Friday, February 1, 2013
In my eSTEMation, one of the unexpected side-effects of the Governor’s STEM initiative is giving teachers permission to be creative with science and math. That may sound counter-intuitive at first: people usually don’t think of science or engineering as “creative” disciplines. They worry that a STEM emphasis might stifle kid’s imaginative efforts. They write me letters and send me links advocating STEAM instead of STEM (with the “A” for art). And, quite frankly, they are correct in the sense that true STEM work must be right-brained as much as it is left-brained, creative as well as constructive.
I wish we could invite STEAM advocates to one of our STEM professional development training sessions. Teachers play. There is a lot of laughing. We design and test and re-invent the wheel. We become makers and producers instead of receivers and consumers—and that is the magic of STEM. See for yourself!
Traditional math and science training invokes a “don’t make mistakes” mentality that is often difficult to shake. It’s no wonder that teachers (and consequently, students) need to be given permission to be creative. Still, I believe that the Governor’s STEM initiative is making genuine strides toward bringing a fresh approach to science, technology, engineering and math classrooms and clubs. Tinkering with LEGO robots, racing solar cars and writing code for creative new apps can be both artistic and STEMtastic at the same time. Rather than simply inserting an “A” into the acronym, in my eSTEMation, we should weave the artistic, creative and innovative spirit of learning in, around and through it all.
Posted by KMW at 2:35 PM