I enjoyed looking at the log of Julia's course and how she approached the
idea of STEAM for STEM majors. I am glad to learn how you approached this
discovery-very creative - and will hope that it plays an indelible role in
how the students who participated will approach their STEM work and the
world in general.
As a visual artist, Julia, you offer a unique perspective, as you clearly
understand how art, science, technology, and communication, are connected.
It is heartening to see how you connect the arts, with an acute awareness
of the world today, and combine with STEM subjects to create a special
learning environment. This is truly an example of the art-science
connection. I am sure that it stimulates creative thought and opens the
mind to possibilities as well as learning from experience and failure. It
is a call to action for an integrated learning style, reminiscent of the
past, as well as using various media that are intriguing and appropriate to
entice today's students. You found the art in things that may not be
obviously "art." It is ideal to learn from real life and apply artistic or
aesthetic principles that include an historical perspective, yet are trying
something new. There is no end to what can be done when we open the sides
of the box without fear - the fear of failure or fear of extending out of
the traditional silos of academic content. Risk, reflection and then
process over time - what happens next? I will look forward to more student
comments and also to how this may affect their future goals and work.
The way I approach my life, although maybe unknowingly, has always been a
representation of STEAM. For that reason, I embarked on using it as a
protocol for students of all abilities and backgrounds to learn. I believe
this opportunity brings them a chance to engage and maybe a chance to feel
something, and as a result, motivate them to bigger things (ideas,
possibilities and options otherwise unknown). Perhaps this sounds watered
down, too grand or idealistic, but that is my motivation. My version of
STEAM has STEM subjects at the core, uses and connects to various arts,
many times as a learning tool. I am neither an artist nor a scientist. The
level of my work is more basic than higher-level art-science or
science-art-technology. It offers opportunities for connections to deepen
learning and gain skills or focus and persistence. Much of my curriculum
connects easily to the Engineering Habits of Mind, which to me are really
STEAM. So from our collective work and the variety of feedback in this
blog, we can start to synthesize best practices for STEAM. Those best
practices can relate to protocols for education or work and research. I do
admit that I may see these connections and others may not.
So is STEAM just vapor? No I don't think so. There is valuable experience
in learning happening that will engage some who would never seek STEM
learning. Also, it can enhance the work of other arts through STEM
subjects. It uses whatever tools for learning are available, albeit some
that take creative thought and honestly, the ability to dare ones self and
see what happens. It begs many questions. What is this connection - is it
something that can't be fully articulated? Is it too abstract, so it is
hard to put it into the confines of curriculum? Does it fit better when
talking about making art from science or using science to create art? What
is art? Is it art if it is a photo of a cell or an image from a NASA
satellite? Is a picture that results from a child's coding exercise qualify
as art? Do we need an understanding of science to be a great musician? Does
becoming a great dancer or teaching dance require an understanding of
physics? Should we teach these connections? Should we experience them? Do
we experience music at a greater depth because we understand some of the
mathematics or science it uses at its foundation? Does it make us better
observers? Are patterns more easily discerned? Perhaps it is just a call to
rejuvenate a renaissance education. Can we use STEM in these varied ways:
as a way to experiment or demonstrate science? As a way to help STEM
students be more creative so they can approach their problem solving with a
new perspective? Is there value in the required risk-taking the arts
demand? Can it help young students learn through play and physical
experiences? Is it another way to present content that is tangible and may
as a result be better understood? Bottom line-does it call for more
inclusiveness-those who would not be introduced to STEM, and as a result,
open possibilities for discovery?
As long as there are questions that connect the arts and science we must
continue to pursue the answers. And hopefully, give these quality
opportunities for students to discover so that they have choices in how
they view the world.
Thank you Julia for taking the risks to create the class.
Ruth Catchen, M. Music, MA
STEM/STEAM Curriculum and Program Development, Teacher Professional
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
On Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 8:55 PM, Glenn Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Dear Yasminers,
> Having spent quite a bit of time browsing through Julia's blog post
> (in itself quite well done) on her 11-day STEAM course, I can't
> imagine a more enriching exposure -- and from both a practical
> and theoretical standpoint -- to the ways in which art threads
> itself though modern life; and the obvious question -- and one to
> which Julia is certainly more attuned than any of us, and one to
> which I think she has specifically alluded -- is "What would all of
> this look like outside of NYC?"
> In particular, there are certain kinds of art/technology interactions
> -- e.g., large-scale kinetic works -- which do not lend themselves
> to the NYC environment; and even though there are a number of
> such sculptors who have managed to maintain studios in the
> lower-rent districts of, say, Brooklyn, I'm sure it must be a
> Indeed, when Jean Tinguely and Andy Warhol were fighting their
> titanic, early 60's battle for the soul of modernism , Tinguely
> had the deck stacked against him because it was being fought
> in NYC: difficult enough it is to carry a box of screen printing
> supplies through the subway system -- but what about the
> 80-pound steel disc which forms the base for my own
> "L'Amour Industriel" ?
> And the ultimate poster child in this connection must certainly
> be the world's foremost kinetic sculptor Lin Emery, who
> abandoned her native NYC in favor of New Orleans -- and which
> circumstance I have looked at in some detail .
> But I digress.
> Julia has obviously done a marvelous job with this first course!
> -- and the one question that remains for me is the mix of
> declared majors among her students.
> G. W. (Glenn) Smith
> 3443 Esplanade Ave., Apt. 438
> New Orleans, LA
>  http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0752/4/3/75/htm
>  http://www.space-machines.com/images/L'Amour%20Industriel.jpg
>  http://www.caldaria.org/2013/09/lin-emery-by-philip-palmedo-
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