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Editorial – Are we running out of STEAM?

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Well, no. Obviously. I would be out of a job and all you teachers would have nothing to read. But this issue, I take nepotism to the next level and chat with the students that make up my extended family of teachers around Australia.

Only my daughter had actually heard of STEAM ... and that was because I coached her.

That has not to say that there are not wonderful things going on in the world of education. There definitely are. Just look back over the last few issues. The Science classes putting together Rube Goldberg machines. The virtual art galleries using Augmented Reality to show the drafting process right on top of the artwork. School sensor networks posted online and linked to Minecraft servers. Our STEAM teachers are innovative. And they are everywhere.

However, maybe it is time to promote STEAM itself. Do not just do the cool, multi-curricula activity. Call it a STEAM activity.

Run a STEAM week at your school. Celebrate STEAMiness in all its riveted glory. Set aside a space in your school called the STEAM room (clothing definitely not optional).

Students LOVE puns, no matter how much they groan.

The original STEM concept was a promotion to get students interested in STEM occupations – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Adding an A just reminds students that companies today are actually looking for creativity as much as they are looking for scientific and mathematical knowhow.

But without making note of the original concept – without telling students “Hey, there aren’t enough people doing Science, Tech and Maths jobs. Maybe this is something that interests you?” – we’re just adding to our workload without any real benefit.

To help you on your quest for STEAM, we have this wonderful resource.

This month, an article linking Visual and Media Arts with Digital Technologies. We’re going to go right back to basics, transmitting a black and white image across the room without the use of computers.

Our Twit this month is Dr Linda McIvor, who is an absolute must to follow on Twitter for her witty tweets and links to events in STEM and Tech.

There is the aforementioned sequel to Nepotism – Spawn of Nepotism. Where we find that lots of cool stuff is being done in schools, but without letting anybody know about STEAM.

And our monthly dose of What’s On in STEAM.

So pick something that interests you and dive right in. The water’s STEAMy.

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