STEM and STEAM Education
Definition, Importance and Benefits
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and is important in every part of life. STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy. It also develops, preserves, and disseminates knowledge and skills that convey personal, economic, and social benefits.
STEM engineering offers a variety of career paths, including electrical, civil, computer, environmental, materials, industrial, electrical and mechanical. STEM teaching and learning goes beyond the mere transfer of knowledge and equips students with critical thinking, problem solving, creative and collaborative skills, and helps students understand math and science contents for success in school and college careers.
STEM jobs are contributing to advancing the economy through innovation and rapid technological changes, are continually creating demand for new jobs within the STEM field, making some previously required skills and tasks obsolete.
STEM is taught in most manufacturing industries (such as in computers, electronic products, transportation equipment etc.) of developed countries to educate engineers and scientists after they graduate with traditional school/college studies, developing countries need to impose this system on students after graduation and entering to industries.
STEM educated student is an innovative, self-reliant problem solver, a logical thinker, a technologically literate individual who is able to relate his/her own culture to the learning. STEM education and careers must be a national priority in order to compete in a global economy,
Problem-solving, creativity, math and science skills, engineering-design thinking and critical thinking skills etc. are some of the essential STEM skills one would want to develop and/or enhance.
Skip to Content
With the growing emphasis on soft skills, education professionals have developed the acronym STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) by integrating the arts into STEM. STEAM-focused curricula incorporate the study of the language arts, humanities, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design, new media and more. Creative skills and knowledge of the arts, such as design, writing and history, help STEM students solve problems in more innovative ways.
Comparison between STEM and STEAM
STEM students use curricula having a strong set of soft skills that help them to become more versatile for growth in job market whereas in STEAM curricula students use both hard and soft skills to solve problems using tools such as data visualization or fine art for deep understanding of STEM.
Despite the differences in STEM and STEAM, there is opportunity for growth across all occupations in the STEAM fields. It is important for students to choose a curriculum based on their individual skills, career goals and interests. The aspiring STEM professionals should develop both hard and soft skill sets to make them stronger applicants and performers in the job market.