STEM and STEAM Education – White House

Research shows that the arts and support crucial developmental skills in creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The Arts are also a part of that Autodesk Animation Academy curriculum. Immerse students in science, math, language, arts, and technology with Autodesk® 3ds Max® or Autodesk® Maya®...

Arts graduates find jobs, satisfaction

by Dan Berrett, Inside Higher Education

Conventional wisdom has long held that pursuing a career in the arts is a likely ticket to a life of perennial unhappiness, hunger and unemployment. But the opposite appears to be true — graduates of arts programs are likely to find jobs and satisfaction, even if they won’t necessarily get wealthy in the process — according to a new national survey of more than 13,000 alumni of 154 different arts programs.

“Arts graduates are finding ways to put together careers and be employed — and many of them are satisfied with their work,” said Steven J. Tepper, associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, assistant professor in the department of sociology at Vanderbilt University and senior scholar of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).The results of the survey, which are being released today, may offer some measure of succor to parents who are anxious about their children’s artistic aspirations. And, while the survey may help arts programs defend against accusations that they produce an oversupply of soon-to-be-discouraged artists, they also suggest areas — particularly in the area of career preparation — in which these programs can improve.

The results reflect the responses of 13,581 alumni of 154 arts colleges and conservatories; arts schools and departments within broader colleges and universities; and arts high schools. They constitute the largest dataset gathered about the lives and careers of arts graduates, according to George Kuh, professor emeritus at Indiana and SNAAP project director (SNAAP is based at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research at the School of Education). Those surveyed include graduates from fine arts, theater, dance, music, creative writing, media arts, film, design and architecture programs between 2005 and 2009, as well as those who graduated in 2000, 1995 and 1990.

NSTA Reports – Reaching Students Through STEM and the Arts

NSTA Reports—Debra Shapirostudent doing art: NASA Stennis Space Center

Teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are discovering that by adding an “A”—the arts—to STEM, learning will pick up STEAM. “Students remember science learning situations that contain multi-sensory, hands-on activities or experiments,” which the arts can bring to science lessons, says Dawn Renee Wilcox, science coordinator for the Spotsylvania County School District in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “The arts are also useful for helping students make transitions and connections between science content or concepts through thought and expression.”

“Allowing students to use artistic methods to show their understanding of a concept, event, or object will elicit a wider range of student responses and participation,” says Inez Liftig, eighth-grade science teacher at Fairfield Woods Middle School in Fairfield, Connecticut, and field editor for NSTA’s middle level journal, Science Scope. “To understand the nature and role of science, it is important to compare and contrast it to other areas of study to see similarities and overlaps and differences. Looking at the history and development of all subject areas shows how knowledge, STEM, and the arts are all part of society and reflect the society of different periods in history,” she explains.

Liftig believes combining science and the arts “also lets students see how both of these have been and still are quests to examine and explain the world around us…Students see that curiosity, creativity, imagination, and attention to detail are traits common to artists/writers and scientists.”

The STEAM Movement: It’s About More Than Hot Air

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Photo courtesy of BAVC
Arguably one of the biggest movements in education over the last decade is what is more commonly referred to as STEM education. It seems that everywhere you turn these days: granting organization initiatives to political platforms, White House campaigns and for-profit and non-profit programs are all talking about the importance of STEM education. How does this movement relate to the media arts and does it reflect the current needs of students in K-12 education? What happens when you add the letter “A” to STEM? It’s about more than simply creating the word STEAM.

What is STEM education?
STEM education refers to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It is an educational initiative that is supported at both the national and state levels, from governments to foundations and scholars alike.

Why STEM?
Many assessments of K-12 students over the last several years have indicated that the United States is falling significantly behind other countries when it comes to student performance, and interest in, STEM subject areas. The argument for STEM education is that if the United States continues to lag behind other countries in educating its students in what are deemed necessary 21st century workforce skills in science, technology and most importantly innovation, then the consequences for the economic and political power of the United States may be dire.

Who supports STEM?
It would seem that nearly everyone in the United States supports the STEM movement. Most recently, President Obama launched the Educate to Innovate initiative to support STEM education in K-12 schools. This initiative also includes partnerships and collaborations with for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, foundations and schools. STEM education is also endorsed by a growing list of academic and science and research-based organizations throughout the country. One of the most complete lists of organizations who endorse STEM education can be found through the STEM Education Coalition’s website. Perhaps most importantly, STEM is increasingly being touted in political candidates’ education platforms for the upcoming election year.

How is STEM related to the media arts?
Nationally, two organizations specifically, have launched STEM education initiatives that coincide with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign, both of which incorporate the media arts.

The first is Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds initiative, which is “a five-year $100 million dollar philanthropic initiative designed to increase students’ awareness and skills in STEM-related fields specifically through the exploration of different media forms.”  Recently, Time Warner has launched the first of a series of programs they refer to as “Crack the Codes” as a part of their overall Connect a Million Minds initiative. Launched in late March of this year, the first program was entitled “Cracking the Codes in the Digital World” and was designed to show K-12 students the science behind broadcast technology through on-site visits and meetings with Time Warner staff.

Closing the Digital Divide

John M. Eger – Huffington Post

Lionel Van Deerlin Professor of Communications and Public Policy, San Diego State University

Posted: Posted: 06/7/11

As globalization spreads, it is imperative that we not only close the “digital divide” in hardware and infrastructure, but also use technology to dramatically confront the world illiteracy problem in developing nations today.

In many parts of the world, a system of education either does not exist or girls, for example, are not privileged to get an education. Cyber education may be the only alternative to providing the basic skills for economic survival.

UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics provides a rough estimate of the world budget for education in the world, and comes up with the figure of about two trillion dollars. This of course, does not include money spent for tutoring, private schools, museum visits and the like.

But every child needs basic math and science and language skills, at least the three R’s and then some. So like payroll software, which every enterprise needs, why can’t we provide these forms of instruction through Cyber-Schools? Why can’t we develop the best, brightest and most practical methods of learning and make them widely available using the technology we have before us?

The Economist magazine recently teamed with Innocentive, an award granting corporation, as it advertises itself, connecting ” seekers with solvers” to enable other corporations the “shortest, most cost-effective path to finding a solution. “

Defining Technology and Media: An Important Step for Teaching Necessary 21st Century Skills

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Using technology in education is not a new phenomenon. Though this type of integration may be more prevalent now in the 21st century than what it has been in the past, it has existed in education in some form or another for decades. Media integration, on the other hand, is consistently referred to as a relatively new phenomenon in education. Although complete media integration is not yet commonplace in classrooms throughout the country, media’s use in the classroom, much like that of technology, is seemingly old hat (who didn’t enjoy “movie day” in the classroom?) Although “movie day in the classroom” has shifted from slides and projectors to DVDs and YouTube as a result of rapidly-changing technologies in the 21st century, media use in the classroom remains prevalent nonetheless.

So, what is the difference between media and technology? Is there a difference? If so, how does this difference affect classroom integration, pedagogy and, perhaps more importantly, student development of 21st century skills in the classroom and beyond? Can we teach media without technology, or technology without media and what does this mean for the current, and future, states of education integration and reform in the United States?

What’s in a Definition?

One of the most important reasons to define and clarify the relationship and distinction between media and technology is funding. When seeking funding for the many education initiatives centered around STEM, STEAM, STREAM, technology integration in the classroom and everything else in between, the relationship between media and technology must be clearly distinguished in an effort to expand upon the types of programs that may be available for additional types of funding. There are a lot of funding initiatives that have centered on STEM, and more recently STEAM, and although these terms do not explicitly relate to media integration in the classroom, most if not all are likely to relate to some form of technology integration in the classroom and across disciplines.

Another important basis for defining the differences (and similarities) between technology and media lies in conducting research, which ultimately has effects on funding efforts as well. There are a multitude of great reports that examine teacher use and attitudes towards media and technology, such as the annual Digitally Inclined report and, locally here in Pittsburgh, the Arts Education Collaborative’s biennial arts education Professional Development Report. When we ask teachers to articulate their interest in either media or technology, should we also add a follow up question that asks them to not only clarify their understanding of both terms, but also their use of both media and technology, separately and inter-dependently, in the classroom?

Is the Left-Brain Useful to Art?

These days, people associate the right brain with art, probably due to Betty Edward’s bestselling book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” that was published more than two decades ago. Is the left side of brain, or math/logic/analysis, really useless for art? Can...

UCSD pilot program targets schoolchildren STEM to STEAM

The program, which does not yet have a name, aims to provide schoolchildren with special skills and inspire them to potentially seek careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The project is a combined effort of UCSD’s Center for Community Well-Being and the San...

National Science Foundation Slowly Turning STEM to STEAM

John M. EgerHuffington Post

Lionel Van Deerlin Professor of Communications and Public Policy, San Diego State University

Posted: Posted: 05/31/11

The STEM Initiative more and more looks like its morphing into STEAM.

Thanks to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the tireless effort and vision of Harvey Seifter, CEO of Seifter Associates and a principal of Learning Worlds, three conference were scheduled this year — in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Illinois and San Diego, California — to look at what business, education, and communities across the U.S. were doing to merge the “two cultures” of art and science.

In the process, Harvey Seifter with support of the NSF is putting the arts into the STEM formula (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and more precisely, exploring a framework for sparking creativity and innovation in our schools, our workplaces, and in our nation.

Two of the conferences have already been held:

• April 6-7: Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

• May 16-17: Chicago, at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The San Diego Conference scheduled June 14-15 at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego held in collaboration with the San Diego Science Alliance remains.

In a sense, the San Diego event is a culmination of the larger effort to forge an agenda for more in-depth research leading to action that in a matter of years will change education in America.

The data points for moving STEM to STEAM are becoming clearer, and the urgency of revisiting the current pedagogy used in pre-schools, K-12, and our universities, obvious.