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STEM Vs STEAM: Two sides of the same coin

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In our previous posts on STEM and STEAM respectively, we explored the various definitions, merits, demerits and what the future holds for both learning systems.

We established that while STEM is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, STEAM derives its acronym from the addition of Arts to STEM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics.

However, STEAM goes beyond just adding “arts” to STEM, the difference lies in their learning and creative processes.

In this post, we will be highlighting the similarities and differences between STEM and STEAM.

One of the distinct differences between STEM and STEAM is that, while the former only focuses on scientific concepts, the latter scrutinizes these concepts by using inquiries and incorporating problem-based learning methods into the creative process.

STEM education combines concepts that are usually taught independently while STEAM incorporates the arts into the learning process to enable students to experience the synergy in the various disciplines.

What this does is that it causes students to explore and learn different art techniques and apply them to what they study.

This in turn sharpens their innovative minds and develops their problem-solving skills.

STEM focuses on learning while STEAM goes beyond just learning, it entails applying what has been learnt.

What this means is that the latter allows students to build their problem-solving skills and helps them learn the art of perseverance when they face challenges.

STEM alone encourages one-track thinking and as such, causes students to believe that they can’t be great at science and art at the same time because of their perceived disconnect.

STEM and STEAM are the hottest keywords in the educational sector in recent times because understanding tech and science give students an edge in the workforce environment.

New career paths are being created, thanks to these learning concepts.

Institutions and teachers should advocate for more STEM and STEAM-based projects so that students can be better prepared to take on any challenge the world throws at them.

The world is advancing in science and technology. STEM alone cannot spur the creativeness in students. The A in STEAM is just the touch they need.


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