From STEM to STEAM – It’s Saul Connected


March 28th, 2011

I’m a sucker for any event promising an interdisciplinary experience and an opportunity to dive into the unknown between silos.  I was fortunate to attend, Make it Better, a recent symposium at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) on art, design, and the future of healthcare. It delivered. I was reminded of the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials. You got your art in my science!  No, You got your science in my art!  Art and science, two great tastes that taste good together. It amazes me in today’s always on and connected world we still have to be nudged, or for many, blasted out of our silos to experience the magic of interdisciplinary thinking and doing. The timing couldn’t have been better for a participative conversation about combining art, design, and healthcare.  There is growing recognition that our US health care system is unsustainable. The imperative is to transform from our current “sick care” system to a “well care” system. We need to go from an institution-centered approach to a human-centered approach. We need to go from tweaks to transformation. Art and design can be key enablers for transforming health care.John Maeda, RISD’s President, always makes me think about the importance of art and design in our lives and to the innovation process.

In his BIF-6 Collaborative Innovation Summit story‘ last September John asserted that unleashing the innovation potential of the 21st century will require adding an “A” for art to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) turning it into STEAM.  Maeda suggests we need IDEA (intuition, design, emotion, and art) based thinking to make progress on the big system challenges we face including, education, health care, energy, and entrepreneurship.  I agree with Maeda and have been thinking about the IDEA of going from STEM to STEAM since his talk.  It wasn’t until I hung out at the Make It Better symposium that the real importance of moving to STEAM hit me.

It isn’t just about making sure art and design are included as part of the equation.  

Sesame Innovations: Four Decades of Helping Kids Know and Grow Around the Globe

Google Tech Talks

Sesame Innovations: Four Decades of Helping Kids Know and Grow Around the Globe
Presented by Gary Knell

Sesame Street was founded in 1969 on the simple and then novel premise that if children could remember the “jingle plop, plop, fizz, fizz,” then they could learn letters, numbers and vital social skills from television viewing, when presented in an engaging way. Forty years after the Muppets were tapped to build young children’s school readiness skills in the US, Sesame Street programs are now in over 140 countries, spanning six continents, reaching nearly 100 million children and families. As media’s ubiquity in children’s lives has taken hold during the digital revolution, the Workshop has pioneered innovative educational campaigns and research-based content on new platforms using breakthrough technologies like mobile phones, virtual worlds and video games. In addition, the Workshop has launched a new multimedia production of the iconic children’s literacy program The Electric Company. Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, will the share insights on how Sesame Street is educating children around the globe and provide an inside look at the Workshops newest campaign to help struggling readers.

Gary Knell is President and Chief Executive Officer of Sesame Workshop. Mr. Knell leads the nonprofit educational organization in its mission to create innovative, engaging content that maximizes the educational power of all media to help children reach their highest potential. He has been instrumental in focusing the organization on Sesame Street’s global mission, including groundbreaking co-productions in South Africa, India, Northern Ireland, and Egypt. He also helped found PBS Kids Sprout, a 24-hour domestic cable channel in the U.S.

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[arne_duncan.jpg]U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan acknowledged Chicago Public School (CPS) students at an exhibit opening of their artwork hosted in the Department’s auditorium with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning. He was joined by CPS Director of Humanities Paul Whitsitt and several other CPS administrators and teachers, as well as 16 Chicago high school students visiting Washington D.C. for the event today.

One-hundred pieces of artwork from CPS students will be displayed at the Department through April 16. They were selected in the CPS All-City Art Exhibition, an annual juried exhibit that honors outstanding achievement in the visual arts by high school students participating in district-wide art classes. The opening event also featured a musical performance by five CPS students who are studying with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which also sponsored the young performers’ trip to Washington.

Secretary Duncan spoke about the importance of the arts as part of a well-rounded curriculum for all students, which is a key component of the President’s blueprint for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “The arts, perhaps more than any other subject, prepare young people with creativity and innovative thinking,” said Duncan.

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