STEAM identified as 2015 cutting edge trend to improving education
Elkin City Schools’ focus on preparing every child in grades Pre-k thru 12 with a STEAM infused educational experience parallels the programming trends of some of the cutting edge educational programs and institutions in America. In the January 2015 edition of District Administration magazine, numerous national educational leaders share his/her ideas in the article, “Education thought leaders forecast 2015 trends.” These educational leaders included superintendents, college professors and other educational experts who are looking ahead at the topics of technology, blending learning, assessments and College & Career Readiness.
Kemi Jona, Professor of learning sciences and computer science at Northwestern University, noted that Design Thinking and STEAM were at the top of her list. “In 2015, we will see a growing movement to incorporate design thinking and STEAM (integrating arts and design into STEM) into the curriculum. Districts and schools will launch efforts both large and small, from simple design projects in early elementary to after-school and summer school offerings. Visionary schools will transform their career and technical education programs into STEAM labs.´
Meghan Reilly Michaud, Fine arts teacher at Andover Public Schools, Massachusetts and trustee at Rhode Island School of Designs also noted the importance of the STEAM initiative. “The STEAM education movement will continue to gain momentum. This is largely due to the sharing of knowledge by educators as it relates to their own best practices in creating cross-disciplinary activities. As students explore creative thinking, problem solving and other strengths that the arts offer, communities will view the arts as a necessary compliment and support to STEM.”
Additional topics that were forecasted to be important to public education included: blended and online learning, personalized learning, College & Career Readiness and International models for teaching and learning. Elkin City Schools is currently in its second year of implementation of STEAM infused educational experiences for every child in every grade level. Teachers and staff members have been trained in project based learning and the implementation of STEAM focused topics into the specific curriculum areas. Teachers are also encouraged to integrate lesson planning and project development across multi-disciplinary areas. According to Dr. Randy Bledsoe, superintendent of Elkin City Schools, “Our administrators, teachers and staff envisioned a few years ago, that a STEAM focused education would provide our students with the tools needed to be successful academically, have a better awareness of potential careers and would encourage productive citizenship. And now, our staff is carrying out that vision of how STEAM dramatically impacts student learning and teaching in our school system each day. Our STEAM program for every child in every grade level in our school system is a model that other school districts may emulate in North Carolina or at the national level.”
Elkin City Schools
Elkin, NC 28621