Innovation has upended the way we work and live. What even a few decades ago would have seemed like sci-fi lore – computers in our pockets, smart assistants, an Internet of Things, or computer-based art – is today a facet of everyday life.
What hasn’t changed so drastically, though, is our education system, which has remained largely the same for the past century. In most schools, the lecture system is still the primary facet of learning. Students sit still, absorbing information from an authority figure, and then regurgitate it for exams. Unfortunately, even the experts will admit students retain only about 20% of what they hear, according to Professors House.
If we want to prepare students for future jobs, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning is essential to combine siloed subjects into an integrated system that much more closely mirrors our world today. Our future – and theirs – depends on it.
Replacing rote memorization and classroom lectures with hands-on learning, STEAM curriculums challenge students to collaborate and think critically to solve problems, adapt new perspectives, and innovate. It’s also fun.
A growing need for interdisciplinary skills
By 2030, demand for higher-level cognitive skills like critical thinking, decision making, and creativity will grow by 19%, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
We’re already seeing this in action.
Today’s healthcare professionals, who specialized in biological sciences, now must navigate a strained health care system and leverage technology to help combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. The solution to this problem isn’t in a textbook – because we’ve never seen it before.
In the art world, computer programming, coding, 3D scanning and printing, and engineering are transforming the industry.
Tomorrow’s careers won’t be isolated in a single field or subject – they will require interdisciplinary knowledge and integration. Students who can integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and math with a robust STEAM-based education will cultivate this vital – and marketable – skill set.
A STEAM-based education is for everyone
For all our dividing people into “left or right brain,” we’ve perhaps drawn an unnecessary distinction between the technical and the creative. In fact, creative people can harness technology to accomplish their visions and technical people can be creative and innovative in developing new products or approaches.
And that’s the beauty of a STEAM-based education: it’s for all ages, and all personalities.
Replacing rote memorization and classroom lectures with hands-on learning, STEAM curriculums challenge students to collaborate and thinking critically to solve problems, adapt new perspectives, and innovate. It’s also fun.
Breaking down stereotypes with STEAM
Tomorrow’s workforce is only going to be more diverse. Across gender, ethnicity, culture, sexual preference and identification, and religion, Deloitte predicts professionals will be increasingly diverse.
Implementing the STEAM-based curriculum in early education allows children of all genders, races, cultures, and religions to experiment, understand the real-world applications, and build confidence long before they realize they’re the only “one” in their field of study. By breaking down stereotypes early on, a STEAM-based education helps boys and girls perceive themselves as a good fit for a STEAM field.
Psychologist Carol Dweck found that women are more likely to switch from majors in STEAM or STEM fields, or lose interest in courses – generally because of socialization that they can’t do it, don’t have the necessary skills, or don’t fit in.
With a supportive learning environment, STEAM education can ignite a passion that helps debunk stereotypes about who is “supposed” to enter a STEAM field.
Building up STEAM, breaking down barriers
At Education Unbound, our mission is to build up STEAM in education, cutting down on talent shortages in technology and curbing the impact of automation. We believe STEAM is for everyone, and are passionate about breaking down barriers to bring STEAM to anyone and everyone, including our most vulnerable. Learn how you can join our efforts by visiting http://www.educationunbound.org/programs.