Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Art and Technology

Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Art and Technology

Article excerpt

W elcome to our first fully electronic version of Children's Technology and Engineering!

We begin this new school year with an interesting and informative look at the integration of the arts into STEM, creating a new field called "STEAM." The addition of the arts to STEM education creates interesting opportunities for students to become creative and innovative in their learning. Certainly, one of the first places that students imagine and create unique objects and devices is in the elementary arts classrooms. Advocates of STEAM remind members of the STEM community that art and design are the foundations of innovation - and that true innovation does not come from technology alone, but from the merger of technology, art, and design. John Maeda, President of the world-renowned Rhode Island School of Design, remarked: "Art helps you see things in a less constrained space. Our economy is built upon convergent thinkers, people that execute things, get them done. But artists and designers are divergent thinkers: they expand the horizon of possibilities. Superior innovation comes from bringing divergents (the artists and designers) and convergents (science and engineering) together" (Lamont, 2010).

The arts offer the first vestiges of flexibility in problem-solving activities - this is especially important in the elementary grades. The National Arts Public Awareness Campaign states that students who have participated in arts projects are likely to have better scores in academic classes than those who don't participate in art programs. They also note that those students are four times more likely to participate in math and science activities.

The merging of STEM and the arts is not a novel approach, however. When considering what to write for this welcome, I quickly Googled Maestro Leonardo da Vinci. If ever there was an early example of STEAM in action, it is within the drawings and inventions produced by this genius. …

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