The S.T.E.A.M. Engine

A team of three students from other backgrounds at NCSU and myself have begun a project to find a way to get creativity and arts into science and math classes in high schools. With the help of the MGD’s own design computation professor, Derek Ham, and Ph.D. student, Panda, we have a new tool to play with ideas.

Let me back up for a moment…

In the past few years RISD, Brown, Yale, MIT, The New School, Boston University, Rutgers and Harvard have collected students and faculty that are the engine behind the push from STEM to STEAM. For those who do not know, STEM is an acronym for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math industry. STEAM aims to add ARTS to the equation. “What does art have to do with any of those subjects?” I asked at first. Best explained by Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, the idea behind the push is that the best breakthroughs in STEM industries, have and still come from those who apply creativity to their practice, research and discovery. Economics of US constantly implies that innovation in these fields will bring the graphs going back up. In order to do this we need, creativity in these fields. “How do we do this?” is the real question.

While the big institutions are working endlessly to reach policymakers and government officials, our small team here at NCSU is working to find ways that teachers K-12 can implement more creativity in their classrooms and less black and white answers. As of recent, we have been researching and interviewing teachers from a variety of grades and socioeconomic areas about their thoughts. “How?” is still the big question, but Derek and Panda have a new piece of simple but miraculous software that can turn a drawing into a 3D world called Panoform. The possibilities are vast, but best ways to use it are the current discussion. Many teachers have a set curriculum they are required to cover in the short period of time they have with their students. How do we fit it in? What can we transfer into a creative learning experience while covering the same material?

Try it out!

The discussion continues, but we plan to have calculated suggestions within the next month and a half. Post suggestions and thoughts, and I will reply with a follow-up.