By Mario McKellop
Studies show that everything from standardized test scores to critical thinking to social and cross-cultural skills improve when the arts are integrated into science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning. But for today’s educators, developing an effective STEAM curriculum can be challenging. However, by taking advantage of these robust resources, educators can help equip their charges with the tools they’ll need to succeed later in life.
To start, Global Citizen offers links to a host of STEAM-learning activity resources that educators can use to refine their own teaching methodologies. For instance, Lemon Lime Adventures, a STEAM site maintained by a National Board Certified educator, lists more than 50 different activities early education teachers can use to spark their students’ creativity in the most engaging ways possible.
Similarly, Edutopia offers a host of pedagogical strategies regarding the integration of the arts into various STEM disciplines and how STEAM and project-based learning techniques can be combined to create a positive effect.
Educators looking for STEAM-related digital tools should definitely check out this Common Sense page. This teacher-sourced list includes apps that allow kids to create their own books and video games, a site that teaches grade schoolers the basics of coding, and several apps that can help young people develop their critical thinking, problem-solving and linear thinking skills.
Other notable STEAM tools include Assembly, an application that teaches users of all ages the principles of graphic design; free online collaborative recording studio site Soundation; and Adobe Capture, which allows users to transform photos into digital drawings that can be altered in a range of creatively stimulating ways.
STEAM Educators offers a comprehensive explanation of what the STEAM framework is, how it can be implemented and it answers questions regarding STEAM lesson plans and attendant learning activities. Education Closet hosts a variety of different online courses related to STEAM education, project-based learning and how to manage arts integration in the classroom.
Moreover, 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning has a great resources page for educators who are looking for more practical tools that will help them with STEAM integration. It provides links to educational conferences, interactive online models and a slew of articles about how art can be used as a getaway to learning about STEM disciplines.
While digital tools, lesson planning and continuing education resources can be very helpful, educators often need material assistance to realize their goals. To that end, All Education Schools has compiled a list of STEAM related grants and funding resources.
As an example, the National Endowment for the Arts offers $2,000 to $5,000 in funding to help teachers develop their expertise so they can better serve their students. Along similar lines, the McCarthey Dressman Teacher Development Grants offers K-12 educators $10,000 a year to assist them in implementing new strategies that foster critical thinking and a passion for learning.
While the prospect of integrating art into science, technology, engineering and mathematical learning can be daunting, resources exist to make adapting to innovation as easy as possible.