The Truth About STEAM Classes
Imagine being able to use your acquired STEAM skills in coding to digitally remix the music of one of your favorite artists. It’s not a dream. It happened to a group of high school learners when Ciara visited a Norcross, Georgia, STEAM class. She not only critiqued some of the remixes, but she also validated how important STEAM classes and learning how to code are in today’s world.
STEAM classes are a top priority, not just in Georgia but everywhere.
It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been teaching STEAM education for nearly twenty years. Since its inception in 2001, science, tech, engineering, and mathematics integration has come a long way. In the beginning, the approach to teaching these four disciplines was called SMET. U.S. National Science Foundations members rearranged the letters, thereby creating STEAM. Although STEAM classes have become a banner for attracting inquisitive learners, there’s more work to do in this field.
Not all schools offer STEAM programs to their learners. Funding the classes can drain the budget, and scheduling classes can be difficult.
The benefits of STEAM classes
There are most benefits to learners taking STEAM classes. The integrated curriculum approach helps learners understand how different disciplines are connected and support each other. Most learners take on their STEAM projects in makerspaces that inspire creativity a. They have conducted research and analyzed its results, made with 3D printers, and collaborated with subject matter experts in the field. STEAM encourages hands-on learning in a team approach. This teamwork approach requires a willingness to work for the team’s good, not just the individual’s good.
Science, tech, engineering, and mathematics integration is not without surprises. In some instances, STEAM has made great strides. In others, STEAM has fallen woefully behind current trends.
Having a STEAM background can be financially productive. A university degree in STEAM is less costly than an engineering degree, but STEAM learners often earn more money annually than their non-STEAM peers. In fact, STEAM learners earn an average of $54,745 a year. Learners without STEAM experience earn $40,505 on average. Many of these earners are male; women hold only 15% of STEAM jobs. Minorities are historically underrepresented in STEAM fields. Asians are over-represented.
The Future of STEAM
STEAM is becoming a powerful industry, and with good reason. This field is still growing and evolving. It is expected that STEAM industries will produce nine million jobs by the year 2022.
Our task is to make sure that STEAM attracts and retains diversity. Finding unique perspectives and problem-solving is how we can disrupt learning and living to produce a better quality of life for all.
To prepare our learners for a future in STEAM, we require help from educators, parents, and the community. We have to motivate, inspire, and encourage our kids to participate in a future that is already here.