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.
In recent years the STEM educational initiative – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – has gradually evolved into STEAM, as both educators and employers have gained a greater appreciation for the importance of arts education (the A in STEAM) in an innovation-driven economy. While it has long been held that early exposure to the arts, in particular music, contributes to the development of a well-rounded character, recent research and practical application both quantifies these benefits and identifies them as essential for developing marketable skills.
Since 1945 San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) has offered thousands of student musicians the opportunity to study and perform classical repertoire. SDYS’ programs include chamber music, soloist competitions, group lessons, theory classes, mentor programs, and more, and have grown from one advanced orchestra of 60 students to over 600 participating in 12 orchestral and wind ensembles at various levels of proficiency. While many participants have gone on to leading conservatories and professional careers in music, SDSY sees its mission in the larger context of broadening cultural horizons, embracing diversity, and enriching the community. To this end, the Youth Symphony had partnered with area schools to provide both in-class and supplemental music education. This initiative has yielded measurable results, including:
• Improved attendance
• Improved academic performance, particularly in language and reading skills
• Better performance on standardized tests
• Increased parental involvement in their student’s education
Additionally, students themselves report a greater sense of discipline, purpose, organization, belonging, and self-worth, all of which translates into a young person better equipped to tackle higher education and the marketplace.
SDYS also supports statistical research through a partnership with the Center for Human Development at UC San Diego and participation in the Center’s SIMPHONY study. The goal of SIMPHONY is to explore how musical training influences a child’s brain and the development of skills like language and concentration. The results may then be used to bolster the case for music education and to refine teaching methods, not just in San Diego but nationwide.
“High Notes: The Case for Music Education” provides an overview of a few of SDYS’ activities, including their Community Opus project, the SIMPHONY study, and their in-school activities using the Chula Vista Elementary School District as a representative sample.
Oh, to be a student in the San Diego Unified School District and get to spend a day aboard the USS Midway. STEAM leaders from around the region welcomed some 300 middle and high-schoolers to the ship and fired them up to consider careers in designing satellites, electric cars, airplanes, algae-fueled motorcycles and even back-friendly bicycles.
Hear what moves them in From the Skies to the Streets.
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.