Academics, like every field, continues to explore new ways of equipping students with the tools and strategies needed to sharpen their learning skills. With the goal of preparing students to meet the challenges of the 21st century, there has been a strong emphasis on new-age education processes such as STEAM. It consists of a modern educational discipline built around Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
STEAM and STEM (the predecessor) are widely regarded as vital components of the future of education. They are designed to equip the youth with the skills and knowledge to solve the problems that the increasingly complex world has to confront constantly. It helps streamline information and use the same to make the right decisions.
STEAM is a modern educational discipline aimed at igniting children’s interest in the arts and sciences from an early age.
Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math do not stick to a single track for inquiry and investigation but involve creative processes. STEAM involves imparting relevant skills to prepare students and help them pursue innovation in a constantly-changing world.
STEAM also empowers teachers to use project-based learning that crosses each of the five disciplines. It promotes an inclusive learning environment where students can engage and contribute.
The STEAM framework combines diverse disciplines, dissipating the boundaries between scientific thinking and modeling techniques. This holistic approach to learning allows students to utilize both sides of the brain at the same time.
STEAM considers the dynamic synergy between the visual arts and the natural sciences. Science and art run in parallel spaces. STEAM pulls them together to meet the educational needs of the future.
Reasons For STEAM’s Growing Popularity
STEAM is gaining in popularity among parents, educators, administrators, and of course, students. That’s because STEAM is showing exemplary promise and potential.
In the modern world, students prepare for their future success by developing their critical thinking skills. Traditional education system offers students limited growth capabilities. The system must transform to respond to the new world situation and needs.
The STEAM framework inculcates the ability to think critically, solve problems, and use creativity to deal with various challenges. It also prepares students to gain expertise in areas with tremendous growth potential.
The best part is that even students who don’t choose one of the STEAM fields for their career can take advantage of STEAM. The skills gained will easily prepare them for almost any career they want to pursue. Students do not just learn the subject matter. STEAM teaches experimentation, innovation, creation, and curiosity.
How STEAM Prepares Students for the Future
There is little doubt that the jobs of the future will be markedly different from the jobs of today. Future jobs are more likely to be driven by technology. However, we have seen that technology cannot fully replicate human traits.
The skill set students gain through STEAM, such as creativity, imagination, and the ability to discover unique creations will be vital elements for the jobs of tomorrow. STEAM helps integrate creativity into scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical work, thus preparing them for real-world needs.
It helps create a world of opportunities that students can consider for their future careers. Likewise, STEAM finds itself the perfect fit for students not as passionate about core curriculum-based subjects. So, the introduction of the creative arts dimension is clearly a game-changer.
Students are free to choose their desired career path. Regardless of their choice, STEAM prepares them in the crucial area of innovation.
- It teaches them how to solve a problem through awareness and empathy for the community around them.
- They can define ideas by collecting data specific to the problem
- They can create a range of ideas and zero in on the one that is not only unique but most likely to work
- They can investigate different aspects of the problem, create prototypes and investigate the versions to find the best one to fix the problem
- They can run multiple tests, make alterations, refine the solutions, and create a polished end product
STEM vs. STEAM
A believed improvement upon STEM, the US NSF (National Science Foundation) scientific administrators reportedly founded STEAM in 2001. Georgette Yakman, a tech teacher, is credited with adding ARTS to STEM to upgrade it to STEAM in 2006.
However, the change is not cosmetic or about adding another discipline to STEM. STEAM is about bringing together fine arts and design thinking.
The “A” in STEAM is Important in Education
Creating STEAM by adding Arts establishes a symbiosis between the arts and sciences. It also helps foster innovation in its truest sense by combining the mind of a technologist with that of an artist. Moreover, STEAM emphasizes that design thinking and creativity are vital ingredients for innovation.
Teachers looking to specialize in STEAM can explore several educational opportunities, including certifications and advanced degree programs.
The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM offers helpful resources for students planning to pursue STEAM education.