- relevant to the STEM fields
(or at least to what STEM means to me). This includes being usable to develop abilities in a diversity of STEM and STEM-related areas and skills, especially in several at the same time
long story on why STEMginery needs to be cheap, short: failure is an essential part of the learning process. If something is so expensive that breaking it gets the kid in trouble, then it will not get really used. The ability of failing gracefully is part of a good learning tool.
Being affordable includes the right to copy it under a reasonable set of terms
- simple, easy to use
naked you were born, and there is that first approach to the tool – it has to be something that makes sense from day one
- capable of complexity
as you grow in your skills the tool has even more to give
- real life-relevant
the knowledge and skills acquired have a minimum number of steps from the “toy/learning tool” to something that makes sense in actual, practical, grown-up contexts.
culture and education are all about “standing on the shoulders of giants”. Learning from books has its place. It’s called a foundation – good metaphor, do not forget it.