Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I-STEAM PIE Engine connects future economy to jobs …

As part of my involvement with the IEEE Educations Activity outreach into the local schools, we have been promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in support of student career options in Engineering and Technology. 

We have used the Greensboro Children’s Museum Transportation Exhibits as a means to introduce the students to the concept of STEM skill sets.  This has been used since 2006 in Guilford County Schools and Alamance-Burlington Schools.  It emphasizes “They couldn’t do it without Imagination & STEM Skill Sets”.
STEM is being promoted by various groups such as NCSTEM. 
“The NC STEM Community Collaborative helps communities ensure that all North Carolina students are career and college ready by engaging in rigorous and relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education that provides them with good choices in life and bolsters the economic strength of their communities. NC STEM does this by creating a network of local, state, and national partners that link them with cutting-edge resources, develop local and state initiatives, and create resources to advance their work.”
Recently I became aware of the concept of enhancing STEM to include Arts.
STEAM is being promoted by STEAM-NOTSTEM. 
STEM is based on skills generally using the left half of the brain and thus is logic driven. Much research and data shows that activities like Arts, which uses the right side of the brain supports and fosters creativity, which is essential to innovation. Clearly the combination of superior STEM education combined with Arts education (STEAM) should provide us with the education system that offers us the best chance for regaining the innovation leadership essential to the new economy.”
In an attempt to enhance the concept of STEM, I have posted the following blogs that introduce Innovation/Imagination to STEM:
After writing the above blogs, I discovered facilities such as the Center for Design Innovation in Winston-Salem NC which from what I know focus on the "I" as discussed above.  Their vision is "To be a catalyst for transformation in North Carolina's Piedmont area, toward international recognition for preeminence in design and setting an example of how design can be an engine for economic development."  The Mission is "To create an environment in which diverse constituents generate, develop and translate creative thinking to foster the growth of education, research and commercial enterprises."

Also the Center for Creative Economy with offices in Winston-Salem and Greensboro serves as a catalyst for innovation by
  • driving product and business development,
  • stimulating connections between innovators and businesses, and
  • promoting economic development and job growth
...through regional programs, infrastructure and professional development

Their vision is to
  • Leverage ideas/strengths of creative talent to tackle problems whose solutions benefit all
  • Connect knowledge to jobs, coordinate programs to better serve the industrial and manufacturing base and thereby attract additional companies to the state.
  • Develop infrastructure to enable creative companies to grow and build capacity
  • Support economic development efforts to attract jobs requiring creativity and innovation.
  • Facilitate a statewide network and work with state leaders to develop the North Carolina creative economy.
The Center for Creative Economy has an Idea Index that serves as the spark to match ideas with people, projects, proposals and funding.  This helps local businesses save recruiting costs, helps creative entrepreneurs find projects, and stimulates the economy in the Piedmont Triad. 

These two approaches are a way of providing leverage of resources for the Creative Class in the Piedmont Triad Area.

Recently as I was sharing with Christopher Bronson the term STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) as a preference to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) he suggested we use “STEAM Engine”.   Putting emphasis on “Arts” enhances the STEM term with the innovative and creative aspect of creating products/services/processes promoted in the Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) Team concept.  

To the right is a drawing of an early Steam Engine, it depicts new thinking for the industrial era.  I use it to illustrate how crude early thinking is when you think outside the box with new concepts.  The Entrepreneurial PIE Team works together to create new products/processes/services. 
Another interesting variation on STEM is  Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Social Studies (STEMSS) where Social Studies are included.  Maybe we should be thinking of I-STEAMSS which enhances STEM to include Innovation, Arts and Social Studies; this would give a more comprehensive education.
No matter which is your preference STEM, STEAM, STEMSS, PIE, STEAM Engine or I-STEAMSS, the key is to get students to thinking about skill sets that connect to future economy and create jobs.
How about an I-STEAMSS-PIE Academy to place emphasis on these important skill sets?  Do you have a better idea?  If so please let me know!

Hopefully these thoughts will be useful to you as we seek to find solutions that will create jobs for the future.

PostScript 5/14/2012
www.steamedu.com is another website that is promoting STEAM.  See graphic.

1 comment:

LONNIE H BAXLEY JR said...

Another concept is STREAM which adds wRiting. This has promise and appears better at inclusion of creative process.