Light touches all the principles of S.T.E.A.M.


An article by HuffPost, Vidaco (March 2017)

If you are familiar with the technology or educational sectors, you have undoubtedly heard that S.T.E.M., which is educational focus in science, tech, engineering and math, is being changed to S.T.E.A.M., to include the arts. This is an initiative that is being accepted on an increasing scale by institutions, corporations, and education and tech professionals.

S.T.E.A.M. learning is such a hot topic right now, and S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. related careers are in such high demand that the Federal Government has just extended a provision allowing foreign students that are earning degrees in S.T.E.M. fields a seven month visa extension, now allowing them to stay for up to three years of “on the job training.”

But why is S.T.E.A.M. so important to teach kids in school today?

The US Department of Education reports that the number of S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. jobs in the United States will grow by 14% from 2010 to 2020, growth that the BLS terns as “much faster “ than the national average of 5-8 % across all job sectors.

Computer programming and IT jobs top the list of the the hardest to fill jobs, according to a recent study done by McKinsey. Despite this, the most popular college majors are not S.T.E.A.M. related.
“The number of graduates in the S.T.E.M. fields is growing. Only .8% annually” according to the same Mckinsey study. So how can we get more kids involved in S.T.E.M., and create a strong and able workforce?

By teaching S.T.E.A.M., of course. 

The inclusion of the arts component into S.T.E.M. makes it more fun to learn, and more approachable to kids. A child who has never seen code or computer science learning will be less intimidated and more engaged if it includes something they are familiar with, like an art component, whether that is learning it on an interface that uses a creative component to teach it, or whether they are learning computer science by actually creating something, like wearable technology that lights up.

Children need to be engaged in learning, and learn in ways that can hold their attention, the way social media, and internet sites like Youtube do. The easiest way to do this is to make it engaging and interesting. The inclusion of arts does this, for a wider range of children. Something like video art tied into code makes learning look more fun, where the student is solving a problem to create a project they love. 

Art education within S.T.E.A.M. allows students to learn things in a more open ended way and make them applicable to real life. Arts and creativity are crucial to the sciences, technology and computer science. They are the tool that allows technology to be usable in real life! Arts are used in website and user interfaces design, advertising, product design and usability, branding and start-up creation among countless other uses, all things that are crucial to S.T.E.M. learning and careers.

So S.T.E.A.M. education is crucial to educate and prepare the next generation of the American, and global workforce, and to allow this generation to create jobs and grow the economy.

What better way to shine a light on the joy of learning?