March 23rd, 2022
Education, and even the world in general, are full of acronyms. It can be hard to remember what all of them mean! A couple of acronyms that get thrown around a lot are STEM and STEAM. But the newest iteration of these two acronyms is iSTEAM. But what exactly does that mean? How does iSTEAM help children learn and prepare for the future? In this blog post, I want to break down what each letter stands for and how they all work together. iSTEAM stands for:
Why create something novel when we can make things better? That is what innovation stands for. Purpose-driven innovation can bring small chances that, together, can create a big change.
This includes areas like physics, chemistry, and biology. Sciences focus on observing natural phenomena and seeking to understand them through well-structured methodologies.
Tech includes all sorts of new gizmos, electronics and devices that make our lives easier. Technology literacy opens infinite possibilities, such as coding, 3D designing, the use of Virtual reality and more.
This brings problem-solving skills for everyday issues. The focus of engineering is troubleshooting, finding, and building solutions to all sorts of problems, big or small.
Making things appealing and aesthetic is super important. No one would buy or support something that is not appealing, thus the need for arts in our lives.
Math is the understanding of numbers and how to use them in a proper setting. Mathematics is known as the universal language and very important to all the previous iSTEAM letters.
So now you know what each letter means. Kids learn this sort of stuff anyway; what exactly is so special about learning iSTEAM? Where iSTEAM shines is incorporating all of these different concepts together, often in project-based learning. Instead of the traditional classroom approach of learning material, studying, and then taking a memory-based test, iSTEAM seeks to allow students to be able to use their learning in a more hands-on approach. This is where the projects come in. The students can be presented with a problem, and then through intertwining all of the different subjects in iSTEAM, they can design a solution that is more than just a simple question and answer.
For example, let’s say that the kids are tasked to create a tourism map for their local neighbourhood. To accomplish this, they’ll need to use geography to understand how the neighbourhood looks, math to figure exact distances and sizes, art to make a fun and visually appealing map, innovation to come up with ideas to make the map more exciting, technology to develop the map and possibly create a 3D model of the neighbourhood, and even a little engineering to design the optimal paths for visiting the best locations. All of this comes together to allow the students to better understand how to solve the problem, create exciting solutions, and learn a ton in the process!
This is why iSTEAM is such an exciting idea! Instead of simple memorization of traditional educational concepts, kids can take what they learn into the real world and have a direct impact. It greatly improves their collaboration, inquiry, and critical thinking skills! Finally, and most importantly, they can have a ton of fun in the process, which leads to them wanting to learn more and be excited to understand more concepts!
I hope I have given you a bit of an idea of what iSTEAM is all about and what it means. By mixing these subjects together, kids can gain an all-new understanding of the world and how everything works. The knowledge acquired from adding different concepts together allows children to think critically about problems they and the world face and provides a way to create new and innovative solutions while immensely enjoying the whole experience!
Until next time,