March 30, 2020
STEAM Learning In and Out of School

STEAM Learning In and Out of School

– For this particular session,
we’re very excited about it. This is an opportunity not
only for the faculty at MST, which is mathematics,
science and technology to come together to discuss
some things that we’ve been talking about for a
little while, but it also is an opportunity to engage in
the conversation with you too so in our department, we have
been having conversations about STEAM as well as STEM
and what’s the difference, how are they different,
how do they come together, so again, you’re gonna have
the opportunity to engage with us as we engage
with each other around some of the discussions
that we’ve been having in the department, there will
be three rounds of questions that I will ask to my colleagues,
but then there will also be a fourth round, this fourth
round is for you to engage with us as well, so I’m gonna
tell you what the three rounds of questioning will be,
I’ll give you an opportunity to write down your questions
for any of the rounds, but for round four it’s you. You get an opportunity to ask
questions to engage with us. So. For this round, and I also
would like, I guess I should have them introduce themselves
too, so they’re just gonna introduce themselves when
I tell them to introduce themselves, they are just
gonna tell their name, tell their program
because we have a number of different programs
within our department. And then they’re gonna
share one fun thing they did that could be considered
STEAM so we can start thinking about that, but for the
question we will have, the three rounds, as I
mentioned, round one would be, what does STEAM mean? Round two is, what
problems can STEAM solve? And then round three is,
what are exciting new ways to think about STEAM education
for now and in the future? So I’d like to welcome our
colleagues to the forum as well and so they can just
again, say their names, their program, and then
they’re gonna tell you what did they do for STEAM this week? We’ll start, I don’t know,
let’s start at the end. This is our department
chair as well, Erica Walker. – Thank you very much, I’m Erica Walker, I’m very happy to be here,
and I am in the program of mathematics education, I’m
a professor in that program as well as being the department chair and I will say that… Something fun related to STEAM this week. Last night, actually, I went to a… I went to a museum here in the
city, the Fritz Collection, it was amazing and
everything and we looked up and there was a music
concert in the music room which is a very sort of
beautiful architecturally, this gorgeous room and
the acoustics in this room were so amazing as I
was enjoying the music, I found myself looking at the room, because it was also a
perfectly round room. Andi started thinking about
is that why the acoustics in here are so great, and
I started thinking about how could we test that, what could we do with young kids to think
about a rectangular box room like this one, the
acoustics in those rooms versus do we need some rounded corners to make the sound bounce
better and to sound so great? So that was really fun for me in addition to going to the Fritz to see art and thinking about these
sort of STEAM questions as I was listening to that great concert. – My name’s… My name is Nick Wasserman
and I’m also a faculty member in the program of mathematics,
assistant professor. Something fun related to
STEAM, this is nowhere near the fun that Dr. Walker
just described, but in preparation for the STEAM
nasium, which is later today, I’ve been designing some
activities that use technology to explore mathematical
ideas, I had both my parents who happened to be in town who haven’t seen or thought about
mathematics in a long time and my young children
explore and engage with those and it was fun for me
to see how they engaged with some of those ideas, so. – Hi, my name is Ioana Literat,
I’m an assistant professor in the communication, media
and learning technology design program, something
fun related to STEAM that I did this week, I’m
gonna talk about something fun that’s not related to my
research even though I think that my research in relationship
to STEAM is fun too. But since last Sunday was
Easter, last weekend I made an Easter wreath and I
crafted it, I’m really into crafting recently, and I… Shared my design in an
online crafting community on Reddit, I got solutions
to problems I was facing, like how to position the
bunnies so that he’s seen well from all sides, you know,
kind of problems you would encounter making an Easter wreath and then afterwards I also
uploaded my final design and we talked about it
together which was really fun and I’m happy with the final product. – Hi, I’m Sandra Okita,
I’m an associate professor in the communication, media
and learning technologies design program, I am also
the program coordinator. So the fun thing that
I did, STEAM related, is yesterday I went to go
see Ready Player One in 4DX. (laughs) Was that necessary,
I’m not quite sure, but what was interesting is that… It showed a lot of the
interaction between the technology developer as well as the user. They used VR technology
to augment physical and cognitive abilities in humans. They also showed data
mining, which has a lot to do with computational mathematics. As well as the, I guess, ethical
dilemmas that are involved in using this type of technology
and who’s gonna run it so I feel that is the full
STEAM right there, thank you. – It’s not a competition,
you don’t have to win. (audience laughs) – That’s the key phrase. – Hi, I’m Nathan Holbert,
I’m an assistant professor in the communications, media
and learning technologies design program as well,
something STEAM related, my daughter the other day, said to me, she’s three years old, she
says, Daddy, I want to make a robot, and I was like,
awesome, let’s definitely make a robot and so we
spent the weekend, she, and this was all her,
she designed it on paper with a marker, she drew
what she wanted her robot to look like and what she
wanted her robot to do and then we got cardboard,
we had some microcontrollers lying around because that’s
the kind of person I am and we made a little robot
together and it was awesome and cute and fun and we
did all sorts of math and we did some programming together. And lots and lots of art
involved in it as well and we had a great time. – Great, so thank you,
colleagues, for that. So I asked this with to them
because I wanted you also to see how much STEAM is
connected to our personal lives on a daily basis and so
for you to think about where are those connections
to STEAM in your lives and also connections to young people. It’s good to see some young
people, I saw a couple walk in, and so to have them also present to think about the experiences
they have with STEAM. So now I want to get to
some questions around… What does STEAM really mean? How do we think about it? What does it mean, so it’s
represented by four different areas when we say STEAM
as science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. But what does that really
mean to us in our daily work and also even our personal work? Anybody? (audience laughs) – I can start. So I think for me it’s a
question of what should it ideally mean and then
what does it often mean in practice the way
that it’s talked about. For me ideally it’s about
creating connections between disciplines, moving
us from subject centric to or at least towards a people centric… Form of education and view on education. I think in practice it’s
often associated with economic discourses and
I think that’s where a lot of the problems stem from
that we’re gonna be talking about today too, that it’s
an educational construct but it’s also an economic imperative or an economic construct. And I think it’s… Two other caveats I want
to mention very quickly. I’m sure we’ll come back to
these issues in this panel. One, I do think it matters in
terms of defining the terms, it matters if we talk
about STEM versus STEAM. To me I think those two terms
do have really important definitional and also… Definitional aspects and also
aims, what they are trying to achieve, what they are
trying to tell us, and second, that it means different
things to different people so to us as scholars,
researchers, professors, educators it might mean one thing, it
might mean something else to policy makers, to
administrators, to parents, to students themselves, so
it’s also really important to acknowledge those
differences of interpretation and how and why they are valuable. – Yeah, one of… One of the things that I
think has become increasingly apparent to me as we’ve
discussed STEAM and STEM in some of our department
meetings is related to what Ioana said, to me, I actually
see them as fundamentally sort of different ideas,
but they’re not necessarily a modification of one, that
STEAM wasn’t a modification of STEM, and I don’t necessarily see them as competing
either, I just see them as very different, so
STEAM to me signifies this idea of interdisciplinary-ness. This idea that the study of the arts and education is benefited
through the study of mathematics or economics or biology, that when we think about
education, these interdisciplinary connections are really
meaningful and valuable in all facets, STEM to
me was a uniting around topics that have some sort of inherent… Connectedness. And has some similar
interdisciplinary idea that the education in science, technology, engineering and math should
benefit from each other but to me they’re sort
of, they started from two different places and that’s
been an interesting thing for me to kind of think through. – Okay, so when I think of
STEM, I might think about the product, like,
creating a robot, right, and then, or any kind of
technological artifact that uses science, technology,
engineering, mathematics. But when I think of STEAM,
then it brings in the user so it no longer becomes just
the design of the artifact or product, but it’s
designing the relationship between the artifact and
the user and so that’s where I put in the A. – Yeah, I’ve actually been
thinking a fair amount about the difference
between STEM and STEAM and how I feel about the difference between STEM and STEAM,
I’ve never really been, you know, intimately
connected to the acronym of STEM, it sort of felt
like an arbitrary set of letters that got put
together for all sorts of interesting, perhaps political
reasons, so if you wanted to add an extra letter to
it, it’s like eh, sure, I guess that’s fine, you
know, we could call it STEAM, I’ve been arguing for MEATS for a while, hasn’t caught on yet,
perhaps it will, tho, after this week, but I think
even maybe despite the fact that maybe they came together,
these letters come together for political reasons or
sometimes arbitrary reasons, I think they communicate
something and we need to sort of think deeply about what they communicate and whether or not we feel
strongly about that communication and I think, when I think
about the difference between STEM and STEAM for me and I think others have
echoed this as well, it’s sort of a difference
between a focus on economics versus a focus on humanity,
right, and I think that matters. So STEAM kind of being
conceived of as an educational effort to focus our
attention on the concepts, the practices, the domains
that are important for technological innovation
or for economic prosperity but when you add that A,
you know, as Ioana said, I think you recenter
humanity there, right, you reattend to the fact
that these innovations, these tools, these
environments and to also echo Sandra here, they’re used by
thinking and feeling humans, right, and that strikes me
as something that matters and I also want to just
quickly note that when we talk about these things being used
by humans or these things being designed for humanity,
we have to be talking about all humanity, right,
and when we think about… STEM, I think it’s always
important for us to suggest that we should care about
things like social justice and we should care about
equity but I think STEAM necessarily needs to focus
or necessarily attends to… Social justice and humanity
and so by, you know, shifting, by putting that A into
that conversation there of science, technology,
engineering and mathematics, I think it refocuses our
attention to the lives of all humans and to
the values and practices that are tied up with those
particular domains as well. – Thank you colleagues for all this. I know in the audience we
have teachers that are present and other educators, could
you offer us some examples of what a STEAM curriculum
could possibly look like? What could they do in
their practice to emphasize a STEAM focus in their classrooms? – I would just follow up briefly
on the previous comments. about the importance of our
discussions in our department to create a space for us to
talk about STEM and STEAM. Through our work and to
think about how to make our work more interdisciplinary
and I think something that echoed throughout all
the responses to the last question was about being invitational. And I think there are
some other disciplines that are much better at
inviting people to come in and to learn through their
philosophies and to do the work and to teach all students
and I think STEM and STEAM both have some work to do in that regard and so when we talk about
opportunities and opportunities that people, not just
young people in school but people in the world
and adults have to… Develop their knowledge
of these very important concepts, we want to provide
a sort of lifelong learning lens and be invitational
about bringing people into our fields. And curriculum is one way to do that, and I think people will have
things to say about that. (audience laughs) – I think in thinking about
the five components of STEAM, another important and interesting
question that comes up is usually, at least
rhetorically if you look at the discourses around
it, the A and the T are often means to an end, right? Using art and using technology
to achieve these STEM or STEAM related outcomes. So in thinking about
curriculum I would also push back, I don’t know
if push back or just push against that a little bit
so that we can think more critically and more reflexively, are they things in
themselves, or are they means to other things. – So the second round of
questioning is gonna be around what problems can STEAM solve? What problems can STEAM solve? So what questions are asked
and potentially addressed when we think about and consider STEAM? Or what kinds of problems
should people be able to solve because of STEAM, colleagues? – I have actually been
thinking about this a lot. For a number of I think very good reasons, related to politics in this country and there’s a lot of discussion
around media literacy and sort of thinking about
people really need to have STEM literacy in combination
with media literacy and so the types of arguments that
are made for and against certain policy proposals,
if we did a better job as educators and researchers of designing curriculum with a big C,
so not just textbooks or… Other things that people get
in school, but ways to… Help people understand the
importance of a STEM based argument for and against
something with facts and evidence and data, so I think it’s
becoming really critical… It’s always been critical
but I think it’s becoming even more critical in
this particular era of… Back and forth and
labeling things, fake news and labeling things, quote,
bad science or junk science, so I think that’s one implication. Excuse me. – So I think one question
that we had was… What kind of problems do
they solve or I see many. Not really solved but
has potential to address or kind of move towards solving. I think one is in the area of careers, interest in STEM careers, so I
know children pretty early on in their elementary school
may deselect the STEM career. One because, one of the
reasons they say is because possibly they don’t see
themselves in a particular career area and they might study
math, they might study each of the STEM areas but
they’re not really able to picture themselves applying
that to a real world setting and I think the STEM, STEAM,
what it does is it shows how it can be applied to
the real world setting and then certain areas, such
as biomedical engineering or genomic research or… Pharmaceuticals, those are all
very much interdisciplinary areas that are fastly growing
and so I think it will allow them to see each of the subjects that they are studying is a form of tool or a
skill that they are using to resolve certain
problems in the real world and I think the, as Nick
mentioned, the interdisciplinary nature of these growing
industries kind of show that so I feel that could help. Another thing I’ve noticed
is what kind of problems, so for example, if you’re
doing, like, genetic research, the reason why I’m saying this
is I had a graduate student from science ed, Adam
Stephanil, had come to me because he’s taking one of
my courses and he’s trying to figure out how does
technology play a role, how can we create a specific
STEM STEAM related artifacts in relation to spreading out
or helping the K through 12 schools study genome
research or putting that into their curriculum and it
gave us a good amount of time to think about, okay, if you
want to do genomic research or genetic engineering, you
have to use computational mathematics, right, that
speeds up the process, you have to see patterns,
right, and so that can tell how each of these things
can be a very strong tool to resolving certain problems
within the real world. So those are the few… – I would just like to
pick up on one thing that Sandra mentioned in
terms of young people knowing about STEM careers and STEAM
careers and it’s not just about sort of being career
ready, it’s about being life ready, being college
ready, being community ready as one of our colleagues
in the audience said. And I think popular culture is
a really important mechanism for promoting representations
of people doing STEM, STEAM, there’ve been a
number of films recently that have come out that really
highlight women, for example, in these STEM careers and they’re, through their storytelling they’re inviting young people
and not so young people to see themselves in a
different way and to be curious about things they might not
have been curious about before. I’m thinking particularly
about the movie Hidden Figures and the Black Panther film,
and how the representations of science and scientists
are really important and you see this
interdisciplinary work happening onscreen and behind the screen
which I think is very… Compelling and can be
compelling to young people, so. – I want to add on that too,
you know, who participates in these domains and
who designs and who are the engineers or who are the scientists, like, those things definitely
matter, those things matter for what we create and those things matter for whether or not the
things that we create actually represent the people
that live in the world, right, ’cause we’re a very diverse bunch that live on this rock that
flies through space, right, so I think we need to be thinking about not just who is
represented in these spaces but also I think we need to open up our… Perspectives on what counts
as STEM a little bit. The thing that we usually
consider STEM comes from a pretty specific framing, you know, traditionally a kind of Western
idea of what it looks like to do science or what it
looks like to do mathematics. There’s a certain kind
of person that we imagine that does STEM. And there’s often good
reasons why those particular perspectives have become
dominant within STEM but we often don’t question whether or not those are the only perspectives
that could have value for doing STEM and for
innovating in these domains and so I think one thing
that adding that A does is also trying to open
our eyes up to places where STEM is happening that
we don’t traditionally look. We might try to find new models
of STEM that are out there that I think would inform how
we engage in these practices and that would bring new
people into the fold, of these domains and of these
communities that we serve, that we sort of set for
ourselves and in doing so will necessarily lead to
interesting innovation. If we kind of keep this place closed off, we’re gonna kind of keep
creating the same things and those are gonna be
just for a small segment of the population, right, so
I do think necessarily need to open up our eyes to new and novel forms of practices of STEM in
other places for us to really move forward and to innovate. – You actually touched
upon, Nathan, the third area of the conversation and so
as we’re a little bit limited in time cause we started a little bit late because we also wanted
to have an opportunity to really engage your questions,
engage the conversation with you and so that last
point that Nathan made was around the area of what does… STEM, how can we see STEM in the future? What are the ways hat STEM
might be more motivating to young people, might it be more… Engaging to young people
and so as I said before, we have some young people in the audience and sometimes young
can be relative, right? Depending upon how you look at your age. But what are some new
ways and exciting ways that we might be able to
think about STEM education now and into the future. – So I… I’ll tie in some of my
comments to that question but thinking about the
kinds of problems that STEAM might be able to solve, one
of the things that strikes me is just there are
differences, epistemologically between these different
areas, there’s differences ontologically, the difference
between mathematics and science… These are areas of study
because there are differences and there’s different
approaches to solving problems. Across these different domains
and so one of the things that’s exciting to me
is just the idea that… As you’re accustomed to a
particular kind of approach, a particular kind of framing of a problem, that by integrating domains
you get different perspectives on how to approach that same problem in a way that’s necessarily beneficial and so the kinds of
problems that I think STEAM will be able to solve
and the kinds of answers that I think it will be
able to give are necessarily richer because they’re
providing different perspectives on the same topic and so
this is one of those areas I think when we think about education, that’s important to kind of highlight, that there’s new ways of thinking… It’s not just the sum of four
different discrete things but that there’s new
ways of thinking formed by integrating these… Disciplines in education. – Mmhmm. And I think if we’re
thinking about motivations for the students that are
engaging in STEAM practices, a key one for me also because
of the kind of research that I do is creative
confidence and having new platforms to share
their ideas in new ways to new audiences, my research is… Looks at youth online
creative participation. So in my, in the kinds of
online spaces that I look at, I see every day the kind of empowerment students derive from
these platforms and… How it can harness their creative voice, it can harness their creative confidence and if we put this in the context of STEAM and allow them to express
themselves in these interdisciplinary ways
to transdisciplinary, across disciplinary audiences, this can… Facilitate a kind of creative
confidence that I think cannot be facilitated in the
same way through arts alone. Now of course it depends very
much how we define that A or we define the arts. And there’s a lot of
disagreement about this, I think, when thinking about STEAM. Do we define it just as
art or arts or design or design thinking which has itself become kind of a buzzword, do we
define it as humanities, do we define it as
everything that is not STEM, so then that’s the A in STEAM, so I think these are important questions but for me I just want,
because of my research I’m wanting to stress this
idea of creative confidence and just new forms, new
audiences, new possibilities that STEAM based expression
can give to youth. – So there’s a few things,
so my research is using technological artifacts such
as robotics, robotic systems, and the robot is… A full STEAM, STEM object because it involves a lot of things, technology, math, science, engineering as well as the A because when
you develop these artifacts, for example, self driving
cars, that might be one thing where you have to
come up with new policy, new regulation, new rules,
and how, what is allowed and what’s not and so I
think bringing students into a situation where they have
to realize that this one topic area involves all these
STEM, STEAM areas would help and I think including that
into the curriculum would help. Another thing is for the
professionals in each of the fields I think they have to have this open mind of the different methodologies
that’s been using the evaluation, the type
of data that they use. I think different types
of data analyzed together can actually show you a
whole different picture so rather than just having
our regular learning measures we might have, like,
physiological measures. We have all these
different types of measures that will tell a story, a
different story or a new insight from a different angle and so as… I guess instructors, when
we create curriculum, we should encourage those
different methodologies, assessments, measures and
kind of work with the students to kind of see what helps what. – Some of my–
– No, no, go ahead. – Some of my latest
research has been exploring the use of storytelling for
math, learning and socialization and I think that… Human beings are natural storytellers and we invite this a
lot when we do research or we teach in other domains so there’s… A robust body of research
in literacy practices and how we facilitate those. There’s not really an analogous literature on math practices and so
my work on storytelling has evolved from a study
I did with mathematicians who I interviewed about their
formative and educational professional experiences with mathematics and they tended to tell a lot of stories and the stories they told
were about learning math both within school but
also out of school spaces, so picking up on Nathan’s
point about looking for spaces that promote this kind of
thinking, this kind of learning that aren’t maybe the
traditional spaces that we think about but are also more invitational and so when I think about
moving into a new direction for math education in particular
but also for STEM learning I think this notion of
honoring our humanness as storytellers and
thinking about the stories that we tell about mathematics,
what kinds of stories get told, what mathematics
content can be gleaned from these stories, quite a
bit, actually, when we analyze them and look at them so I
suspect, because I’ve already had some conversations with colleagues, that this could become a broader
study around STEM stories and the stories that people
tell about their engaging with these STEM concepts and STEAM stories which I think my first example of being in this concert hall might
have been an example of the STEAM story perhaps. So as you’re also thinking,
I did pose three questions for you to think about if
you did not have anything to think about, but think about this. What does STEAM look
like in your own life? What are your ideas of STEAM? And what did you learn from
the conversation today? So all of those could be
opportunities for you to engage with us, so we have a person in the back that has the microphone and
if you can say your name. – Hi, I’m Christiana
Somsom, I am an alumni, I graduated in 2002, and I
was a STEAM department chair at a high school in Brazil,
at Sao Paolo we implemented the first STEAM curriculum,
we had a high school for 2700 students there and
we had a lot of challenges and what you put in,
we thought a lot about, the STEM, the STEAM,
and I loved how you put, how it brings in the human
design because my background is in science and we have
a lot, putting STEAM into a school brings a lot of opportunities, first of all with the teachers themselves, so we spent a whole year with the teachers planning the curriculum,
so we had a lot of, we looked at a lot of
schools, a lot of ideas, a lot of models of activities
that were happening. We had robotics project,
we had the science fair, we had a lot of things going
on but I think one of the main things that the STEAM curriculum
brought was the opportunity for the teachers to work
together and the science teachers and the art teachers and
begin to learn about all these different perspectives
and how if you think about a project, what the different
perspectives can bring. And it was an amazing opportunity. We did use design thinking
to build a curriculum. It’s a buzzword but it works really well because it does bring
the human centered design into the elements. The teachers had never worked
thinking about that and… As we worked with the
students, it also brings an opportunity to empower the students because when you look at
projects that one of the things, the elements that’s
important to think about is that the students choose
something that’s significant to them, it has to make sense to them and many students want
to help the community they are in and even
though they were very well empowered students from
a high economical status, they began to realize the importance, so we would have students
who would do projects like building an app to
help elderly have some companionship, so we brought
the emotional element into it, we’ve had to think
about social emotional learning. We had to grade them,
so we had to think about assessment, how do you bring assessment into a STEAM curriculum? So I really thank you
for all your perspectives and research because of
all of this is part of a curriculum when you put it into a school but you really have to involve all the, even the teachers, the
students, the administrators because it’s a new culture in the school and it’s so important to look at, we had a hard time thinking
about the contribution of the A, you know,
because we were, we had the science fair, we
had all those different science projects but I really fell in love with the A of the STEAM
because that’s when you brought in the human centered design of the whole thing, so. It’s just a comment, I
don’t have a question, I just wanted to share,
thank you so much for that. – [Felicia] We have lots of hands. – Thank you very much, I
also wanted to share my STEAM project, I teach writing for engineering. 10 years ago when they gave me that course I realized there is no poetry
in the course material. I’m a poet, I’m also a
minority, I come from a poetry culture and I
incorporated an assignment of poetry for engineering
students which is written about technical objects and
then I collect those poems and publish them in a
journal of technical poetry, I call it technical poetry. So it started from my practice of teaching but it became my doctoral dissertation. I graduate this semester,
I’m a PhD candidate in English education. (group claps) Thank you very much, I feel great to hear the perspective of the STEM scholars, but I believe STEAM can
be also in humanities or us, English, we English teachers, teaching writing for
engineering and science and from poetry, as you said, is a channel that releases the student’s imagination and creativity, it boosts
their creative confidence and more than that, they
learn the metaphoric writing and metaphoric thinking
that we poets use them and we bring together a
seemingly disparate concept and in this comparison, the
students can apply it actually in two ways, in their writing
they can, by comparing a complex technical or scientific concept to a similar concept
that is more familiar, they can simplify and
clarify these concepts in their technical writings
for the broad audience of technical documents and
also they can apply that in creative thinking, like… Elio Stone who designed and
invented the first lighthouse, designed it, modeled it on
an oak tree, how oak tree can be resilient and strong in a storm. So such connections, we use
them in poetry all the time and it can be applied in
science and technology, in writing for science and
technology, thank you very much. – I want to respond just briefly to that. It made me think of a few
things that I think are really important and that you brought up. When we talk about STEM or
the practices of science or engineering or any of the
other fields, mathematics, we often assume that they’re
somehow this very technical, very sort of soulless
kind of rigorous approach that we move through and I
think the actual practice of STEM professionals involves
so much feeling and emotion, you know, there’s a lot of
interesting work around the way in which scientists try to
use metaphor to make sense out of what they can’t
actually see or they can’t actually touch, there’s obviously
been lots of work around, things like, you know, Barbara McClintock, where you sort of have a
feeling about how these plants or how this, you know,
artifact or this phenomena is progressing, so I do
think it’s really important for us to not only talk about these things in terms of concepts and practices but also in terms of
sort of the ways in which we might use these concepts and practices from another domain, from the arts domains to really do science, do
mathematics in a professional way. – Good morning everyone, my
name is Alexander Harris Jr. I’m a graduating senior
at Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia and… So I think it’s very
important that we acknowledge the A in STEAM, the arts and whatnot. I’m also a poet, and a lot
of my perspective comes from like a poetic background and
acknowledging the humanness that Professor Kobo was talking about and I feel like a lot
of that has to do with the storytelling as you
were talking about as well. And literacy, so being
that STEM is kind of gradually becoming STEAM,
I kind of find it important that we continue to push
that envelope and perhaps make STEAM into STREAM in
adding reading and writing so I’d like to know
what you all think about how the language arts could
potentially be added into the agenda and advance
along with STEM and STEAM. – So maybe I can reply
to that a little bit, so here at Teachers College,
I teach elementary science methods courses and in
this particular class, we actually use a lot of books
for the preservice teachers to also read during
story time with children. A little bit of that,
getting that interest and motivation around
learning and then they have to take that text and actually
think about what connections to STEM learning is
related to that textbook. So for example, y’all heard
about the Curious Garden? Some of you know about it, it’s
a wonderful, wonderful book and it actually talks about
a young boy who used things for recycling around learning science and so these preservice teachers
actually use the textbook as story time with the young
children and then develop a project for them to go
through their neighborhood and look at different ways
that they can think about recycling products that
they were able to find in their neighborhood or at home, but it had a really great
component to that around reading and writing and they
used also persuasive writing statements around why it
was important to think about recycling, not only for their schools but for their communities, so
I never thought about STREAM before, but I think
it’s really compelling. I think it touches upon the
things that we’ve already been mentioning today
about how do we expand these opportunities for young
people and even ourselves to challenge and take risks
around what do we really mean around STEM or STEAM? What are the different
perspectives that can actually help us to broaden our ideas
and also to broaden the ways we’re learning and teaching,
so it gives me something to think about, never
heard of that before, but thank you for bringing
that to our attention around STREAM, I think we are
probably doing some of that but not as explicitly calling it STREAM. – If I could add one
more to that, is I think terms are shared across,
so when I take the term, like, culture, I think there’s
the international difference in the culture as well as in
specific areas of research there is also a culture but
I think across different domains or research fields,
they share the same terms. They use the same terms but
holds a different meaning and so that, so I think
that is one way to use it as a vehicle to understand
one another through the different STEM fields,
another thing is I think literacy is quite interesting
right now when it comes to, like, areas of… Anime, manga, comics, they
have their own language, they have their own representation and it’s interesting,
it may have generated from one culture and then
it’s become very much universal and worldwide and so looking at each of those feature and
how people interpret it and how it becomes a new
set of language, culture and I think quite
interesting is deeply related to the STEM, STREAM area. – So I… I want to push back a
little bit on the acronym and acronym usage, STEM
to me started out… Sort of discipline oriented,
thinking about disciplines that naturally use and
make use of mathematics in some really meaningful
way, applying mathematics and mathematical modeling
to solve problems. The inclusion of the arts
or reading and writing, to me STEM was never meant to say, these are the four things
that we should focus on at the exclusion of others,
STEM was never meant to say, this is a political movement
that’s economically motivated. STEM to me was a thinking
about disciplines that already have some
inherent connection and overlap but not at the exclusion of other things. It’s not to say that people
who are in STEM disciplines don’t use art, we see art
as inspiration, you know, as people design technology
and then using mathematics. We see these overlaps all
the time so STEM to me as an acronym wasn’t
trying to say these are the things on which we should focus at the exclusion of others and so I worry a little bit, I mean, I’ve had these conversations
too, the inclusion of the A… To me, it’s something just very different. To me it means interdisciplinary. Adding the A is just
simply making the claim that all education should
think about interdisciplinary connections in a way that
says that’s important and I absolutely agree, the
inclusion of reading and writing to me is inherent in that,
so is music, so is, you know, robotics or economics or statistics, all letters that we
could add to this acronym that I think would say we’re
about being interdisciplinary but is there a need for an
acronym that incorporates all possible letters? I don’t know, again, I
don’t think it was… To me, STEAM stands for this
idea of interdisciplinary-ness that includes arts and
reading, writing and language. – While she’s passing the
microphone, I want to make one minor quibble because
it’s more fun if we argue a little bit, right? I do think that some of
these things are motivated for political reasons or
they are kind of constructed intentionally to sort of
say, we should prioritize one more than the other,
so I want to, you know, maybe argue with Nick on
that, but at the same time I want to agree with Nick in that… I don’t think, and I think
others have said this. I don’t think this is about
STEM should become STEAM and now STEAM should become
STREAM, I think it’s both/and, right, I think STEM does
a thing that’s important. I think STEAM does a
think that’s important and STREAM might do a
think that’s important and it’s not that we sort
of need to get rid of the other one and do this
new thing but that they can each have their own sort of
value and use and the end. – Thanks, I’m Sarah Segal
and I graduated from the… Adult learning and
leadership program in 2012. I’m so glad we have this yearly
to come back to, thank you. I got the most out of
Erica’s story upfront about the Fritz getting me
to think about both together and I’m sorry, I’m calling
you by your first name, Sandra also, on robotics,
a robot is the whole thing including if you make it cute
enough, that’s important, so I was gonna talk about having been a comparative literature major who’s worked at IBM for almost 27 years and how that happened
and it doesn’t matter and how I manage a team
of learning scientists who used to be called learning designers and how we’ve rebranded ourselves. I won’t talk about that
because I really want to come back to Nick’s
acronym, it reminds me so much of when people say, oh,
for God’s sake, LGBTQIA, you know, how long is
this acronym gonna get. It’s about inclusion, so
I actually really do love the idea of adding more and
more letters explicitly. You know, whether we
literally do that or whether we really just all agree
that there has to be a mile long acronym to include
these forms of learning, thanks. – Hi, I’m Eli Siegal, I’m an
alumni, I graduated in 2011 from the cognitive psychology
indication program. Working closely with the
communication media program. So… Related to all this, a last comment. I feel that there is really a core problem that the domains in most
traditional schools, less in the progressive
ones, are still separated by, so there are maybe maker
space, genius hours that kind of try to combine
and students can work on project that are actually STEAM. But there seems like
the interdisciplinary… Is not natural enough for many teachers and so I’m running a
nonprofit for interactive video platform and I work
with many teachers and… We encourage students to
be scientists, activists, broadcasters, so they
really actually integrating and the teachers that
work with us are teachers from across the domains
so it can be language, or STEM or even music teachers, so it’s really interesting
to see how they implement it in very different ways
in their classrooms, but the one thing that I found challenging for some of the teachers,
especially ones that do not come from the STEM area, is that it’s… Their domains are kind of isolated. And only in this genius
hour or maker space they can implement this STEAM project and I wonder what you
think about, I don’t know, either defining a STEAM domain for itself, so we have specialists in STEAM and that’s how we push these forward instead of having, because
I do agree that you need to teach these domains separately as well, but where it comes together,
it’s many times in PBL projects in progressive schools,
that that’s how they teach so it’s more natural to
them, it’s interdisciplinary in the core. My kids go to Bank Street and
that’s very much, you know, how they do it, but… My question to you, like,
how do we push it forward so it’s more natural to
teachers to incorporate that and not having it again
as isolated domains? – I think a key ingredient is openness and I feel we’re seeing
more and more openness in terms of STEAM and
integrating STEAM in and out of school. On the one hand, there’s a
need for conceptual clarity, especially looking at
the literature on STEAM and STEM, there’s just
so much disagreement. So on the one hand yes, there
is a need for conceptual clarity in some ways, in other ways, I do think that there’s
also an opportunity to rejoice in the disagreements and STEAM itself is very
context specific, right, so I do think there are
some advantages in a certain kind of richness in… Really embracing the kind
of STEAM that works for you and what it means for
you and for your context. I do think we run into
problems when we’re talking about acronyms and thinking
about the relationships between the S, T, E,
A, and M, for instance, we often see S, T, E, brackets A, right? And the M, and that makes the
A seem like an afterthought and here I am quoting our
doctoral student, Carl Oliver, who yesterday tweeted
for our STEAM wish tree, which, by the way, we’re gonna
talk too in a second about, so we have a STEAM wish
tree that’s gonna be in our STEAM nasium from one to four and if you can’t make
it, you can also leave us a digital wish for STEAM. And his wish was that art
would not be an afterthought with a capital A and I do
think that’s something that we should keep in mind,
and it was so well put. – If I can add one more,
I don’t think teachers have to use all of the
STEAM or the STREAM. I think they could pick and choose. I believe each of those
are tools, like in math, equations could be tools,
technology, algorithms can be tools and so carefully
picking and choosing to fit your content area I
think is gonna be much more effective than trying to
incorporate all as a surface level. I think we should go in depth a little bit and so I think it’s, that’s
part of the unique creation and design should be able
to pick and choose to make. – I think there are so many
different ways to think about this and this is why we’re
having this yearlong discussion in our department, because
we are in this department together, mathematics,
science and technology and we’re often asked and
we do research, we write about STEM and STEAM, we’re
asked to do professional development opportunities,
so we really need to have these conversations and get
input from you which you can do through our website, which I
know Felicia’s gonna talk about but I, as a lifelong teacher
and just as a human being, I think the context matters, and I also think there
are so many opportunities in the world to talk about
all of these things together so my favorite thing on
the planet is probably the Brooklyn Bridge, for example, right? It’s a work of art, it’s
beautiful, there’s a lot of mathematics in it, the symmetry. The way the cables cross
and create all these wonderful polygons, the science of dealing with the river currents
and figure out how deep they needed to put those
pylons, the technology that was invented to
basically build that bridge and how it’s one of the
oldest bridges in New York and it’s probably in the best condition compared to some of the newer
bridges so just thinking about it, the Brooklyn Bridge,
as an opportunity to talk about all of these things
and to talk about history and politics that originally was made to connect two cities,
Brooklyn and New York City because of, you see I could
talk about this ad nauseum, but the point is, what a
rich discussion to have in the classroom with people
of all ages or in your home or in your church or synagogue and so I think I want to push us to think about times when
it’s appropriate to focus on mathematics, I’m always
gonna be in favor of that, as a mathematics educator,
but I think there are so many opportunities that we’re
not capitalizing on to talk about all of
these things together. The poems that have been written
about the Brooklyn Bridge that incorporate a lot of these ideas. – My name is Cathy Morren
and I’m sitting here smiling, sometimes laughing, because
I’m opened up to remember where technology fit in a
teacher’s college in the 1970s and ’80s and it speaks
to a lot of what you’re talking about. And there’s a funny backstory to it. Technology was always in
the curriculum department and I taught in the curriculum department and I argued for technology
to stay in the curriculum department, I came to
Teachers College, excuse me, with a math, physics background,
went into the science department, and realized
I wanted something much broader that I could
take to the community. So I went into the curriculum department because of the technology. And I remember there were
photography courses… Self instructional
courses, it was a fantastic technology department within curriculum. And I can remember somebody saying once, technology is everywhere,
art has always had technology, it’s always had science, you mix the paints, you prepare the… The medium that you’re working. Technology is everywhere and I sort of, I get a little nutsy when I
think that it’s been pulled out but one thing that was said
was that when John Dewey was here, you have to look at technology in a historical context,
high tech for John Dewey was a piece of chalk and a slate board and I think that’s something
good to keep in mind. The idea of reading and
writing, you go back, that was always there,
technology is integral to every subject area, every
educational setting and this is the humorous
part, I think it’s funny. I sat in on the meeting
when the professors at a department meeting decided to move technology out of curriculum and into the math and science department. And it had more to do, had
nothing to do with technology. It was two professors not getting along and one wanted to get away from the other and people decided, so be it. So a lot of history, there’s a backstory. And I have been dying to
share that with you today. (audience laughs) – Hi, my name is Rachel. I’m a professional dancer,
and I am also a public school teacher in district 75, we
serve children with severe to profound disabilities and
I work in grades K through two as the literacy through movement teacher and honestly, I never really
thought, oh, I use a STEAM approach (laughs) until I sat in here and really reflected and
I want to just bring, we were asked to reflect
on what does STEAM mean to us and what’s our idea of
STEAM, and I want to bring a lens of a special education
teacher working with children with severe to profound
disabilities, many who are nonverbal and severely cognitively
delayed and we talked about how that A kind of seems
like an afterthought but as I reflect, I lead with
the A so as a professional dancer, that’s my entry point. Many of our students who are nonverbal, the arts give them a
way to be able to show their understanding and
learning through other avenues and other subjects, so
we get to the science because we started with a
song and then we moved it into some movement and we
taught the life cycle of a frog and so it’s so interrelated
and also with the STREAM and the reading and the
writing, so as I just reflect on everything that everyone
has said, that A is not an afterthought or a means
to an end but a means to get towards other learning in other areas. And I just wanted to share that. – Thank you so much for that. (audience applauds) So I definitely want to
thank everybody for coming to this panel to hear
colleagues and yourselves to talk about what is STEM, what is STEAM and all and for you to
think even a little bit more personally about the
work that you are doing in these particular areas,
but the conversation does not have to end here, so we
have a beautiful website. There it is there where
you have an opportunity to look at as it grows with
us and our own thinking but there is a survey at
the bottom of the website and we would like for
you to go to the website and complete the survey
because it’s gonna give us some additional information
to help us to think about as a department what we
are gonna be able to do. She’s gonna scroll down. We also, a little bit later
today, have our STEAM nasium so this is an opportunity
for you to go and play, for you to engage yourself
in some STEAM and STREAM and maybe perhaps there are
things that will be going on in this STEAM nasium and
we also have a beautiful STEAM wish tree, and this
is also a chance for you to talk about writing down
your wishes for STEAM education or even STEM education or
anything else related to that that you want to be able
to do so we’re very excited about all the things we’re
being able to do as a department is leading us into new
directions, expanding our view of how we look at our
work, but really for me, I think about it in the
context of the children, so everything that I do,
everything I think about is for the children and
how we might be able to open up opportunities
for them in STEM or STEAM, for them to think about the
questions that they have that they are very curious
about and giving them the opportunity to grow and to learn and so again, we’re very
appreciative to our colleagues who have sat on the panel, let’s give them a round of applause. (audience applauds) We’re also very thankful for
you coming to share with us in this particular
session so give yourselves a round of applause. (audience applauds) And just finally enjoy the
rest of the academic festival. Thank you for being here
today with us, thank you.

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