Arts are Important

What is STEM?

There is so much talk about STEM in education circles these days.

It is the buzzword of the decade.  But what is it?  STEM is simply an acronym for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  The sudden focus on STEM education derives from the arising need to compete in the global economy and be at the forefront of innovation.

The modern world is a rapidly changing place.

Technology is developing at record breaking speed. This is not only making what was once impossible commonplace, it is changing the way we live and look to the future.  A race to the top of new ideas and capabilities has become the hallmark of the tech industry.  So, the educational system has sought ways to supply capable individuals to this phenomenon. Hence, the creation and focus of STEM education.

 

Building A Modern School–Science over Here, Math Down the Hall

With the intense focus on STEM, schools have been building up their science and math programs in an effort to provide a better education. Science lab rooms are under construction, course catalogs overflow with new courses in Engineering, Chemistry, higher level Math, and technology applications.

 

The desire for more and more has turned the liberal arts approach to education upside down.  The requirements for graduation include more science and math courses than ever before.  A new wing of the education system, technology education, has spread beyond just typing or using software to teaching coding and digital citizenship.  Classes upon classes, room upon room, the push for an innovative education has remade the face of schooling around the world.

 

What About the Arts?

Science, Mathematics, anything technology related, these are all children need to know–right? Wrong, just as a bridge cannot stand without a foundation, innovation cannot happen without creativity.  The bedrock of every good education is the arts and humanities.

 

Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing–the four Language Arts–are every bit as critical to engineers as to journalists.  These are the skills that build up a culture and bind us together.  The first two are necessary for collaboration and cohesive team work.  The last two essential to learning and documenting discoveries.

Along with Language Arts, the Visual Arts of design and creativity bring the sciences to life.  Engineering innovates the materials and methods, but art supplies the inspiration and beauty to architecture.  Coding synthesizes the blueprint of an app but visual creativity make it appealing and user friendly. The arts and the sciences need each other.  Without the arts, sciences create a gray, garish world of sci-fi horror stories.  Without sciences, artistic pursuits never get off the page and into history.

 

Welcome to the Real World

Just as the arts are integral to scientific advancement, so is the integration of education.  STEM education was never meant to mean a few more lab rooms and a list of mathematics requirements.  Like eliminating arts, this is missing the overarching goal of the STEM approach.  By integrating the subjects together in real world applications, students are given the roots and wings to soar in the current climate of global, rapid, technology advancement.

The opportunity to learn these skill sets and disciplines is vital to a good education, but should not mean simply tacking on more.  In the world of innovation, working together with people of all disciplines, using the knowledge learned from all coursework is what fuels the advancements of tomorrow. One People, One Planet

How do you build a bridge?  With mutual respect, understanding, and firm foundations of education.

How can you bring the world of education together to lead to a brighter future?

5 Reasons to Stay Up-to-Date

Why Stay up-to-date?

Staying up to date in this ever changing world can seem overwhelming. Technologies often seem to become obsolete as readily as they are introduced to the market.  However, there are reasons to stay up to date not just in the technology field but in our personal education. Here are five good reasons to keep striving to know more.

 

  • The technological changes are not only something that techies need to be kept informed of. These affect our everyday life and change the face of both education and business.  The advancement in technology is happening at breakneck speed. It may seem impossible to keep abreast of every innovation.  However, general knowledge of the newest mainstream devices and software is beneficial to understand the changing marketplace and make yourself more marketable in your chosen field.

 

Strive to encounter and test out as many new technologies as you can on an ongoing basis.  Even if you do not master them all, you will benefit from the exposure should one of them become commonplace as touch screens and mobile apps have.

 

  • Continuing education helps advance careers and keep individuals highly employable if something should happen with a current employer. Aside from the software that may change your job requirements or how you work; there is always something more to learn to do your job better.  Continuing education enriches your understanding of your field and gives you an advantage in a tough market.  Continuing to grow and learn will not just benefit your resume but your overall achievement in your career.

 

  • Educational practices are ever changing and even those who take a classical approach to education are discovering new benefits and methods to aid all students to learn. Being up to date in the educational field provides new strategies for teaching and deeper understanding of how students learn.  In addition, understanding educational practice and policy allows you to better advocate for the education of the children in your home, state, or country.  It also lends itself to better providing supplements and extracurricular activities to enhance what is being taught and make up for what may be lacking.

 

  • Staying up to date on geo-political news and needs of neighbors near and far is essential to serve the world well. Conquering any crisis requires information. How much harder is it to overcome a problem if you do not even know it exists?  Keep informed of what is going on in the world to the best of your ability.  Use the information you acquire to make judgement calls, protest injustices, and aid worthy causes.  Better informed citizenry leads to more stable nations, accomplished initiatives, and greater aid to those in the most need.

 

  • Being current builds bridges and fuels ingenuity. As the adage goes, “The more you know, the more you grow.” Feeding your brain with the latest studies or newest breakthroughs gives you an advantage to soar higher, more quickly.  Innovative bridges are built in the brain, these in turn become bridges in knowledge, opportunity, and unity.

 

Being in the know not only helps you see how to build a bridge but where it is most needed.  Grow your future, help mankind, and deepen your understanding by continuing to learn and keeping up to date.

 

How do you stay up-to-date?

Coding for Math

Technology in Education

Tool or Hindrance?

 

It seems that everywhere I look, I see kids with technology. Like many, I have had mixed feelings about this increased presence in the hands of younger and younger children. I paid for my own cell phone as a teen and young adult, but my child has one as part of her every day tools. Granted, she is an avid reader and I have found that the gas and book money I save by being able to check out books and download them to a cell phone covers the cost of the plan she has. It is still a huge difference from when I was young.

Recently, I watched a video on Facebook that equated technology usage to cocaine for children. That is a jarring comparison, especially coming from the After School Special and DARE generation. It caused me to question if there is a way to find harmony between Technology and my children. Can technology be a helpful tool without the harmful effects?

Math and Programming?

 

In my search, I came across a blog by Jonathan Mugan a researcher and author. You can read it here. In his post, Dr. Mugan walks parents and educators through a “how to” in order to use programming to teach our children Math. It seems like fun to me, and I am not all that interested in programming! Disclaimer: This is probably because I LOVE to learn.

This fantastic blog post walks the educator through using Python and how to effectively teach basic arithmetic on up to PEMDAS and Variables. I can see where this could be useful for many kids! It is also an excellent example of technology being used effectively to teach.

 

Back to my child…

 

We had a rough school year and Math was often a struggle. Do you remember the Summer Slide post? This can also be an effective tool in a parent’s arsenal to combat it! I can’t wait to set this up for my mini me to work through. It will break up the usage of the Kahn Academy, which we are on daily and also will provide a new skill. Who knows, could this spark a “First Moment of Lasting Excitement?” Will a new path to software programmer begin?

 

In reality, anything that I can use as a tool to educate could also be abused and turned into a problem. As Dr. Mugan shows with his blog post, Technology can absolutely help with education. In fact, programming to learn Math is Innovative and could be Transformative for many. This could be a child’s “AHA Moment”.

 

So, go check out the blog post and maybe take some time to learn how to program! Consider joining our voyage if you have not already!