From STEM to STEAM

April 16, 2010 at 10:51 am 4 comments

John Maeda has made a career out of blending art and design into the technical, specifically computing and digital media, worlds.  His group developed the Processing language which holds great promise (among many reasons) as a platform for Media Computation.  He recently wrote a piece about how the need for Art in our lives will transform the current emphasis on STEM learning into an emphasis on STEAM learning — integrating art into STEM.

But if technology and the ability to be connected disappear further into the background, what will occupy our foreground? A bit of the humanity we’ve always valued in the “real world.” Legislators who are currently fixated on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education as the key to innovation will realize that STEM needs some STEAM–some art in the equation. We’ll witness a return to the integrity of craft, the humanity of authorship, and the rebalancing of our virtual and physical spaces. We’ll see a 21st-century renaissance in arts- and design-centered approaches to making things, where you–the individual–will take center stage in culture and commerce.

via Your Life In 2020 – Forbes.com.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aaron Lanterman  |  April 17, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Why, oh why, did he call it “Processing?” It makes it rather difficult to google for it. It reminds me of the semiconductor company called “THAT.”

    Reply
  • 2. Ian Bogost  |  April 17, 2010 at 10:58 am

    It used to be called Proce55ing (a dose of 1337), which improved things Google-wise. But that name had its own issues.

    It’s also worth noting that while Processing was conceived in Maeda’s lab, it’s his students Ben Fry and Casey Reas who deserve all the credit for it. For some reason, my stomach churns seeing Processing attributed to “Maeda’s group.”

    I’d also point out that John Maeda has also made a career out of coining trite acronyms. His book The Laws of Simplicity is riddled with them.

    Reply
  • 3. Holly Yanco  |  April 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    At UMass Lowell, we call our programs STREAM, which integrates robotics and the arts into STEM education. An upcoming teacher workshop, which is part of our STREAM work: http://stream.cs.uml.edu. Our Artbotics program is also part of STREAM: http://www.artbotics.org.

    Reply
  • 4. Ian Bogost  |  April 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Mark, thanks for this timely reference by the way. I’ll be incorporating a response to it (the STEAM bit, not the blog post) in my talk at the object-oriented ontology symposium this week (http://ooo.gatech.edu).

    Reply

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