The STEAM Movement and the Future
STEAM is a movement that integrates an A for the arts into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. STEAM education was created in 2006 by former teacher Georgette Yakman.
The Creative Component
Advocates of STEAM contend that there should not be a dichotomy between science and art. Instead, art should be seen as a driver of creativity that can foster innovation and spark engagement and learning in science education.
“Engineers, inventors, and designers produce drawings as part of their creative process. They draw to work out and refine concepts and details. They draw to persuade. They draw to give direction. And they draw to record their ideas and to learn from others.”–Doodles, Drafts, and Designs, Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian
Pathway to Economic Growth
John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, sees STEAM as a pathway to fostering U.S. economic growth. Maeda, writing in Edutopia, has said that “[d]esign creates the innovative products and solutions that will propel our economy forward, and artists ask the deep questions about humanity that reveal which way forward actually is.” He cites Apple as a well-known example of a company in which design is crucial to the success of technology.
Tried and True
The idea of integrating the arts and sciences in education is nothing new. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was not only a famous Renaissance artist but was also a scientist, engineer, and inventor. In fact, he used his skills as an artist to draw his mechanical ideas.
“If someone had told Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, or Galileo that the study of science in the 21st century would be separated from the creativity of the arts or the social, cultural, and historical insights into human behavior offered by the humanities, they would have wondered what scientists had done to make the world disrespect them so much. It’s an odd idea to separate out different kinds of knowledge that inspire and enrich one another in the real world and the virtual too.” – Duke Professor Cathy Davidson
Future of STEAM
Mathematic and scientific knowledge fuel the mechanics of invention, but what fuels the innovative aspect, the design, and uniqueness? Imagination. And imagination comes with a love for the arts. As long as there is a need for invention and innovation, there will be a need for the arts.
A recent Washington Post article on arts inclusion in the STEM program argues this point well. Even with reports of the U.S. economy in need of more scientists and the like, it’s important to remember that the arts are a fundamental piece of what makes scientific advances as a whole.
Without the arts, the STEM program remains stagnant. Tomorrow’s innovators deserve the chance to innovate.
Links for Teachers and Librarians
Over the past several years, more and more schools have begun integrating the arts into their STEM curricula. Below are six links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your classroom or library:
- 4 TED Talks for Educators Interested in STEAM
- 7 Guidelines for Building a STEAM Program
- All Things STEAM
- Full STEAM Ahead
- Schools Shift from STEM to STEAM
- Where Science Meets Art
Websites for Students
Are your students working on a STEAM project and need a little inspiration? Below are five editorially selected websites from ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher.
- Abbot Handerson Thayer – Artist who is known as “the father of camouflage.”
- Doodles, Drafts, and Designs – Industrial drawings from the Smithsonian.
- Fabian Oefner – Artist whose work bridges the fields of art and science.
- Rebecca Kamen – Artist whose work moves between art and science.
- Theo Jansen – Artist who creates lifelike kinetic sculptures that move like living creatures.
If you’ve implemented a STEAM curriculum in your classroom or library, let us know what you’re doing in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 8:00 am and is filed under Activities and Lessons, General, SIRS Issues Researcher. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.