STEM or STEAM?

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Sonic#
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STEM or STEAM?

Postby Sonic# » Tue Feb 28, 14:22 2017

One way to think of STEM is a brand for a broad coalition of fields that build, invent, and otherwise innovate. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. I think there's value in using that brand to highlight how we should be creating more educational opportunities in STEM, asking why more women aren't in STEM, and so on.

Yet I have a reservation. What about the arts and design? They can help us understand the broader history and situation of current proposals and innovations. Arts express. Also, what about the ways that artists or designers build, invent, or otherwise innovate?

Recently, I've seen STEAM circulate as a potential term for this reconfigured version of STEM, adding "Arts + Design." This version of "Arts" feels like it allows exploration but should ultimately result in pertinent artifacts or applications. I see it giving greater room for the kinds of creative projects that build up the active-learning, I-can-make-it ethos STEM already does. Still, I have some reservations, mainly around how we talk about the "Arts and Sciences" (to use a common liberal arts term) in ways that put down both the arts (which, according to stereotype, are insufficiently rigorous or practical) and the sciences (which, according to stereotype, are insufficiently creative) - does STEAM give anything to either of those stereotypes, or does it manage to be pretty even-handed?

What do you think of it?

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Re: STEM or STEAM?

Postby rowan » Tue Feb 28, 15:31 2017

I can't really speak to the class / curriculum side of STEM vs STEAM but we seriously need to stop devaluing arts and humanties &c, especially within sciences. It's pissing me off, frankly, that people don't have a good understanding of how important those aspects are to science.

*side-eyes science march hard*

/rant

In other news, I think it's great some engineering departments are starting to require art classes so students can actually draw stuff. Drawing is so important for visualization.

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Re: STEM or STEAM?

Postby spacefem » Tue Feb 28, 17:01 2017

I like STEM.

Look, lots of things are important. Music, poetry, history... we need to be well-rounded.

50% of fine art degrees are awarded to women. 20% of engineering degrees are awarded to women. There's a recruiting problem that we need to talk about and it's got to focus on what's going on with STEM.

teaching is an arts degree, so teachers are bound to have a unique set of struggles in trying to educate students in STEM fields, that's another reason why I want to talk about science technology engineering math all in one.

I think people were afraid that arts funding would be cut if we over-emphasized STEM, so they wanted to make it STEAM. I'll just make a deal with you that I will keep supporting the arts and art education if you keep asking the big questions around what's making STEM fields unique.
bork can eat steak with a spoon.

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Re: STEM or STEAM?

Postby MFS » Tue Feb 28, 17:21 2017

I'm cool with both... which I suppose means I would like to see more STEAM because of how science/math/etc can apply and/or relate to music, art, etc. They are not silos, they interconnect.

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Re: STEM or STEAM?

Postby DarkOne » Wed Mar 1, 7:55 2017


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Re: STEM or STEAM?

Postby Sonic# » Sat Mar 4, 14:55 2017


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Re: STEM or STEAM?

Postby rowan » Mon Mar 6, 11:12 2017

Hm. I'm not sure STEM vs STEAM does a lot to address the structural inequities of women (and more pointblank under-represented racial groups) within STEM. However I do think that if STEM can start to fucking acknowledge that it is not apolitical, that it's always been political and allow people to be political and activist and more than just focused on STEM ALL TEH TIME 365/27/7 and actually value (and encourage, provide time for, and pay for) that other work, THAT will (start to) address the inequities. I don't think just adding arts to the curriculum is going to help.

ETA: and maybe fire people who use their spare time to harass WoC doing that work.


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