STEM Education is Not Enough – Students Need STEAM
Posted by Tanya Sharma on May 10th, 2021
The term STEM was coined way back in 2001. And that was a time when the internet was still taking shape, smartphones were non-existent and the big tech companies were yet to spread their wings. Some researchers rightly predicted at the start of this millennia that science, technology, engineering and mathematics were going to be the way forward for students to become job-ready in their futures. Two decades have passed since then and times have changed exponentially through these years. Technology advanced at a rapid rate and new jobs got created. In the best school in Noida Extension, you will no longer hear the term STEM in 2021. Currently, STEAM is the way forward.
How STEAM gained momentum over STEM?
20 years is indeed too little time for education to get a complete overhaul. Good schools started replacing STEM with STEAM only a few years after adopting the former. This gain in STEAM’s momentum can be attributed to the pace with technology developed around us which transformed the demands of society. As computer chips got smaller, the brains of the machines got smarter. And with time, computers could take up more work that previously required human expertise.
Today, a solid bunch of recurring work can be done by computers and robots in almost every industry. The trend eradicated the low-skilled recurring jobs, leaving behind work that requires creativity, innovation and unique thinking. Science and technical subjects alone could not teach these. With logic, the corporate world started demanding imagination and thus, arts became a vital component of STEM education. The world now requires more students who can both code and think outside the box. STEAM beat STEM and nosed ahead.
The importance of STEAM
A recent study has revealed that STEAM-related jobs are set to increase by 8% annually till 2029 while STEM-related jobs might see a growth rate of only 3.41%. Add to that the aspect of preparing students for a world that will be flooded with jobs that do not exist today. The trend was visible with subjects like Social Media Marketing, Data Science and Cybersecurity during the first decade of the 21st-century. During the next few, we are bound to see a rise in automated vehicles, machine learning and advanced robotics – all of which are destined to make more recurring human jobs obsolete.
Secondly, today, we live in a startup culture. Innovation is the key ingredient for many of these companies. Strict logic or rationality cannot lead to innovative thinking which only comes out via arts. Whether students of today become entrepreneurs tomorrow or work for one, the skills that need to co-exist beside STEM are creativity, imagination, critical thinking and collaboration. STEAM can teach these effectively by creating a balance among all.
Take a typical art class in the best preschool in Greater Noida West. It will entail freedom where students will have the autonomy to imagine. It will also include group work where students collaborate with each other to complete a given task. This will directly sharpen the social skills of students from a young age. And gradually, these students will understand the value of working together. Later, students of the STEAM curriculum may not become champion artists. But the skills they pick up from arts will help their scientific endeavours by infusing the necessary soft skills into the mix.
So, students need STEAM
To diversify their knowledge base, involve curiosity into education and drive them to excellence. Imagine a student is required to build a product that he/she wants to sell in the market. STEM will naturally form the core of the product. But without arts and design, very few people will be interested in buying the product as we humans are first drawn to aesthetics over utility. With STEAM, students can successfully fulfil their dreams of completing a project or building a product. The entire process will involve imagination, collaboration and creativity at every step along with the core of STEM.
BGS Vijnatham, a top play school in Greater Noida, has adopted STEAM as its primary curriculum many years ago. Along with science and technology, students are motivated in BGSVS to pursue arts so that their creative side develops at par with the rational side. The school recognises the importance of STEAM and most of its projects and assignments revolve around the concept. During every task, students sharpen the necessary soft skills and prepare for the uncertain future. Yes, technology may further develop. Yes, we will make more scientific progress. But one thing that machines cannot mimic yet is imagination and that is where a STEAM curriculum can keep students in front in the digital age of the 21st-century.
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About the AuthorTanya Sharma
Joined: October 19th, 2019
Articles Posted: 56
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