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STEM + A = STEAM : Does adding art & design really improve STEM?

whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 398 Member
A recent trend: incorporation of art & design into STEM curricula. The idea is that exposure to the arts inspires creativity and innovation.

http://educationcloset.com/steam/what-is-steam/

http://stemtosteam.org

I've searched but haven't found any STEAM classes expressly created to teach STEM students how to be more innovative and creative. So, I have no idea how STEAM is actually put into practice.

Also, the implication is that people working in STEM fields aren't inherently innovative or creative, and that they need this additional education to become so. My experience with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers is replete with examples of creativity and innovation. So, I find STEAM a bit offensive, and I'm skeptical of the intent:

Is this just a movement to provide employment for artists and designers? Or for art education advocates to jump on the STEM bandwagon?

Replies to: STEM + A = STEAM : Does adding art & design really improve STEM?

  • sfSTEMsfSTEM Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I'm skeptical of STEAM as well. At some point, it's just all forms of study without distinguishing characteristics.
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 398 Member
    What is also not discussed by STEAM advocates: What STEM classes will be sacrificed to make room for this new art & design education? There is a fixed amount of time in any curriculum. Something has to give.
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 398 Member
    I'm really surprised that this thread isn't getting any traction. I thought that there'd be support for STEAM from those in the arts, and I looked forward to having that debate. I love the arts myself (I'm going to an art exhibit tonight) but I really don't see how the "A" improves STEM or how STEAM can be implemented without impacting the core STEM requirements.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 865 Member
    When my district was throwing this term around, I just took it as pandering. It has been around a while here but I cant' say I took any notice. Acronyms are just irritating really.
  • equationloverequationlover Registered User Posts: 277 Junior Member
    edited July 16
    STEM is the only legitimate thing. Here's why: In engineering, for example, you can still be creative. You have to DESIGN prototypes. Same thing with computer science (technology): you can write code to DRAW or MAKE a website.

    I think STEAM is a useless term, because STEM is definitely creative and uses some forms of art depending on what you're doing and want to do. I feel like STEAM draws the illusion that STEM is cold, hard data. Which most certainly isn't true.

    But like I said earlier, it depends on what you want to do. If you want to do stats all day, then that's fine. But there are definitely areas of STEM that are artistic, and almost every single STEM area requires some sort of abstract thinking.
  • Studious99Studious99 Registered User Posts: 612 Member
    I believe that the A is being tacked on as a way for the arts to piggyback off of special funding and bonds that are earmarked for STEM learning. STEM is fairly easy to get funding for at the district and state level, since it is seen as practical and vocational. It is definitely creating some educational imbalance in schools, so it makes sense that educators want to find a way to sneak some arts funding in there.
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 398 Member
    edited July 16
    "Acronyms are just irritating really."

    It's funny that art & design, in conjunction, is always meant when referencing STEAM, but the D is dropped, apparently because STEADM doesn't trip off the tongue.

    I also heard a HS principal say once that she wanted to get the humanities into the mix, as well as art & design. She liked the sound of the acronym SHTEAM. She was joking. Everyone laughed. But I'm sure that there was an element of truth to incorporating H as well as A.
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