Why STEAM practices are useful for innovation?

Right from the invention of the Wheel, Man has been continuously thriving. The thirst for development and upliftment of technology has never been stopped, and mankind continues to flourish through the advancement in technologies. Our educational system is tasked with preparing the next-gen leaders to succeed in life. But somewhere, we are failing in incorporating critical-thinking skills and an innovative mindset in our children.

STEAM Education is an interdisciplinary fusion of multiple fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) that aims to strengthen the core skills of the students and help them recognize their inner potential. The number of schools incorporating STEAM principles has increased exponentially in the past few years. According to a joint survey conducted by NITI Aayog and AIM, more than 6 million students have access to STEAM education facilities in their schools in India alone.

STEAM Education is recognized by various scientists, researchers, and Educationalists as a more complete model of the education system, providing a holistic development of 21st Century skills. It is an interdisciplinary approach, leading students to adapt to a rapidly changing social and professional environment. STEAM Education supports students to understand the fundamental laws of nature in a multi-disciplined way, transforming the mind of the student in the form of centralized innovation, and fostering their ability to solve problems. It gives students the right tools and approaches to explore new and creative ways of problem-solving, tinkering, pattern recognitions, and adjoining multiple domains.

STEAM Education is mainly based on activity-based and project-based learning as the main mentoring approach to make students understand team-working skills, accomplishing realistic goals, and solve problems encountered in life. STEAM Education is not only enhancing the 21st-century skills of a child, but also bridging the gap between the existing knowledge and skills and the requirement of digital skills like Innovative mindset, creativity skills, problem-solving skills, etc., boosting the students’ competitive nature.

STEAM education when unfolded, explains a relationship with multi-disciplinary fields – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. In STEAM education, science enables people to understand the fundamental laws of nature, comprising of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology primarily. Engineering and technology are the tools to transform an idea that can be leveraged by the society as an asset. Wherein art helps to portray your innovations and imaginations in a presentable form. Mathematics is useful in preparing analytical models, followed by a structured approach. All these parameters are the essence of Innovation and Creativity. With all these tools we can engage more deeply in research and development. We can focus on how to form an analogy using the interdisciplinary knowledge and link it to explore the application in the real world. STEAM education is a medium to adopt an interdisciplinary fusion of learning to solve practical problems.

According to PWC’s Innovation Benchmark 2017, 54% of innovating companies struggle to bridge the gap between innovation strategy and business strategy. This is the reason why big giants like Cisco, PepsiCo, Microsoft, and Google are owning initiatives to encourage STEAM education and skills development globally. In a survey conducted by the Education Commission of the States, STEAM jobs are likely to grow up by 13%, whereas all the other jobs will grow only by 9%. The hike is certain because many industries are embracing the concept of STEAM education and the need for innovative programs is rapidly increasing. The industries are focusing on long-term strategies, by hiring candidates with potential STEAM skills, which is far better than training and educating the workforce on occupation-specific skills.

 In this rapidly changing world, we need more innovators, tinkerers, and creators to provide sustainable development and better future alternatives. STEAM education is a proven model of accelerating the mindset right in the direction of crucial skills like Logical thinking, Computational thinking, Analytical skills, Critical thinking, and Creativity. All these skills put together will lead towards an innovative mindset, which will help students to have a better understanding of past and present cultures and aesthetics, moral values, and human nature, which in turn lead to progressive social development also. STEAM education teaching is not to impart content-based knowledge, but to develop students’ problem-solving ability and looking up for innovative solutions as an end goal.

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