STEM, STEAM, and makerspaces–oh my!

By now, we’ve all heard about STEM, the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math education. Most people have heard of STEAM, which includes arts education along with STEM and allows students to be more creative in their exploration of more technical subjects.

And it’s not a far leap to assume a lot of educators are familiar with makerspaces, which offer open-ended creative spaces for students to explore these concepts as they engage in project-based learning or attempt to solve real-world challenges.

But how are these three things impacting classrooms and the students in them?…Read More

STEAM tips and resources you can use right now

STEAM advocates and supporters can share these tips with curriculum directors and teachers

STEAM-educationThe need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and proficiency is nothing new. But a movement is growing for STEAM education, in which the “a” stands for Arts. Cultivating scientific and mathematical viewpoints and experiences through arts education is a critical need in today’s schools, STEAM advocates say.

Each of these tips, resources, or tools will help you as you attempt to integrate arts education and arts experiences into STEM education.

Do you have a favorite resource or tool that doesn’t appear here? Share it in the comments, or find me on Twitter @eSN_Laura.…Read More

Report: Arts education in schools being cut nationwide

Elementary schools without drama classes. High schools with large numbers of poor students that do not offer music. Those are two of the bleaker pictures that emerged Monday from a report by the U.S. Department of Education on the state of arts education, the Huffington Post reports. Fewer public elementary schools are offering visual arts, dance and drama classes than a decade ago, a decline many attribute to budget cuts and an increased focus on math and reading. The percentage of elementary schools with a visual arts class declined from 87 to 83 percent. In drama, the drop was larger: From 20 percent to 4 percent in the 2009-10 school year. Music at the elementary and secondary school levels remained steady, though there were declines at the nation’s poorest schools. Speaking at a Washington, D.C. school, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday that the report painted a mixed picture: On the one hand, there has not been a dramatic narrowing of the arts curriculum. Music and visual arts classes are still widely offered, and there hasn’t been a decline in dance or drama offerings at the middle and high school level…

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New report cites need for more arts integration

Schools that participated in an arts-integration model had consistently higher average scores on district reading and math assessments.

Although No Child Left Behind has prompted many districts to focus on core subject areas and ignore or cut arts education programs, a new federal report suggests that’s a wrong approach.

Released May 6, the report reveals that arts education might help student achievement in these core areas and is essential to the nation’s future competitiveness—and it urges school leaders to try creative approaches to arts education during the school day.

Compiled by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), the report is titled “Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.” It is the first federal analysis of arts education data of its kind in a decade.…Read More

New tool shows how arts education boosts 21st century skills

The map was formally released on Capitol Hill.
The map comes at a critical time for arts education in schools.

Working with national arts organizations, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has developed a first-of-its-kind Arts skills map that clearly defines how arts education promotes key 21st-century skills.

The map, the fifth in a series of core content maps from P21 (others include Geography, Science, Social Studies, and English), gives examples how critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation (P21’s “four Cs”) can be fused within arts curricula (including dance, music, theater, and visual and media arts).

The map comes at a critical time for arts education in schools, which often are the first programs to be cut when budgets are tight. Having an outline of how arts education can reinforce skills that are viewed as critical for success in the new global economy could help keep arts programs in schools.…Read More

Keynote: STEM should include arts education

Piontek said educators must adapt to students' cultures and desire to be connected through technology.
Piontek said educators must adapt to students' cultures and desire to be connected through technology.

Not only do global learners create global leaders, but the world’s future depends on education focusing on creative and innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning, said ISTE closing keynote speaker Jeff Piontek.

“I think we need to focus on STEAM–science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” Piontek said to loud applause from the conference attendees. “Arts and creativity are needed in the future.”

Piontek, a Hawaii-based educator, was selected as “the people’s choice keynote” after a five-month modified crowdsourcing project. Piontek was nominated for his attention to excellence and his approach to delivering digital age education to digital age education to digital age students.…Read More