If you’re familiar with STEM education, then you already know a bit about STEAM education. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math and brings together a powerful combination of topics and techniques for educating students.
When it comes to art, it goes beyond aesthetics. The ‘A’ includes the liberal arts as well, meaning language arts, social studies, physical arts, fine arts, and music. STEAM is a different philosophical approach to both teaching and learning as it integrates each discipline across all core subject areas while allowing students to flourish in electives focus in areas such as drama, art, and design, robotics, computer programming, and coding, cybersecurity, engineering,
The objectives of the STEAM movement seek to do the following:
- Transform research policy to place art and design at the center of STEM,
- Encourage integration of art and design in education, and
- Influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation.
STEAM education is often viewed as an essential component in preparing today's students to be college and/or career-ready, which is a key outcome of the Profile of the Virginia Graduate. Why? According to the U.S. Department of Education, “In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it’s more important than ever that our nation’s youth are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know-how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions.” Enhancing such skills lies at the heart of STEM and STEAM education.
The earlier students are exposed to the STEAM disciplines, the better. In a study commissioned by Microsoft in 2011, a study by Microsoft, 4 in 5 STEM college students (78%) said they decided to study STEM in high school or earlier, and one in five (21%) decided in middle school or earlier. The same study indicates about half of parents who participated said STEAM education is important to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in the global marketplace and also to produce the next generation of innovators. Additionally, 31% of parents believed their child initially became interested in STEAM courses by age 8.