Learning scientist and head geek. Formally Labster CTO
July 9, 2015
Two big ways STEM students can take their education into their own hands
For STEM students who are frustrated with the old school textbook and test curricula at their schools, there are increasingly more new and engaging tools thanks to the advances in technology.
In addition, there are good habits you can develop as a student to ensure that you are continuously in a curious, learning mindset regardless of what is being taught the classroom. This post will show you the best ways that you can take responsibility for your own education and become an autodidact in the process.
Make reading a part of your lifestyle
High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey was recently ranked the #1 STEM high school in the nation by U.S. News last year. Teachers at the school say reading "is the single most important factor leading to academic achievement." Even though not all their students enter as big readers, it is highly emphasized and all of their students develop a healthy reading habit. If you want to be a DIY STEM student, you can learn so much simply by reading voraciously and falling down rabbit holes that interest you.
Teach yourself to code
In 2015 there is almost no reason not to teach yourself to code. There are countless ways to learn how to program and if you're a STEM student, being able to code will give you a leg up in the job market. Harvard has put much of their computer science curriculum on the web for free. In addition, there are sites like Code Academy where you can learn to code for free in a fun and engaging way. Lifehacker also has a great post that lists the top 10 ways to teach yourself how to code as well. Whether you are studying life sciences or math, being able to code is a tremendously valuable skill to combine with your major.
The winner of the 2013 TED Prize, Dr. Sugata Mitra has said about DIY learning, "Children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest." At Labster we strive to give students and teachers alike immersive and engaging virtual labs to learn the STEM subjects they're passionate about in the most effective and engaging way. STEM students are a special breed, and we believe this generation of students will be able to solve some of our biggest global challenges if given the right tools. By making reading a part of your lifestyle and teaching your self to code, you will fly by your peers and reach your full potential as a STEM student.