STEM to STEAM:
You know I love science stuff, all kinds of science. I crave science information and news, read about it all the time, subscribe to journals and magazines, read them aloud to my kids, hang out with scientists, and even sometimes do my own research. 😉 But when I started college, I started out in art. Then I was in music. And then dance. By the time I got around to applying to grad school, I was determined to go into poetry, and made it as far as being offered a fellowship. I’ve noticed over the years than many of the scientists who I find the most fascinating have some sort of artistic hobby, be it glass blowing, jewelry design, carving, woodworking, scrimshaw, playing cello, crafting hand made paper, or who knows. The point is that these really sophisticated professional scientists are also deeply engaged with the arts in their lives. When I switched from studying the arts to studying the sciences, one of my grad school mentors came to me with a question — “Had I noticed much science in poetry?” Well, of course I had! And I collected it, too. More recently, I heard a presentation at Enriching Scholarship about science faculty working hard to design courses that partner science students with business and art students for major projects, raving about the benefits to all of them. Those projects created some pretty impressive work, too.
So. STEM to STEAM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEAM is all of that, but you add in Art. It was easy to justify a need for STEM education to promote economic growth, but the idea that the arts are an important part of the picture has been mistakenly thought of as frivolous by funders. That needs urgently to change, and at last is starting to do so.
In their words:
“In this current moment of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future. Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as Science and Technology did in the last century. We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.”
I’m sold, but in case more would help, here is Representative Bonamici on the topic.
Congresswoman Bonamici Asks about the Importance of STEAM Education:
There’s plenty more where that came from.
STEAM not STEM:
In their words:
“STEM is based on skills generally using the left half of the brain and thus is logic driven. Much research and data shows that activities like Arts, which uses the right side of the brain supports and fosters creativity, which is essential to innovation. Clearly the combination of superior STEM education combined with Arts education (STEAM) should provide us with the education system that offers us the best chance for regaining the innovation leadership essential to the new economy. The competitors for that leadership, such as China and many other countries in Asia and Europe, include vigorous Arts curriculum as a national priority in their public school systems and we must do the same. The mission is to make the country, its leader and the funding agencies aware that Arts are not just a “nice” thing to have in the education systems – but rather they are an essential national priority to the future of the US in this rapidly changing global economy. Without that priority the US will slide farther down the list of economies.”
In the NEWS:
Business Wire: Reps. Bonamici and Schock Announce Bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus: Group Aims to Integrate Arts and Design with STEM Education Efforts:
Edutopia: STEM to STEAM: Art in K-12 is Key to Building a Strong
National Alliance for the Media Arts and Culture:
PBS: STEAM Ahead: Merging Arts and Science Education:
Rhode Island School of Design: RISD STEAM Hits Capitol Hill: http://www.risd.edu/About/STEM_to_STEAM/
SunSentinel: Apple co-founder brings some STEAM to Palm Beach State:
VOXXI: Why STEM Education is in need of some STEAM:
CREDIT: Thanks to Linda Sharer for tipping me off to recent events in this area.