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State Arts Council Wants 'STEAM' Instead of 'STEM'

State Introduces 'STEAM' to Refocus on the Arts in K-12 Schools

As STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—studies continue to be the focus of curriculums across the nation, educators in North Dakota have introduced arts programming into this focus to make STEAM, and are pushing for this to be a national endeavor.

Rebecca Engelman, a director for the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and supporters want to add an "A" to the STEM acronym to increase awareness of the need for arts programming in STEM studies, according to an article on Inforum.com.

"The idea has gained support from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, which funded a recent STEAM conference and will develop a website that refers to the acronym, one program administrator said."

For supporters, adding art programming into STEM studies is a must because the two are "seamlessly connected, said Engelman," according to the article.

In one North Dakota school district, "students have explained math concepts by building a life-size pyramid through STEAM Team, a three-year program offered through the state arts council that provides resources, funding and professional development for teachers."

But Engleman's journey to raise STEAM awareness is not one without obstacles. "Art education is voluntary in North Dakota school districts and Engelman's own last attempt to secure legislative funding in this area was not successful, she said," according to the article.

Additionally, some disagree with the STEAM acronym because they believe that adding "more letters to STEM--there are several variations, including STREAM to include reading--will dilute the original concept and create confusion, which may compromise state funding..."

Despite the early challenges, "Engelman said the state arts council will continue to offer conferences, professional development workshops and spread awareness," the article said.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

04/21/2015

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