STEAM and the inclusion of art into STEM

Art has always been an intriguing, interesting and a full-of-passion field. Throughout the years we have seen different applications of art in technology, and without even noticing we’ve enjoyed this integration a lot. That’s exactly why we think it is worth having this discussion.

When we discuss the inherent interdisciplinary aspect of STEM, do we question ourselves what about those students who want to be art curators? Those who want wake up every day to design a new fantastic element we are all going to use in our daily life? Do we actually ask ourselves how STEM can be useful for the future actors, flamenco dancers, painters or singers?

We would like to open an interesting subject of discussion: Does art have a place in STEM education? What are the main differences between STEM and STEAM?

What’s more relevant in Apple computers, for example? Their undeniable design or their strong capacity hardware-wise?

We just want to open the discussion and not to offer an answer. We are here to actually talk a little bit about the huge importance of art and the outstanding integration it has with the worlds of science and technology.

So, STEM or STEAM? Maybe both? You decide!

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Problem-solving ability for every aspect of life

STEM classes are designed to give kids the capacity for solving real life problems and to put into practice the skills the 21st century is going to require from them in the very near future.

When we talk about solving problems, we are not only talking about engineering, robotics, and mechatronics. Real life problems can also happen in the worlds of design, art, communications and performance.

The integrated abilities that are learned in STEM (or STEAM) classes could also help our art-oriented students gain abilities that will enable them to shine in their own fields.

As it will be useful for a potential artist or designer to understand how to think algorithmically; it will also be extremely helpful for a young programmer to comprehend why design is that relevant.

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How can we mix art and engineering?

It was Steve Jobs the one who brought into our modern society a clear example of a neat integration between art, creativity, design and technology.

More than that, he was one of the pioneers when it came to giving designers the place they deserve in processes that used to have only engineers involved.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Steve Jobs

There are tons of examples when it comes to engineering and arts being together: The Barbie STEM kit we talked about, thedesign of computers, UX and UI fields, the processes of designing cars, and even the right way to build a museum can become areas that are, somehow, related to STEM.

For all of them, you need teamwork abilities, a problem-solving capacity, and outstanding critical thinking: three of the most important items in STEM education.

Some examples of STEAM related professions

So, which kind of professions, activities, and roles can suit someone who loves STEAM classes and education? Well, architects could be a good example: They constantly use tons of different elements in order to achieve their goal of designing a new building.

They have to keep in mind a ton of items that will allow them to create something useful, pretty and new. At the same time, they need to be sure it won’t fall on peoples heads (literally).

The integration of arts in a STEM program can offer a whole new world of possibilities and it can open a door for those who don’t feel anything related to physics, math, science or engineering.

STEAM classes could actually be the motivation for an art and communications lover student to want to learn his or hers math better, in order to achieve a goal that, primarily, was purely artistic.

At the end of the day, STEAM comes to offer a bridge that unites both sides of the brain, and in parallel, both sides of the classroom. Teamwork abilities are highly important, right?

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What’s the future of STEAM education?

It’s true, in the CoderZ team we work hard to prepare students for an unknown future. We prepare them for a future we don’t know much about.

An online learning environment like ours appears to give students capacities that will go way beyond programming a virtual robot.

We aim to be an online tool that through robotics will teach kids all of these capacities and abilities that will be useful for them, no matter what they decide to be when they grow up.