November 8 is STEM/STEAM Day, highlighting the value of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for K-12 students and beyond. Incorporating these disciplines into curricula in fun and innovative ways helps children gain an interest in STEM and guides them towards satisfying and productive careers that advance technology and innovation.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and its members have long supported STEM instruction in schools and universities through student programs and resources, related standardization, and research into STEM education:
American National Standards (ANS) and international standards offer guidance to make learning environments and materials safe and effective. ASQ/ANSI Z1.11-2011, Quality management system standards - Requirements for education organizations, provides guidelines for an education organization’s quality management system that will establish confidence in its ability to design, develop, and deliver instruction; evaluate students; support research; provide public service and maintain its support services to fulfill education requirements; satisfy customers; and meet expectations of interested parties. This ANS was developed by ANSI member American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Many high schools and colleges have embraced technology by using electronic textbooks in the classroom rather than traditional tomes. ISO/IEC TR 18120:2016, Information technology - Learning, education, and training - Requirements for e-textbooks in education, is an international standard for e-textbooks developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, subcommittee (SC) 36, Information technology for learning, education and training. The U.S. plays a leading role in ISO/IEC JTC 1, with ANSI serving as Secretariat, and Philip Wennblom of Intel serving as JTC 1 chair.
Standards go beyond general education guidelines into specifics for STEM materials, too. For example, lasers are frequently used in teaching laboratories, lecture halls, and K-12 classrooms to demonstrate physics concepts, precision measurement, and other STEM lessons. ANSI Z136.5-2020, Safe Use of Lasers in Educational Institutions, guides the safe use of lasers at primary-, secondary-, and college-level classrooms. This ANS was developed by ANSI member Laser Institute of America (LIA).