STEM based learning and Art: STEAM

I have recently come across a number of articles about science and art.  I read an interesting article on scientists trying to quantify and explain our personal taste in art, and came across another article showcasing filmmaker Alice Dunseath’s petri-dish Beta and Theta wave artworks.  There is always some great news story out there about science used to explain art, or the marrying of the two.  As subjects they are very different but they are also very similar.  Much like maths and art.  And come to think of it, engineering.  And also technology.  When you really come down to it, art straddles many, if not all, subjects, and all learning is interwoven.  Young children learn so much from creative play, they develop fine motor skills, empathy and social skills, and it is also a form of sensory exploration.  Older students and children can embrace broader subjects and understanding through their creativity.

So it was not surprising when I came across an article about the art based learning of STEM, or STEAM. [STEM programs are Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  The article appeared in the Huffington Post on 7 December 2015, and it is titled Arts Based Learning of STEM Works Says NSF Funded Research Firm.

It discusses, with huge statistical evidence, the benefits of learning through creativity.  It’s an interesting read, and it almost seems obvious that creative thinking, as a model of holistic learning and through incorporating all learning under the umbrella of education as opposed to individual subjects, is the way forward.  The Finnish are doing it already… When I studied special education and areas of art therapy many years ago at University, this was an intrinsic aspect of the learning experience.  It is also an aspect of Montessori and Steiner education, student led creative learning experiences.  I may be thinking very broad here to be linking STEAM with Steiner, but

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Since writing this post I have come across more articles in the area of creative learning and STEM.

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STEM based learning and Art: STEAM

Creative subjects in the UK curriculum – 5 Nov. 2015 article

I came across this article from Arts Professional, titled The right to a creative childhood, by Maggie Atkinson, on 5 November 2015.  It is about the United Kingdom and creative subjects in the curriculum.  It discusses how the education system has undergone changes over the past five years, including the introduction of a national curriculum (like what is being developed here with the Australian Curriculum).

The article goes on further to discuss how the EBacc (the English Baccalaureate), which is a set of subjects, which do not include the arts, may become the default curriculum for secondary education, and the issues of access to cultural organisations for students.  The author then poses ways arts organisations can support local community initiatives in engaging students with culture.

I found it an interesting read in relation to current international issues surrounding creative education in the classroom, and how important it is to actually have students engage with cultural organisations.

Read the article in full here: http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/289/feature/right-creative-childhood?utm_source=Weekly-Good-Reads&utm_medium=email&utm_content=The-right-to-a-creative-childhood&utm_campaign=12th-November-2015

Creative subjects in the UK curriculum – 5 Nov. 2015 article

Black Mountain College, U.S.A. 1933-1957

I stumbled upon this article in the New York Times, titled Learn By Painting by Louis Menand from 27 October 2015.  It talks about the Black Mountain College that operated from 1933 to 1957 in North Carolina, U.S.A.  It discusses this small liberal arts college in regards to its structure, curriculum and teaching basis, and how it all centered around art-making:

“What made Black Mountain different from other colleges was that the center of the curriculum was art-making. Students studied pretty much whatever they wanted, but everyone was supposed to take a class in some kind of artistic practice—painting, weaving, sculpture, pottery, poetry, architecture, design, dance, music, photography. The goal was not to produce painters, poets, and architects. It was to produce citizens.”

Visit the article in full here: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/learn-by-painting

Black Mountain College, U.S.A. 1933-1957