STEAM…..Teaching to Foster Creativity……

Digital technology is driving users to rethink how to create by introducing students to new styles, modes, and audiences. Students can now engage as creators, producers, contributors, users and evaluators in the social and professional environment. Tillander (2011) encourages art educators to not ignore the opportunities available, which is fostering a cultural revolution. Giving students the opportunity to contribute thoughts or reflections from research in a social context gives meaning to content. Teachers can now expose students to a variety of perspectives, which fosters critical thinking using Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy (p. 44-45). Allison (2012) encourages teachers to consider the following questions when evaluating the creative potential of existing curriculum and materials. “Is it possible for students to develop than one idea in this context? Is it possible for students to develop more than one type of idea in this context? Do students have the content knowledge necessary to successfully generate creative ideas? Do students have sufficient time and information to think through their creative ideas and communicate them” (p. 55). How do we teach creativity? As we attempt to understand issues and redesign instructional approaches, encouraging the arts across PK-16 would be an excellent start towards answering that question.

Celebrating STEAM Resources

Tillander, M. (2011). Creativity, technology, art, and pedagogical practices. Art Education, 64(1), 40-46. Retrieved from Allison, A. M. (2012).

Teaching for creativity. The Science Teacher, 79(5), 54-56. Retrieved from


About instructionaltechnologist101

Instructional Technologist 1 to 1, Avid change agent, Mac Enthusiastic, Implemented K12 1:1 program, managed offsite curriculum center in community museum, learner, PhD student in Educational Technology at University of North Texas. The future is now!

Posted on November 24, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The presentations that I’ve seen about expanding “STEM to STEAM” have included all sorts of language and visual arts topics that I would not feel capable or comfortable with as part of my thirty years of teaching physics, math, and electronics at the high school and technical college levels. In addition, the current content packed into a semester has more than doubled since I began my career, so there is not time nor resource to include any “arts” instruction, as such, into the courses.

    I certainly agree that there are critical thinking, workplace relationships, and life skills that are important to the STEM curriculum, and I have implemented them as part of the learning process in the classroom. Yet the actual instruction of those techniques belongs to the “soft skills” departments providing instruction in the world language, English, fine arts, and social sciences.

    The traditional STEM subjects are related by common modes of thought dealing with “the nature of science” and “empirical evidence”, which are guided by the rules of logic and mathematics. So a description of “STEM+”, rather than “STEAM”, might be more appropriate to linking the “external” natural sciences to the “internal” social arts.

    Maybe the arts community needs to come up with its own acronym to balance the relative importance of each knowledge domain, rather than trying to merge into “STEM”. May I suggest something like “Communication, Social, and Cultural Arts” or “CSCA”. The common modes of thought in this realm involve “expressions” and “transactions”, which are guided by the “norms” of society. So we might agree on the equation: “STEM + CSCA = 21st Century Curriculum”. In any case, a new acronym and label is needed to replace “Arts and Humanities”, which sounds so medieval these days.

    I do not mean to imply that a STEM curriculum has a priority over other parts of the student’s learning and experience. It’s just that STEM already has enough to do teaching the “hard skills”, that adding any more topics or lessons will dilute the effort and the results at the high school and college levels. Let’s clearly identify that both “arts” and “sciences” are essential parts of the total learning experience.

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