Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant. This is the first article in a five-part series.
In 2010, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference featured a "crowd sourced" keynote selection. People voted over the web and the most popular nominee was given the closing keynote of one of the largest educational computing conferences in the world.
On July 1, Hawaii's Jeff Piontek declared: "It's no longer STEM. It's STEAM." His presentation slides had white typeface for the words science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and bold red typeface for the word arts. The educator drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd of thousands.
The term STEM was coined by Dr. Judith Ramaley when she was assistant director of the education and human resources directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2001 to 2004 (Chute, 2009). Ramaley's concept of STEM situates learning in the context of solving real world problems or creating new opportunities—pursuit of innovation. Spurred by a public and private sector push for global competitiveness, STEM has become a lightning rod for education in 2010.
People involved in the movement to integrate STEM and the arts use the acronym "TEAMS" or "STEAM." Advocates from both the world of science and the world of arts have converged in a grass roots movement. The movement is about transformative practices in education that unify knowing and doing—theory and application.