While you’re likely familiar with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), many organizations and professionals are adding “arts” to the acronym, adopting STEAM instead.
Among these is Dr. Sharon Bratt, an associate professor in the computer science department at MacEwan. Sharon describes herself as a multidisciplinary designer and a technologist, and says it’s essential to think broadly about how art and design fit into the traditional STEM fields.
“Think about robotics, for example,” says Sharon. “If you have an idea for a robot, wouldn’t you include some preliminary sketches? That’s creativity right there!”
This connection between technology and art is evident in Sharon’s second-year course, Introduction to Educational Technology, a class tailored to students interested in pursuing a career in education. Over the semester, Sharon highlights a number of technologies that could be used by teachers in a classroom setting, including free design software.
“Industry experts have noticed that a lot of students tend to shy away from technology and science subjects by the time they reach junior high, or early high school,” explains Sharon. “If we can reach students early, demystify those subjects and make them fun, then we’re more likely to cultivate their curiosity about studying a STEAM subject in post-secondary.”
Sharon also introduced STEAM to current teachers this summer, leading a session at the Inspiring Innovation through Technology workshops, hosted at MacEwan in July.