“Design thinking” is a popular phrase in education circles and top companies are using it to develop new products and energize their staff. But what is it? As these designers explain, it’s about developing the skills to identify the source of problems correctly and then creating effective solutions centered around people’s needs. These skills are increasingly important in a knowledge-based economy as educators prepare students to succeed in the 21st century. And they make learning a whole lot more fun!
Science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education is crucial to helping students find a path to success. Explore the importance of STEAM to the innovation economy as well as how to best to ensure equity in education with panelists Karen Flammer of UC San Diego, Dalouge Smith of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, Heather Lattimer of the University of San Diego and Francisco Escobedo, the Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District. This engaging conversation kicks off the Sally Ride STEAM Series – honoring the legacy of Sally Ride and looking to the future of STEAM education.
It’s one thing to know a lot about your field of expertise, but as Beth Simon says, teaching others about what you know is not easy. Very few professors are actually taught how to be teachers, a failing that Beth identified early in her career in computer science. And as she tells Karen Flammer in this boisterous conversation, Simon disrupted the old “sage on the stage” formula and instead, offers interactive classes where students engage with each other to solve problems. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot more fun than your “Intro to Computers” class?
Check out her methods in The STEAM Channel’s latest program, Beth Simon – The Constellation: Sally Ride Science Conversations.
Join a group of middle schools students at Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab as they start to think about their future in the world of work and begin to discover jobs best suited for them. Qualcomm has developed tools to teach students about the kinds of jobs that exist and how to find jobs that are meaningful and exciting. Even if you’re not a middle school or high school student, this approach to facing the world of work may benefit you as you think about your career future.
The team at Qualcomm’s World of Work room invites students to determine their strengths, list their interests, and prioritize their core values. Through a series of guided questions, students “stand up” for qualities they might enjoy in a career, and “sit down” for qualities they wouldn’t. Perhaps working long hours on holidays and weekends is a “sit down” for you. If so, knowing that early on could prevent a long road towards an ultimately unsatisfying career.
Outside the lab, students are encouraged to keep their eyes open and ask questions. When they see people enjoying their careers, ask them why. What makes a job meaningful for them? What qualities do they need to succeed in those careers? And just as important, ask people what they like least about their careers. What’s the worst part of their jobs and what would they change if they could?
Through self-evaluation and exploration of multiple possibilities, students begin to honestly explore careers that could last them a lifetime.
Browse more programs on The STEAM Channel.
UCTV’s recently launched STEAM Channel is a platform for all things science, technology, engineering, arts and math. We sat down with the channel’s founding partner and director of K-16 Programs at UC San Diego Extension, Ed Abeyta, to learn more about the STEAM movement and how it impacts students, educators and parents.
UCTV: How did you get involved in the world of STEAM?
Ed Abeyta: STEAM became the framework for the creation of our K-16 division in 2010. It was inspired by Harvey White, co-founder of Qualcomm Inc., who believed the Arts (the creative skills) plus STEM are key for industry success. “STEM education is necessary but it is not sufficient – we must have STEAM education – our future is at risk otherwise.”
UCTV: Why STEAM and not STEM?
EA: STEM is based on skills generally using the left half of the brain and thus is logic driven. Much research and data shows that activities like Arts, which uses the right side of the brain supports and fosters creativity, which is essential to innovation. Clearly the combination of superior STEM education combined with Arts education (STEAM) should provide us with the education system that offers us the best chance for regaining the innovation leadership essential to the new economy.
UCTV: Why is STEAM so important for today’s students and teachers?
EA: There seems to be consensus that for the US to replace the lost jobs from the industrial sector we must create the new industries that will drive the future economies of the world – and that requires innovation. So we need to focus on examining some of the difference between what and how we “teach” today and what we need to change to effectively “teach” innovation. The underlying need is to refocus the system to teach innovation – not just facts.
UCTV: How is STEAM changing the way we think about education?
EA: STEAM is not about adding to the acronym, but instead adding to the relevancy of learning. As Vince Bertram, President and CEO, Project Lead The Way, Inc., noted “It’s about showing students how concepts relate to real-world situations and providing them with hands-on projects and problems that help them apply concepts in a new context. It’s about nurturing students’ curiosity and helping them develop creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills.”
UCTV: Why should universities help lead the charge for STEAM in K-12?
EA: The core disciplines are beginning to merge. Visual Arts, Computer Science, and Engineering are working more closely to utilize expertise in each of their domains to solve problems. This mindset showcases what awaits the next generation at post-secondary institutions like UC San Diego.
UCTV: How can parents involve their children in STEAM education?
EA: At its heart, STEAM is about solving real-world problems. The world is going to need more and more graduates with the skills to identify problems, visualize solutions, design prototypes and implement solutions. Parents should seek every learning opportunity that incorporates practice based learning and challenge their children to continually think out of the box.
UCTV: What can viewers expect from the STEAM Channel in the coming months?
EA: The STEAM Channel will begin showcasing how STEAM is connected to research, policy, education, and industry. We will also seek to provide programming resources to enable parents, mentors and teachers to utilize our programming as a teaching platform.