For years, educators have been told about the importance of STEM education—for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—in ensuring the nation’s competitiveness in a global economy.
But now, a new movement seeks to amend that acronym to “STEAM”—with an “A” for the arts.
Leading the charge is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which maintains the website STEMtoSTEAM.org.
According to the website, the movement aims to include art and design in STEM policy decisions; encourage the integration of art and design in K-20 education; and influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation.
“Design is increasingly becoming a key differentiator for technology startups and products,” the website states, and art and design “provide real solutions for our everyday lives, distinguish American products in a global marketplace, and create opportunity for economic growth.”
Integrating the arts into STEM education encourages students to develop critical thinking skills and innovative approaches to problem-solving, advocates say—while enhancing creative thinking and student engagement.
(Next page: Examples of STEAM education programs)
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