Anonymous said: I am dubious of the term STEAM. The biggest uses of the term STEM is not what fields will shape the future, but the way certain degrees are treated by the government, especially regarding potential immigrants with those degrees. Another is the discrimination women face in these fields, and women are not gated out of the art world in the same way we are fields like physics, math, and computer science. Please take these into consideration with your use of the term.
It’s all just rhetoric, my grey-faced friend. Using the term STEM without incorporating the arts or not incorporating the arts is not going to change the way the government treats certain degrees.
The transition from STEM to STEAM broadens the scope and influence of these already future-shaping, problem-solving fields with the understanding that art has been present all along.
Mobile apps are art. Software is art. Redesigning infrastructure, manufacturing, robotics, even bioengineering - art. Virtual reality - art. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is art. Technology is attained through imagination. Engineering is wrought out of artistic fabrication. Mathematics…well, geometric shapes, patterns…ART.
If anything, the real concern should not be what terminology we use, but why we even have to dress up curiosity and innovation - the drivers of science, in the first place. Converting STEM to STEAM is simply asserting something we all already were aware of, but the application for the arts in design, coding, gaming, virtual platforms, etc. invokes a hybridization of technical skills coalescing with art and design, which are propelling us forward, no matter what acronyms we fancy.
I encourage you to explore (RISD) Rhode Island School of Design’s new STEAM Map, which (from the source article) was debuted during an industry briefing held on Capitol Hill in collaboration with Congressional STEAM Caucus Co-chairs Suzanne Bonamici and Aaron Schock. The map is intended to help visualize STEAM activity worldwide, enabling advocates, practitioners and followers of the movement to connect with each other and show decision makers the impact and relevancy of art and design.
The college has been successful in spurring a national dialogue on the need to add art and design into the national STEM agenda. Critical thinking occurs across multiple disciplines, yet today’s educational model doesn’t reflect that.
Innovation and creativity — “essential qualities nurtured by an art and design education and highly valued by employers," according to RISD — is what will bolster the country’s economic growth and foster competitiveness in the future.
The STEAM Map will be able to help chart that growth. Interested individuals and organizations are able to easily add themselves to the map, as well as share why STEAM matters to them. RISD is then able to facilitate connections through its online platform and further accelerate the movement.
RISD’s overarching STEM to STEAM program is comprised of a team of student research assistants who work in the school’s Office of Government Relations ”to apply their firsthand knowledge of art and design education to exploring new avenues for STEM to STEAM.”
Speaking to the benefits of STEAM, Bonamici said in a statement:
To keep up with the evolving economy, we must expand our emphasis beyond math and science. Pairing the analytical nature of STEM with the creative potential of art or music will enable our students to push boundaries and challenge the status quo. A well-rounded education leads to a workforce of adaptive, creative thinkers who will help us compete in a global marketplace.
Schock lauded the arts, as well, stating:
It’s clear that the STEM disciplines will continue to be the engine of America’s innovation economy, but the jobs of the future will require far more than mere proficiency in these areas. STEAM harnesses the synergy between the arts and STEM to raise student achievement and produce graduates with the skills industry identifies as vital in new hires, including collaboration, trial and error, divergent thinking skills, and dynamic problem solving.
As their quotes prove: We need to stop focusing solely on STEM.
I also encourage you to explore the global STEAM educational efforts of FIRST(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, which was founded by Dean Kamen.
If you’re unfamiliar with FIRST Robotics and/or Dean Kamen, and still for some reason are unconvinced of why STEAM is even relevant to the future, this video featuring Dean Kamen which discusses the entire directive of FIRST (and how the intersection of art and science are shaping our world) should clear that up. It’s an injection of inspiration.
So, in short: I respectfully disagree. STEAM FTW.