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STE(A)M
2

STE(A)M

STE(A)M

(OP)
Maybe I'm totally out of the loop and late to this party, but in recent months I've been seeing the mention of STEAM programs in the local education system. The "A" standing for "Arts".

Now correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't adding the arts to a STEM program defeat the purpose of STEM, which is to highlight technical fields?

STEAM appears to me like the traditional curriculum minus the social studies. So how long before it just becomes STEAMS and it just includes all areas of study, thereby completely making the distinction meaningless.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the arts and feel they play an important role. Why lump them in with STEM though?

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: STE(A)M

Someone got butt-hurt and needed to feel included. Now everyone gets a participation award. My cynical opinion, yes, but it's a bit maddening.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: STE(A)M

The reason I was told when I asked a professor of a STEAM group was that women are underrepresented in the arts, too. Someone else told me it was to make STEM more appealing to women (insert massive eye roll - I'm a great engineer and a terrible artist). I said yeah, right. I never have heard a good reason for sticking Art in there.

BUT. For the last three months I've been volunteering with the STEAM studio at my local university, helping with the structural side of a senior design project. The students are from sculpture arts and mechatronics engineering, and they're working together to fabricate a very large statue that breathes and moves and will be prominently displayed this spring. That's been a cool juxtaposition of STEM and Art.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: STE(A)M

Analogous to when New England senators tried to declare that Lake Champlain was one of the Great Lakes.

RE: STE(A)M

Its all good until HR demands "A" representation in every engineering department.

RE: STE(A)M

Art, that's easy. There's no specifications. Do whatever you want :)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: STE(A)M

There is actually, in my opinion, a lot of subtle overlap between art and engineering.

When something is engineered well, and you stand back and look at the resulting product, it can be a very beautiful thing.
Something the mind's eye sees as beauty with intense function behind it...without an intentional effort to make it beautiful.

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RE: STE(A)M

JAE, agree 100%

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: STE(A)M

(OP)

Quote (SLTA)

The reason I was told when I asked a professor of a STEAM group was that women are underrepresented in the arts, too. Someone else told me it was to make STEM more appealing to women (insert massive eye roll - I'm a great engineer and a terrible artist). I said yeah, right. I never have heard a good reason for sticking Art in there.

So it is for sexist and pandering reasons which assume women need to be tricked into technical fields? That's even worse than I thought! STEM programs aren't meant to get women into STEM fields, they are meant to get students into STEM fields.

I'm going to pull a quote from the "Best Motivational Quotes" thread that I absolutely loved:

Quote (HamburgerHelper)

“There is no demand for women engineers, as such, as there are for women doctors; but there's always a demand for anyone who can do a good piece of work.”
-- Edith Clarke

If they are interested in art, let them do art. If they want to get into a technical field, let them do that. Neither are mutually exclusive of one another so it isn't as if once you are in a STEM program, you are not allowed to be artistic. If a student can't decide what kind of subjects they are interested in studying, I would guess they are either a) too young for that type of curriculum, or b) probably not suited for a focused technical curriculum.

I like that the program you are working on, SLTA, has a multidisciplinary focus. That is how the world works and it should be integrated into education. However, by lumping them together, I think it will hurt the ability of students to recognize the values in other's talents more than it will help.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: STE(A)M

John Carmack ,the programmer, was asked this question and his response was that very little of what he did was art but occasional he would see a solution that intuitively was correct and that may be considered art. None of the work he does concerns game design but is solely optimization and maximizing the perceived results. I don't think I have ever referenced anything I do as art but occasionally, I'll do or see someone do something that I would refer to as slick due to the elegance of a solution and the understanding required to boiling down the essence of a problem. Using deep understanding to create elegant solutions is near art if it isn't. Anyone can muck up an overdesigned solution.

RE: STE(A)M

Along these lines of art informing engineering, I can highly recommend the feature-length documentary 'Objectified', by Gary Hustwit, of 'Helvetica' fame, another documentary worth watching:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1241325/

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: STE(A)M

I think this is the equivalent of painting it pink and calling it "STEM for her".

there are lots of women who love math, science and engineering. They don't need encouragement so much as they need an end to systemic discouragement.

RE: STE(A)M

I think it is a reasonable addition in that S, T, E, M complement the A as much the A can complement the S, T, E, M

A friend of mine worked out the hydraulics for the prop movements for the Phantom of Opera

I think most engineers appreciate a well made tool or nicely designed interface

RE: STE(A)M

Much of this discussion started when those unfamiliar with the industry were trying to define STEM.

Science: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, -- certainly hard science is easy to define. Does psychology, sociology, and political science also count?
Technology: Computers. But isn't there more to technology than IT services?
Maths: Everyone understood mathematics and therefore focused on it as being the answer to all the STEM problems. Of course, there is more to life than numbers.
Engineering: Engineering is difficult because it is a blend of the other three. Not only that, but it takes creativity to invent or create something. The "A" was added, not to imply painting or poetry, but to include that not just analytical minds are required to solve the world's problems. Creative ones are too.

So, in order to resolve the uninitiated's lack of understanding of the problem, they created another subset. While I agree with the concept of needing to appreciate the arts to find beauty in the world, the powers-that-be took a difficult problem to solve and made it infinitely more difficult to solve.

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

RE: STE(A)M

STEAM is a meaningless acronym.

What, are humanities not important? Languages? Social sciences?

Why not just call it "education" then?

RE: STE(A)M

(OP)

Quote (moltenmetal)

Why not just call it "education" then?

Exactly my point. When it loses focus, it loses its meaning. STEM was meant to be a particular educational focus. Not to belittle other studies, but to highlight those that were closely related and intertwined with one another.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: STE(A)M

Maybe, they should be removing letters to discourage so many people from going into STEAM, STEM, or whatever you are going to call it. Maybe, makeup a set of words so the acronym is STRESS.

RE: STE(A)M

Given that studying most of the "social sciences" results in a degree in the "arts," STEAM would seem to be all-encompassing.

RE: STE(A)M

So why not add the "S" for Social Studies, call it "STEAMS" and then challenge the Toad (for those who live in other parts of the world, that's our ex - but his malign influence still pervades - Secretary of State for Education and Skills) to explain why his version of "Education" somehow offers so much less than that.

(I may just have overstepped a mark or two there).

RE: STE(A)M

Quote:

the powers-that-be took a difficult problem to solve and made it infinitely more difficult to solve.

You are all misunderstanding what is going on.

The goal has nothing to do with solving any problem.

The goal is to make sure that the administrators who boss around the educators, can continue dipping their tools in the money streams that they try so hard to catalyze and influence.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: STE(A)M

Santana something.

(Edit: George Santayana, not the singer.)

RE: STE(A)M

I love art. I think that including STEM in art is a way of introducing STEM to those who would ordinarily avoid those topics. Artworks incorporating technical aspects can be very inspiring to those in the arts and general public. We never know where true talent can come from. Do not discourage the A.

RE: STE(A)M

(OP)
I don't think anyone is discouraging the arts, I just don't feel like it is any benefit to jam it in where it doesn't fit. The arts and STEM can absolutely work wonders together, but they aren't the same and shouldn't be approached with the same methods.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: STE(A)M

In my area, it's called STEAM in daycare and STEM in kindergarten.

Your mileage may vary.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: STE(A)M

Quote (JAE)

There is actually, in my opinion, a lot of subtle overlap between art and engineering.

When something is engineered well, and you stand back and look at the resulting product, it can be a very beautiful thing.
Something the mind's eye sees as beauty with intense function behind it...without an intentional effort to make it beautiful.

I agree. Some are inspiring!

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: STE(A)M

It's a bad idea to add the "A" into STEM. STEM is the on-going effort to get kids interested in those fields and make up for our country's lack of people in those careers. The rest of the world is emphasizing STEM… not the “A”, and, as a country, we’re far behind the power curve in the numbers of people pursuing STEM careers.

RE: STE(A)M

I think the purpose of STEAM is to avoid a real potential of completely dumping the arts to make room for the STEM, resulting in a artless education, which would be a shame. Music, literature, and visual arts are all part of the accomplishments of humanity. We have very little of the engineering legacy from people from 30,000 yrs ago, but we still have their art. Their hopes, dreams, loves, etc., are not embodied in arrowheads and stone knives.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thu...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: STE(A)M

There is no "A" in STEM.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: STE(A)M

SystemsEngr72,

You really drank the kool-aid. There is no shortage of native STEM graduates. You could send half of the fresh STEM graduates to Mars and hardly feel anything in industry.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

RE: STE(A)M

In the UK it's not numbers so much as quality. Good engineers and good technicians are rare, poor ones seem to be everywhere.

RE: STE(A)M

"In the UK it's not numbers so much as quality. Good engineers and good technicians are rare, poor ones seem to be everywhere.

Which is precisely why the STEM emphasis is bad, in that regard, as they depress wages by providing a cheap supply, with lower quality. Forcing everyone into STEM is not necessarily going to help find the best and brightest, who might actually get de-motivated from entering certain professions because wages are depressed.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: STE(A)M

I don't think compensation varies that much between different levels of competency to offset wage suppression due to the market being flooded with engineers. Some bean counter will say "why do I need a senior engineer when I can get two fresh grads?" If it is consulting, a bean counter will see that they get better margins on selling the hours of a fresh grad than a senior engineer.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

RE: STE(A)M

Quote:

You really drank the kool-aid. There is no shortage of native STEM graduates. You could send half of the fresh STEM graduates to Mars and hardly feel anything in industry.

In your particular niche that might be true however American industry overall has had a shortage in many areas for years, particularly in the skilled trades.

RE: STE(A)M

CWB1,

When only 30-40% of graduates end up working in engineering, there is no shortage of fresh grads. Trades are not part of STEM.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

RE: STE(A)M

The shortages are extremely nichy; machine/deep learning PhDs can garner absurd amounts of money, e.g., multi $100k range, but I think that's more of a dotcom boom scenario than any realistic wage structure. The typical data science grads don't make as much as pure computer science grads. Nuclear engineering, although NPR's reporting last week indicate that there's a bigger crop of them than there's been for decades.

In general, wages in the US have not gone much over inflation, if at all, indicating no significant shortages anywhere. If anything, shortages in the non-engineering sectors seem to be evident in that non-degreed positions were getting significant salaries, e.g., dental hygienists making $71k median in 2014.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: STE(A)M

Quote:

Trades are not part of STEM.

Sure they are, STEM focuses on learning by building --> trades. The goal isnt to help the 2% become engineers, its to expose the 98% to industry and help them find their own path. Google STEM careers, most of them are trades.

RE: STE(A)M

The trouble with the Toronto high-school black list

This is an article about political correctness at a Toronto arts school. The important point from our point of view is that there is an arts oriented high school in Toronto. This stuff is taken very seriously. There are no technology oriented high schools in Toronto.

My case against arts oriented schools is that I don't think it is healthy for the arts community to withdraw into its own little bubble, detached from the outside culture.

--
JHG

RE: STE(A)M

JohnRBaker,

I see that the robot engineer Barbies are wearing safety glasses. Do they have spiked high-heel safety boots?

--
JHG

RE: STE(A)M

drawoh:

"There are no technology oriented high schools in Toronto."

That's technically correct- there is no whole high school with the title "school of science" or "school of technology" or something similar. In contrast, there are three (3) "School of the Arts" high schools, and one program in a mixed high school that is so extensive that counts (the Claude Watson program at Earl Haig CI). That's in the megacity of Toronto, which has a population of 2.5 million. There are numerous art-focused programs in other schools which are quite strong.

Our daughter has been working away to get ready for next year's auditions for one of those schools she has her heart set on, but if she doesn't get in there, she has several others to choose from as potential optional attendance. The local default high school has a music program, but not in her specialty (strings).

However, there are PLENTY of high schools (collegiate institutes generally) with science/math specialist/enrichment/acceleration programs in Toronto - 19 of them in fact. My son goes to one of them. They fall into two broad categories: seven Centres of Innovation for Skills and Technologies (lovely word-soup there, about as meaningless as "STEAM"), and 12 "MST" programs like the science math robotics program my son attends. His program is in a high school which is populated largely by students who grow up in the subsidized housing near the school, but students from all across Toronto apply to go to its SMR program as my son did. The siting of this award-winning program in what would otherwise likely be a very disadvantaged school was not done by accident, and our experience so far (2 out of 4 yrs in) is that it is working brilliantly, and not just for our son either. These programs vary greatly in their focus, philosophy of education (i.e. enrichment vs acceleration etc.), admission process (i.e. exam vs application) and the like, as we discovered when we attended information nights for the three of them our son was considering.

Details are here:

http://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Going-to-High-Sc...

There is also the opportunity to do a semester at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto in a TDSB program run there since the 1980s:

https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/School/Science...

Ontario also fully funds the Catholic school system here all the way through the end of high school- an artifact of Canadian confederation 150 yrs ago. The Catholic system has a very similar structure and very similar programs, has the same core provincial curriculum, and you don't need to be a Catholic to attend (many Muslim students attend for instance).

Some people hate all of this, viewing it as elitist, as an excuse to not have specialist programs available at all schools (a practical impossibility from the point of view of both staffing and cost), or as a kind of "private school within the public system" whose benefits overwhelmingly go to students already born into privilege, i.e. having well educated and comparatively well to do parents. In practice, what you see is that these programs are positively swamped with the children of recent immigrants, many of whom immigrated with their parents. It's a compromise of course, and far from perfect. But it at least gives kids like my son a chance to be in a program where he fits in rather than feeling like an outsider, which was his entire middle school experience.

Havi

RE: STE(A)M

At my daughters' school promotion of the STEM program creates unneeded conflict between the students in STEM and those taking a liberal arts path. STEAM should (in theory) create a broader understanding between the disciplines. there are already too many reasons for people not to get along in this world

RE: STE(A)M

In a world with starving art sales, we want to attract more people to the arts?
I guess it makes them feel good.

You know truck drivers make good money. Almost as engineers, so why not truck driver high schools?

We do need more engineers who know how the world works.

RE: STE(A)M

JMO but I would love to see a resurgence of trade-oriented high schools here in the states for the masses to gain some valuable skills. IME its somewhat rare anymore to find a school offering basic shop classes, nevermind one with curriculum centered around teaching the trades and graduating reasonably competent apprentices.

RE: STE(A)M

I think that it is a terrible mistake for the arts to be valued on the basis of how a high school graduate can monetize it after high school. I don't think my time was at all wasted being in band. I wish I could better at drawing and painting but I still like collecting interesting art. There are a lot of things that provide a better quality of life but offer absolutely no monetary value. If they had had a yoga class at my high school, my quality of life probably would have been better having taken it. My life has been beyond needs for awhile. All I have are wants.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

RE: STE(A)M

I went to a really good school, and the excellent scientific education stood me in good stead for higher education in engineering and a future career. Having said that, I suspect that I could have got much of that out of a less good school.

What I probably couldn't have got from the (notional) less good school was the superb and enthusiastic musical teaching that has left me with a lifelong love for the art. The sort of teaching where, when the Director of Music caught half a dozen of us larking around in his classroom one rainy lunchtime, instead of chucking us out, he had a quick look round to see what he'd got, fished out a few scores of Magic Flute and set us off from the beginning. Out of that lunchtime was born a whole season of opera.

Forty years on, we're still in touch - I'll be singing a service (Guerrero Missa Ecce Sacerdos Magnum at Sarum St Martins for anyone who's interested) with a group run by one of those teachers in a couple of weeks' time.

A.

RE: STE(A)M

Growing up just outside NYC I went through a fairly good music program in HS, took classes for years with one of many local Juilliard grads, knew many Broadway performers/musicians, played with county, area, and all-state bands, and my first MOS (job) in the military was 02M - percussion player. while I know far more about the intricacies of music than most, I cant say my life is any better/worse for the education than friends and family without it. Many of them have a deeper love of music than I do, I get my fill after an hour or two whereas others listen practically all-day, every day.

I will always support a basic arts program and sports as fun elective sidebars to a STEM education but I would never support any K-12 program that focused on them outside of the small handful of Juilliard'esque schools. Far too many parents today spend huge bucks pushing their kids through programs designed for the 0.00001% rather than preparing them for the realities of life.

RE: STE(A)M

cranky and CWB1: I always like to tell the story of my band in high school. Two went on to become engineers, two professional musicians, and one financial services guy. Four of the five of us could have chosen to study anything we wanted- and the financial services guy had no problem getting into a good university program of his choice either. The guy earning the best living out of the five of us is one of the professional musicians. You've never heard of him- he's not any kind of 0.0001% guy. But if you've watched the popular syndicated TV series Murdoch Mysteries, you've heard his music, and hence the advertisers have paid him money for the privilege. He has his hand in a hundred other things too, but his business writing music for film and TV is the thing that makes the money. The other four are all doing just fine- the two engineers because we both found a way to get some ownership rather than just being employees. Same with the financial services guy, and the other musician- we're all businessmen rather than just employees, to a lesser or greater degree, and that seemed to make the difference.

All of us have a passion for music that has enriched our lives, and had that passion encouraged in high school, even though some of us were destined for other paths from the get-go. There's far more to education than mere job training, and the second we forget that, we destroy this for our kids.

What drives me nuts is the presumption that forcing kids against their nature and inclination to go into something a parent considers to be "practical" is actually good advice for the kids. Sure, sometimes kids need a kick in the pants and a dose of reality to teach them something. However much of the motivation to push kids toward something practical arises from fear which comes from a lack of imagination and faith in what kids can manage in the future. And in these days when we seem to be drowning in the graduates of every kind of university program including engineering, it makes even less sense than ever to push kids in one direction or another. Parents have to be wary of the value of their own advice in relation to the future- like the advice my grandfather gave my dad when he asked to borrow money to start his mechanic's business in the 1950s. Grandpa was a farmer and managed to feed 10 kids through the Depression, so he told dad to buy a farm so he wouldn't starve since cars were obviously a fad...fortunately my mom's father was a more progressive lender!

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