STEM GATEKEEPERS IDENTIFIED: LET’S GET THE PARENTS ON BOARD!
1 Danube University Krems (AUSTRIA)
2 Moves (AUSTRIA)
3 Ovos Media (AUSTRIA)
4 Offene Computer Gesellschaft (AUSTRIA)
5 Otelo eGen (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:On the subject of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or extended STE(A)M (adding Arts to the concept), there are more and more approaches at schools to facilitate the interest of children and young students in this topic. For educators, there are already plenty of tools and education programs in place to embed this topic in the classroom and to support students in vocational trainings. However, despite all efforts and existing personal interests, it appears as if the talent of kids and teenagers is not being fostered enough and therefore a possibly single-minded and gender role specific education path is chosen. The ‘E-MINT’ project (MINT is the german abbreviation for STEM), funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG, has identified an essential factor: Talent is not unfolded because the parents act as gatekeepers. This happens in different ways. Parents quickly turn off the child's efforts, because of their subjective views of suitable professions. Parents (or even the children themselves) follow antiquated role concepts. This concerns girls in particular in terms of the choice for professions that are more likely to be assigned to women. Last but not least, there is a lack of essential information for parents about the opportunities to enable their children to have a successful career in STEM. Questions such as "Which types of schools are available? Which universities can be attended?" Which specific support options can be pursued?" arise in this context. In order to provide answers to these questions the E-MINT project relies on a central framework, the so-called 'science capital' which is defined as the sum of all science-related knowledge, attitudes and experience of a person. By means of a dual concept in the form of a mobile app connected to maker spaces on site, the target group consisting of parents and their so far ignored key role as door opener to STEM professions will be approached. The results of intensive desk research, expert discussions and focus group interviews with the target group parents are presented in this paper.
Keywords: STEM Education, Vocational Education, Science Capital, Nudging, Gender Stereotypes.