A Closer Look At STEAM Education

Over the last decade, educators and industry leaders have pushed hard for schools to adopt classes focused primarily on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

 

The federal government has also joined the call to action for more STEM classes by creating initiatives like NASA’s Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II).

The goal of increased STEM educational opportunities is partially due to competition as the United States and other countries race to outperform one another in the digital era.

Although STEM subjects provide students with an academic background ready to meet the challenges of the Internet Age, some educators believe that the arts should be added to round out a more complete education.

So-called STEAM teaching involves not only the science, technology, engineering and math of STEM, but it also incorporates an arts education through humanities classes and other social studies curricula.

The goal of STEAM is to both introduce concepts in hard sciences and provide students with the ability to apply these concepts outside of a classroom environment.

STEAM Vs. STEM: What’s The Difference?

The obvious difference between STEM and STEAM is the addition of the arts in STEAM education, but there is also a difference in the ways in which students go about approaching problem-solving. In STEM, problems are solved using logic and pure reasoning.

In STEAM fields, adherents of the arts utilize social approaches to problem-solving, including communication, collaboration and creative thinking.

This extends a STEM education to allow students more leverage in skills application across the various facets of their personal lives and future professions.

How STEAM Teaching Benefits Educators

Educators who teach STEAM classes instead of merely teaching STEM classes receive the benefit of being able to promote new ideas and ways of thinking using core concepts and advanced technologies.

Modern educators who teach STEAM subjects are able to partner with organizations like STEAM Nation, Two Bit Circus Foundation and Experimento to receive resources that can assist in educating children as young as four or five years old in the concepts and technologies they will use in the classroom, in the workplace and in life.

How STEAM Fields Benefit The Labor Market

The labor market also benefits from students learning through STEAM classes as opposed to simply STEM classes.

Because a STEAM education can provide students with a wider array of opportunities in the job market, it’s expected that graduates of STEAM programs will be not only better prepared but also more plentiful in an evolving workforce.

Holding a STEAM degree may also avoid degree inflation, a problem that is currently plaguing many young graduates entering the labor market.

In addition, technology is undoubtedly important right now, and there’s no question that it will continue to be the cornerstone in driving the world economy forward.

STEAM students may have the benefit of not only having the knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math, but they will also have the innovative thought processes required to apply the concepts they’ve learned outside of the traditional roles STEM subjects support.

This benefit has the potential to strengthen candidates of the future and open up new job opportunities for workers and job creators.

How A STEAM Curriculum Benefits Students

STEAM classes are thought to benefit students in a number of ways that STEM classes alone can’t match.

Proponents of both STEM and STEAM recognize the need for technology learning along with hard science skills in subjects like math and engineering, but STEAM students also receive the benefit of learning to utilize STEM knowledge in a wider range of situations.

In a STEAM education, this happens through hands-on learning that also promotes collaboration and innovation.

STEAM studies promote the use of STEM knowledge in new and innovative ways. Whereas the study of computer science may benefit students who go on to work with computers, STEAM studies can help students apply computer science knowledge to a range of other facets of life.

For example, a student may take their knowledge of computer science and apply it to social work by partnering with state governments to create a victims’ services resource website.

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