Contemporary developments in science and technology are making educationalists to rethink the school curricula in radically new ways. One of the latest outcomes of this change is STEM education, that stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Inside STEM education, further improvements created the new models of it; the most common of them are STEAM and STREAM, the letter “a” stands for an art while the latter one includes “r” for robotics as well. Despite any further additions such as robotics, I believe that art must be one of the equally essential aspects of STEM education in Kazakhstan as well because it is crucial for improving students’ creativity and thinking skills.
Many education professionals, as well as entrepreneurs, are emphasizing the importance art and creativity in education in a modern rapid changing world. Recently, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, lecturing in World economic forum said that in the future most of the jobs will be taken away by robots that cause a sharp decrease in human employment but only arts and human creativity will remain that make human exceptional. According to him, today’s education systems must maintain much more effort on art and creativity. Interestingly, this is the same message that well-known educationalists such as Ken Robinson were challenging the world since the early 2000s. As far as the central purpose of the STEM is to teach applying theoretical knowledge in (life) practical use, integrating art into this subject would increase the creativity in it.
Traditional STEM education programs profoundly accentuate on analytical thinking skills, which is very important, but building “real life” projects require creative thinking skills and “business values” as well (Land, 2013). In fact, most of the inventions are the outcomes of the successful intersection of two sciences. For example, due to the computational linguistics (or mathematical linguistics) today we have human-tech interactive devices from “OK, Google” apps to self-driving cars. Similarly, the combination of arts with STEM education programs constitutes “unique sets of skills” where students improve both divergent and convergent thinking skills (Land, 2013). As a result, such diversification generates abilities that fill the gaps between human emotions and the problems with artificial products such as robots.
STEM (including STEAM) is new phenomena in Kazakhstan though some model schools are implementing it step by step. However, the discussion of launching STEM education in Kazakhstan is in process among officials. So, the probability of seeing STEM classes in Kazakhstani education organizations in near future is high. Thus, like we try to buy the latest version of the device, I think we should bring STEAM (with arts) not just STEM education when we reform our education system.
What is your opinion on this topic? Should we implement STEAM form or STEM? Or would including art into this program cause confusion?
Digital Image [n.d.]. Retrieved from http://www.get-to-know.org/steam/
Land, H. M., (2013). Full STEAM ahead: The benefits of integrating the arts into STEM. Procedia Computer Science. 20. 547-552.