While many teachers and administrators are feeling the pressure to prepare students for emerging careers in science and technology, it’s important to remember that, for many students, the arts are just as important. From creating music to calligraphy, creativity and the arts have a place in almost everyone's daily life.
Although many emerging 21st century careers focus on science, engineering, and technology, including tons of jobs that we couldn’t even predict a decade ago, not every student needs to limit their education exclusively to these subjects. Many students' skill sets and interests point them in the direction of so many possible careers that we can do a disservice by discouraging them to explore their artistic abilities and creative interests. The arts are as important as ever, and we should equip students with a well-rounded education that incorporates STEM and other academic disciplines – like the arts – that inspire creativity and exploration in early education.
Enter STEAM. In most circumstances, comprehensive STEAM education is the best way to help students learn problem-solving, critical thinking, and other 21st century skills they’ll need to succeed in future careers.
What is STEAM?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. It's a common acronym in the education world to refer to the ways in which these important subjects and skills can be used in school, future careers, and educational activities. STEAM takes STEM one step further by emphasizing the arts, taking inspiration from the field and applying its concepts in cross-discipline learning that supports creativity in science, mathematics and more. STEAM focuses on teaching students to form connections between a variety of subjects in order to get the most out of learning about any subject, from robotics and coding to reading and music.
In a world where many arts programs are at risk in favor of STEM education, STEAM seeks to keep these subjects closely intertwined. It’s a win-win-win for teachers, students, and parents. Students get the benefits of arts in early education while still developing those essential skills needed for successful careers in STEM.
What’s the difference between STEM and STEAM?
Both STEM and STEAM center around learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. Where STEAM differs is its approach to this learning. STEAM explores the same concepts as STEM but does this through the creative process used in the arts because the jobs of tomorrow will require imagination and innovation. STEAM learning includes coding, robotics and even using technology as a tool to learn other concepts like reading, art and history. There’s more problem solving and inquiry, less instruction and testing.
Here’s what this looks like in practice. A traditional STEM exercise may prompt students to figure out how many flowers can be planted in a 10 foot by 3 feet plot. A STEAM prompt asks students to create a prototype for a device to help a landscaper lay out a straight line for planting as many flowers as possible in the plot.
While STEM and STEAM talk about the same subjects, it’s the way in which they guide learning in the classroom where the two begin to look different.
Why Is STEAM Important?
STEAM education supports:
- Hands-on learning
- Developing a growth mindset
- Increasing student engagement
- Connecting classroom learning to the real world
These factors are more important than ever. Education is no longer about teaching a particular skill; it’s about helping students to be future-ready. While many traditional school districts emphasize standardized test scores and memorization over providing a well-balanced education, there’s a very strong case to be made for incorporating creativity and curiosity into any curriculum. In our rapidly changing world, the jobs of tomorrow will require all young people to be proficient in STEAM.
Of course, it’s not just about preparation for jobs; the resiliency, creativity and problem-solving skills students unlock through coding prepare them to thrive, no matter what academic subjects or career they pursue. These experiences help children grow up to be capable, independent, and intellectually curious.
Although the modern world is becoming more and more STEM-oriented every year, the reality is that students have diverse interests. Kids aren't only interested in math, and finding ways to nurture their development across a variety of academic areas is an essential aspect of preparing our students to succeed in any field they choose.
Our STEAM learning tools go beyond the basics of coding to create an experience that approaches subjects from a variety of angles to make learning exciting and accessible. Savvy teachers know that providing a well-rounded education means exposing children to as many topics and fields as possible from an early age to help them identify their interests and strengths.
Use Sphero Edu and Sphero Play to Transform At-Home Learning
Although many schools are closing their doors right now, learning doesn't need to stop. Our Sphero educational robots help children learn about STEAM while engaging in hands-on activities. Our Sphero apps are packed with thousands of fun lessons, games, and other STEAM activities to keep kids' creativity flowing through online learning during this time. Parents can even learn a new skill alongside their children in an accessible and non-intimidating way!
Each of our products is a blank slate that allows children to learn about multiple subjects while having fun. Instead of playing endless online games during an extended break, students can explore educational STEAM activities that help them continue learning in a way that’s always engaging and never boring.
We’re in an uncertain time right now. These times require flexibility and adaptability among both students and educators. Helping children stay close to STEAM education is essential. During times like these, arts provide an escape. Many people turn to music, movies, or their favorite TV shows for entertainment and reassurance. Now is the opportunity to turn time with the arts into time spent using the arts to learn.
Millions of kids and 40,000+ educators turn to our robots, STEAM apps, and learning tools to go beyond code. Whether you're a teacher looking for resources to use in online classes over the coming weeks or a parent searching for ways to keep your child learning and busy at home, we have everything you need to inspire passion about science, technology, and the arts. Browse our complete inventory of education robots at our online store!