Stem vs steam

INTRODUCTION

Academics, athletics, sports and scouts. Collar buttoned-up, hair folded back, uniforms uptight, and shoes with the shine of a mirror. With the weight of a million books on our backs and the aspirations of our parents, we started our school like this. The primary place an individual goes to learn, to acquire knowledge and to gain education. If we ticked off all the above-mentioned criteria we fit in the society’s standard of a “good student” with a bright future. Bright or not, let’s fast forward to today. When we look back, we’ve grown, learnt, experienced, and most importantly evolved. We now want to give our children and the upcoming generations a much brighter future than what was laid down for us. We desire to give them everything we did not receive or yearned back in our days. Alas, make sure they are happy and thus satisfy ourselves with those bubbly faces.

LET’S KNOW ABOUT STEM AND STEAM

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

-Maimonides

Education plays a vital role as we grow up. It makes us knowledgeable and distinguished. It makes us enhanced as human beings and gives us the power to learn which differentiates us from animals, since they only adapt. Highlighting it’s importance, education has two major approaches called as STEM and STEAM.

STEM

  • Stem is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
  • It is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students on these four disciplines.
  • It is considered to be an applied approach for students to directly engage in the application of skills, models and theories.
  • STEM is widely practiced throughout the world. The tech boom of 1990’s and 2000’s urged a modern and a revised version of education.
  • It required more and more people to cultivate the skills and expertise required in the scientific and technological fields.
  • Since these fields started to expand in colossal amounts, the demand for tech savys, scientists, mechanics, engineers and mathematicians also grew equally.
  • The term STEM was introduced by the National Space Foundation in 2001.
  • Their need for innovation and creation of new products to meet this rapidly evolving world urged them to revise the curriculum and emphasize on these four subjects.
  • Since then, STEM is still being practiced up to date with variations in it to meet the development and cater to the world’s needs.
  • It is a kind of conservative approach to education as there is only learning and application. It lacks expression.

STEAM

  • It is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
  • The major difference between the two approaches is that STEAM includes the study of Arts as a discipline in it’s approach.
  • It is a massive field of study which includes humanities, psychology, music, drama, visual arts, designing, dance and so forth.
  • Art as a study provides a platform for expression, for comprehension and exploration. It fosters an inclusive learning environment which helps students to learn by engaging and contribution.
  • The inclusion of arts in the stem approach is vital because it helps the student to come up with solutions to a single problem in multiple ways.
  • It nurtures the creative thinking patterns in the brain, stimulates it and facilitates the students in ingenious problem solving and innovative thinking.
  • The right side of the brain is associated with creativity and the left with rational thinking and logic. When an approach consists of the mixed disciplines it activates both part of the brains. This help in better thinking and efficient results.
  • STEAM has a wider approach as it not only contains the elements of STEM in it but also, through arts provides basis for expression and shared learning.

A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO APPROACHES

  • The major difference between two is that STEAM includes arts as a discipline it and STEM does not have that.
  • But a single factor like this makes a huge difference.
  • In a study conducted by Microsoft, 4 of 5 of the students say that that they decided to pursue STEM in their high school and 1 of 5 of them in middle school or earlier, but only a mere portion of 1 out of 5 students feel that STEM prepares them for college.
  • STEM obviously has all the important subjects in it’s approach which are definitely required in this pacing world and it also adds an advantage in terms of job prospects, but it does not offer holistic development of an individual. It does not provide experience to express and  deal with matters of life.
  • As human beings we need to communicate. We need a medium to manifest our thoughts, ideas and beliefs.
  • Appreciation, content and satisfaction is something we yearn. We grow our knowledge through sharing it, this helps us in understanding each other better which makes it easier for us to work together and working together with all those minds full of information waiting to be heard and shared helps in creating better.

Some specialists believe that combining arts in such essential disciplines might lower the authenticity of it.  I beg to differ. Lets, take an example. In recent times, there has been an uproar in the field of design with things like graphic designing, visual content creation, music sound art and so forth. All these combine technology in it’s art form. Graphic Designing for instance is making graphics and images but when you combine it with technology it becomes  a virtual design. You can use it for your business, as a symbol, a sign or any such purpose. Thus, it maximises the scope for both the fields.

So it is with any other field. If you are an engineer and want to create a new product or innovate an existing one you first draw it out, physically or virtually. A lot of design, technique, science and technology in the name of ‘Research and ‘Development’ takes place. The STEAM approach appeals to students. It reduces the complexity of the disciplines of STEM. Students believe that by upgrading their skills and acquiring the right amount of knowledge it can be a game changer for them. STEM is and has been the epitome of development and growth but the A of steam might just be the cherry on top.

WHY THE ‘A’ OF STEAM IS IMPORTANT

  • Arts is more than just colouring, painting or sketching.
  • It’s a much bigger and wider discipline. Art can be a study in itself.
  • It includes diverse subjects like humanities, sociology, psychology, music, theatre, drama, painting, singing , dancing, designing, visual merchandising, photography and the list goes on.
  • When a child is young, the crayon becomes it’s first friend.
  • The colours impact the pattern in the brain. The dip in paints, scribbling of colours, combinations used by them all of it builds their thinking, imagination and motor skills.
  • It is ironic, that we bring our children their first friend and then somehow intentionally or unintentionally there’s a break up between the two.

Gone are the days when the only doctors, lawyers and teachers were considered noble professions by the mediocre society. These are professions we acquire and titles we earn, but life is more than that and we need to keep living by what makes us happy. When we were young, majority of us must have faced the disappointment when our dreams weren’t appreciated. When we told our parents about being a guitarist, or a painter or a theatre specialist all of them being scrubbed off because they were unconventional. Because as parents they wanted us to cling on to something that gave us stability in future. But things are a  tad-bit different now.

The ‘society’ never changes. It will still have a complaint regardless of what we do. But we as humans have evolved. Growing up, we might have rejected, so we know the difficulty of acceptance, we might have been ignored and neglected, so we know how important acknowledgement is and we might have also been underestimated, so we understand how much happiness little appreciation creates. Therefore, it is necessary for our children to express and to communicate. It is essential that they feel safe to do so and as parents it is our responsibility to make their tiny world secure. Artistic professions are quite often demeaned and degraded by the world outside, thus we need to make sure to guard our tiny tots within. We can surely teach them all kinds of things from abc, to newton’s experiments, from making doll houses to buildings but we shouldn’t restrict them from learning what they desire.

CONCLUSION

STEM and STEAM are branches of the same tree. Their roots lie within education. STEM is one of the most prominent realisations of human beings because the world we live in today is builds it’s foundation from that. But the A when added to STEM completes the structure. It is because of such innovations and creations that we can perform anything at  the tip of our fingers. Been gone through a million of difficulties and challenges for example, the most recent COVID-19 we, as the human race have able to overcome it together with the application of various studies, sciences and practices. In this world where applied sciences are crucial for the expansion of each sector Art falls at the heart of it. Hence, it is essential to replace STEM with STEAM as it is  an improvisation from a previous approach which aims at giving better results, enhances quality of life and makes the world a better and happy place to live in.

DABBLE ART PRODUCTS

Dabbleplayart was born when moms Karen and Neha, could not find enough brands every time they searched for safe art products for their kids.  Being trained art therapists they knew something was missing. So they decided to take a shot at it themselves. All our art products are made from natural ingredients and contain no chemicals.

  • Dabble has 2 non toxic crayons- Chunkies for kids 1 year -2.5 years and Playart crayons for kids 2.5 years and plus. Their Finger Paints are recommended for kids 18 months plus.
  •  Dabble emphasizes on the importance of art, colours, imagination and thoughts in a child’s life.
  • There are various ways to engage your kids with Dabble products. Check it out here How to Dabble.
  • By making these crayons toxin- free and not hazardous we have initiated our steps to introduce art to kids from early childhood.So that they follow STEAM and not STEM from the very beginning.

REFERENCE LINKS

https://theconversation.com/explainer-whats-the-difference-between-stem-and-steam-95713#:~:text=STEM%20represents%20science%2C%20technology%2C%20engineering,arts%2C%20design%20and%20new%20media.&text=The%20main%20difference%20between%20STEM,explicitly%20focuses%20on%20scientific%20concepts.&text=STEAM%20is%20not%20a%20new%20concept.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/01/15/we-need-steam-not-stem-education-to-prepare-our-kids-for-the-4th-industrial-revolution/?sh=19f2ca1f55fb

https://soeonline.american.edu/blog/stem-vs-steam

https://www.twistbioscience.com/blog/perspectives/stem-vs-steam-why-stem-should-welcome-arts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STEAM_fields

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