The newest kids on the educational technology block are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
According to the National Academies for Science, Technology, and Medicine the number one goal of STEM education is, “Expand the number of students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in those fields.” The latter STEAM on the other hand adds art into the mix. The addition of the letter A for art may seem strange as a compliment to science or engineering until you think beyond the superficial definition and consider the artistic flare behind the topics. The beauty of a bridge, building, or superbly designed piece of equipment is certainly art just as the endless ways in which art and technology can be fused together.
Since 2009 Common Core education has been adopted in many school districts. However, lately Common Core has seen less interest and many states have begun dropping the program in favor of STEM or STEAM based education. Common Core based on expected Math and English academic standards by grade level focuses on measurable achievements of groups rather than the individual emphasis found in STEM/STEAM education which focuses more on creative and analytical thought processes.
STEAM and STEM based teaching enhances analytical thinking and students learn to question, experiment, and evaluate as a way of problem solving that can extend past the classroom environment. It creates a cohesive learning atmosphere where mutual respect between teacher and learner is nourished and encouraged. According to Schooled by Science parents and children alike are excited about learning through the STEAM philosophy and it has been shown to reignite student’s natural curiosity and willingness to learn.
It's a wonderful moment in education when it has reached a point of realizing the goal of teaching the individual rather than addressing a group in a mundane rote environment. When a student can question without apprehension, explore without expectations, and achieve without anxiety. I am very excited to be a part of this new trend and can’t wait to share my own learning experiences with you as I delve into a new and uncharted classroom frontier. I hope you will tag along… I think its going to be great.