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STEM and Education for Sustainability


Finding Common Ground for a Thriveable Future

Start Date

21st Nov 2017 2:00pm

End Date

21st Nov 2017 3:30pm


Education Video Conference Rooms: Launceston: NH.A221c.Video, Hobart: SB.Hytten325.Video, Cradle Coast: CC.A119Video

Presentation by Dr Caroline Smith and Professor Emerita Jane Watson

Set within the complex discourse about the nation's future needs, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is now making substantial inroads into education. Drawing from statements by the Chief Scientist and others, we argue that STEM, and hence STEM Education, represent a neoliberal perspective situated in an economic growth ideology. At the same time, humanity is entering the Anthropocene era and making changes to the way we live and educate are critically important. We also briefly examine the myth that STEM will provide the jobs of the future.

We then present a critique of STEM from an Education for Sustainability (EfS) perspective, which argues that STEM as it is described, is in conflict with education for a sustainable, flourishing future. We outline the principles of EfS and follow with a consideration of how EfS and STEM education might be brought together in authentic and meaningful ways that take sustainable futures into account. Lastly, we provide examples of learning activities that can integrate STEM and EfS.