as differentiators among the highest performing employees in an organization, all the way up to the executive level.
In 2019, a Gartner study identified the most in-demand skills for leaders in an organization, and they included high-speed innovation, negotiation, and influence, all of which are inherently soft or social-emotional skills. This means that kids learning in a vacuum is not only inadequate, but actually puts them at a deficit for some of the most important components of employability in the world of STEM (or any business context).
Drone Legends was founded on the premise that every kid is a Legend. We focus a lot on empowerment, self-esteem, confidence, and communication. This level of learning is key to making kids feel strong and brave as they face the need to try new things, fail up, and problem-solve effectively.
Real-World Skills for Real Life STEM Careers
Whether you are a parent, educator, or administrator, you’ve seen people in life who are good at their jobs and people who are bad at their jobs. The goal of a solid education isn’t just to make our children knowledgeable, it’s to build them into people who are actively curious, socially connected, and continuously growing. It’s important that, as we strive toward our shared goals of using STEM careers to build a better world, we are truly activating the best in kids, holistically addressing the full scope of skills they will need to succeed.
Interested to learn how Drone Legends fulfills our big mission, and lives out our big ideals? Connect with us today!