What STEM/STEAM education is: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics
STEM/STEAM education is a teaching philosophy that fosters creativity and innovation in South Carolina’s students. STEM/STEAM schools are centers of creativity experiences. Unlike a traditional curriculum, STEM/STEAM education teaches students to integrate skills from different subject areas to help them develop innovative solutions to real-world problems.
STEM/STEAM education is designed to prepare students for success in college, in career, and as responsible citizens. STEM/STEAM education develops South Carolina’s students’ creative, analytical, teamworks, communication and problem-solving skills –all essential to success in today’s world, no matter what students’ interests or career goals are.
STEM/STEAM education is a direct response to the realization that South Carolina’s future will be built on technological leadership, knowledge creation and innovation. South Carolina, along with the rest of the nation, has fallen behind in the global market as other states and nations have gained competitive advantage by asserting their scientific and technological leadership. STEM/STEAM will elevate South Carolina’s position in the global economy and give our students the skills they need to successfully compete with talent from around the world.
STEM/STEAM education is the key to South Carolina’s economic turnaround. STEM/STEAM education unleashes students’ creativity and gives them the skills needed to conceive and develop the revolutionary products and processes that will shape South Carolina’s economic future. A STEM/STEAM-literature workforce will attract investment and jobs to South Carolina, while good jobs and economic opportunity will attract world-class talent.
“A” The A stands for Art. Fine Arts –Visual and Performing Arts. At Thomas Sumter Academy we put a high premium on the Arts. Even if a child is not skilled in the area, there is much that can be learned and developed in the child.
What STEM/STEAM isn’t:
STEM/STEAM education is not highly specialized education for an elite group of students. When fully realized, STEM/STEAM will serve all students in any school across South Carolina.
STEM/STEAM education is not only for those interested in science, engineering, technology, arts or math. STEM/STEAM education goes beyond training scientist, engineers and technology professionals. It helps all students develop and apply essential skills through a rigorous and diverse curriculum, a college-ready and work-ready culture, personalized learning opportunities, and a top-flight teaching force. These skills will serve students in all areas of their future education and careers.
STEM/STEAM education is not beneficial only to those enrolled in STEM/STEAM schools or STEM/STEAM Programs of Excellence. All students benefits from a strong STEM/STEAM infrastructure. STEM/STEAM schools share curricular and teacher professional development tools and best practices, impacting surrounding traditional schools. Furthermore, regional STEM/STEAM centers will develop STEM/STEAM curriculum and instructional tools, train STEM/STEAM teachers, share STEM/STEAM best practices and provide STEM/STEAM distance-learning experiences for students across the state.
STEM/STEAM education is not one-size-fits-all. STEM/STEAM is highly personalized education that caters to students’ individual learning styles and interests through individual student and faculty interaction. STEM/STEAM students have the opportunity to build upon their strengths and learn in ways that are most meaningful and beneficial to them. Students are active in internships and are often earning college credit while still in high school.
Science; Technology; Engineering; Math (STEM) has been a foundational acronym for several years as the United States educational system has tried to kick-start the lackadaisical interest in these specific areas. “Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are an important part of education in a competitive global marketplace. In 2009, the United States educational system received some sobering news. The Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked 15-year-old U.S. high-school students 18th in mathematics and 13th in science. These results were based on data from 34 participating nations. Some of the nations with higher student scores included much smaller and far less wealthy nations like Estonia, Slovenia and Finland (http://www.stemschool.com/articles/what-is-stem-education/).
This is just one source. Other sources of educational superiority do not put the United States that far down in the rankings, but the reality is the United States is no longer number one in the areas of math and science. “Schools pursuing these goals explored a variety of approaches such as smaller class sizes of 10 to 12 students with a one-to-one student/computer ratio, inquiry-based teaching methodologies and an active partnership with technology businesses that provide real-world applications for STEM subjects. Other schools made electronic textbooks, Skype and video-conferencing an integral part of the educational experience. (http://www.stemschool.com/articles/what-is-stem-education/)”
We have established the importance of STEM so why does Thomas Sumter Academy support STEAM? The importance of the ARTS (“A”) is well established from a historical perspective as well as a current foundational importance. “For example Robert Root-Bernstein, a biochemist and MacArthur prizewinner did a study of 150 biographies of eminent scientists, from Pasteur to Einstein (http://steam-notstem.com/articles/whitepaper/). ” What he was able to find out is chronicled in his book, Sparks of Genius, which he co-authored with his wife. Simply stated, they were able to show that “creativity is able to improved by exercising our right side of the brain.” Additionally, there was a Nueroeducation Study conducted in 2009 which was led by John Hopkins and the Dana Foundation. The study reinforced the fact that Arts education “improves student cognition, memory, and attention skills (http://steam-notstem.com/articles/whitepaper/).”
This establishes the science as to the benefits of a STEAM focus. From a purely Thomas Sumter perspective, the L-STEAM is just a good fit for the school. We want to develop Leaders; Leaders can be found at any level — First grade through High School. A vision to develop principled leaders is extremely important for our local community as well as the state of South Carolina, our nation and in a global economy. Anyone can open the newspaper, read their kindle or skim the internet and see that the world needs principled leaders. The best way to fill this void is to provide the proper learning environment with the right tools and build the leaders we need.
Using both the left side (logic) and right side (creativity and instinctive) is obviously better than just one side being used and allowing the other to atrophy. John Adams said, “ If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more , do more, and become more, then you are a leader.”
This is what we do at TSA.