from STEM to STEAM – lets not forget the Arts!

My friend from CrashSpace, R. Kevin Nelson, has written a great open letter response to Thomas Kalil’s opening speech of the NSF‘s “Innovation, Education, and the Maker Movement” workshop.

Kevin notes that while the maker movement has much to contribute to the educational push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), we cannot forget the massive contribution to our cultural progress by Art.  Kevin calls for broadening the scope to include arts…

“It is how we come together to pick up STEAM for the renaissance … STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.    Educating and encouraging our children to embrace artistic expression is just as important as teaching them calculus and the periodic table.”

I could not agree more!!  My career as a software developer has been at its most satisfying and fun when I was collaborating with artists … and social/cognitive scientists. Much of the push of our factory educational system over the last hundred years or so has been for industrialized STEM.  We need to incorporate Art and encourage creative thinking in our redesign of education. It was an integral part of renaissance education. Somehow we left it behind in our race to the top.

It is one of my big hopes for Maui Makers that we can draw in artists and develop cooperative activities with various art communities here (Hui No’eau, Lahaina Arts SocietySource Festival, etc.). The collaboration of artist-scientist-engineer is so much more productive and positive for society than any acting alone.

So if you are an artist, Welcome! Please feel free to browse around. Speak up, ask questions, learn and teach.  I and other techies are happy to have you here, and at our space-to-be.

7 replies
    • Jerry
      Jerry says:

      Thanks Luis, that site is “A briefing marking Rhode Island’s commitment to fostering innovation through the addition of Art and Design to STEM education and research” Looks good.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Lessons from these workshops were incorporated into the 2008 rollout of the Makery project at a charter school on the Big Island. Dr Scott and his team setup a 3 year curriculum, tightly coupling theory and practice. (Dr Scott references this pedagogical technique to US Navy Electronics courses created by Van Valkenberg, et al. where hands on lab exercises immediately follow class elements.) The first year taught basics of electronics and magnetism. The second introduced electronics, sensors and microprocessors. The third year introduced CAD/CAM design and fabrication using modern desktop systems. The culmination is the crafting of a Hawaiian Steel Guitar – along with instruction in playing it! Ahh – STEM meets the Arts => STEAM. […]

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