Through the Education Lens

Time to Change STEM to STEAM

CJ Westerberg, August 18, 2012 10:58 AM

Thumbnail image for STEM.STEAM.Test-du-chromosome-Y.jpg

Image above via Easy -   The "Y" Chromosone Testing for Male Lineage

"Design is at the top of the business food chain. . . 
 My kids didn't grow up in grade school saying
'I want to be a technical sound engineer.'
They grew up saying, 'I want to be a rock star.'
THAT is the capture point, particularly in education,
that these students need to be identified.
Those are the people who are truly changing the dynamic . . .
meaningfully, impatiently, consistently . . .  over time."

--  Stephen Lane, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Ximedica
during STEM to STEAM Briefing (video below)

STEM enables it.  But Art drives it.
5-Minute Must-Watch Video Below

by C.J. Westerberg
We talk incessantly about wanting more students to seek STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers or, at the very least, to simply be more interested and involved in these fields.  At the same time, we talk about the importance of the arts.  Yet, these topics
 - - - STEM and Art - - - - tend to be distinct conversations, rarely crossing borders. 

"We spend far too much time
colliding with people outside of our silos.
-Saul Bellow, during STEM to STEAM Briefing (video below)
For example, here is yet another White House announcement about the challenge of attracting women into STEM careers.:  

The White House Council on Women and Girls found that women who work in STEM fields make about a third more than women in non-STEM jobs. The council wrote that it's "especially disconcerting" that women make up only 25 percent of the STEM workforce, which is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent over the rest of the decade.
Many of these articles lament the lack of interest in STEM and the "shoulds."  We get it already. Or actually, we really don't.  But there are those who do. Those who know we need to humanize STEM to attract more interest.  Those who understand we need to connect STEM to how it can enable societal change and breakthroughs.  Those who want to make STEM for all of us, not for just some. Less foreign, more a part of our everyday lives.  So, who are "those" who do get it?  

  • John Maeda gets it.  He's been one of the most high-profile advocates for changing STEM to STEAM  - - - aka  Art+STEM = Innovation - - - and is one of the participants in the must-watch 5-minute video below. 

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gets it, today announcing a $1.5 million grant received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a new Art, Technology and Science Center, seeking "to integrate arts into university curriculum and research."
  • High Tech High gets it with the way they integrate the arts into the curriculum and approach STEM.  (Check out this video - Larry Rosenstock's mischievous comments about this topic are priceless.)

What do you think?  5 Minute VIDEO BELOW

Speakers on the STEM to STEAM panel: 

  • Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-2)
  • John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Saul Kaplan, Founder and Chief Catalyst, Business Innovation Factory (BIF), Member, Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC)
  • Andrea Castaƒeda, Chief, Department of Accelerating School Performance, Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE)
  • Charlie Cannon, Co-PD, Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR, Associate Professor, Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Stephen Lane, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Ximedica

STEAM represents the economic progress and breakthrough innovation that comes from adding art and design to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and research: STEM + Art = STEAM. The value of art and design to innovation is clear: Artists and designers humanize technology, making it understandable and capable of bringing about societal change. The tools and methods of a studio-based education offer new models for creative problem solving, flexible thinking and risk-taking that are needed in today's complex and dynamic world.    - RISD

Previously published The Daily Riff in April 2012.

Related Posts:
PBS:  Next "Golden Age" of Arts in America
Legendary Quincy Jones Riffs about Technology, Music, Math, Creativity . . .

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