The attempt to make science, technology, engineering and math more appealing to kids has been a challenge for a long time.
The millennial generation was lucky to have Bill Nye the Science Guy as a model for how creativity and science can be connected.
Educators, attempting to highlight this intersection, have introduced a new discipline to STEM: the arts. STEAM-focused learning integrates creativity and art (the “A”) to appeal to all types of learners and highlight how creativity can contribute to real-world solutions.
How might you integrate creativity into your area of focus in college, and what will you do with your creative skills once you graduate? Interdisciplinary learning is proving to have many benefits.
A study by Detweiler found that “Those who take more than half of their coursework in subjects unrelated to their majors … are 31 to 72 percent more likely than others to have higher-level positions and to be earning more than $100,000 than are others.”
Although you may be majoring in a science- or tech-related field, this may encourage you to pursue those ceramic classes you have been eyeing in the college catalog. Applying your artistic brain and creative instincts can help to make pursuing a STEM degree more enjoyable.
There is no hard-and-fast rule that people interested in science can’t also be artists. Science communication is a field that promotes the creative application of scientific data and may be a viable option for you to explore.
There are a number of ways to communicate scientific findings. Although we often find them in long, complicated reports, there are other, more engaging ways to share information with the public.
For example, do a quick search for biology podcasts, and you will find a long list of options to choose from. Some podcasters are goofy and zany, while others are storytellers and thrill seekers.
Combining new technologies, news casting, and science, we have found a more effective and creative way to communicate scientific research and data. While you’re panicking about your microbiology test this week, chill out, go visit your local radio station, and learn how to create a podcast!
Science can also be communicated in maps, photos or in art. For example, data can be visualized by color variance and shapes. The City of New York has used this to enhance its urban planning department by better understanding building heights, population densities, and what is publicly and privately owned.
With a simple glance, the maps created for this project allow you to see the peaks and valleys of the city, gathering much more information from a single image in a shorter amount of time than the pages of data used to create it.
Pushing yourself and encouraging students to improve their creativity can result in some beautiful works of scientifically fueled art that can be shared with the world.
Design and Collaboration
Unsure of where your interests lie? Look at where cutting-edge technology is leading us. So many incredible things are happening in research and development — especially in artificial intelligence and space exploration. Without the dreamers who also were gifted with a scientific mind, artificial intelligence would still be something only thought of in non-fiction novels. Due to innovation and out-of-the-box thinking by Elon Musk, we may very well see insect droids and the colonization of different planets in the near future.
If you are having a hard time wanting to show up for your engineering or computer science courses, give yourself something to look forward to. It is a common tactic when trying to survive college to take on the smallest amount of coursework possible. However, the old adage is true when it comes to education: “You get out of it what you put into it.” Choose projects that will let you focus your efforts on your interests rather than what will require the least amount of effort.
Finding something you are interested in, whether it be space exploration, alternative energy, or biomimicry and find a way to improve the design of what exists already. The time you have while in college is often the only opportunity you’ll have to explore radical ideas and put them to the test. It is a great time to take risks before branching out and becoming part of the working class.
Dare to Dream
Explore new ideas using the resources available to you at your university. Your creativity may spark another, which could lead to incredible interdisciplinary collaboration. Similarly, if you are a teacher or professor (or aspire to become one), be sure to let your passion for STEM-topics shine through. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and help students to enjoy science that much more.
There are no rules saying that science can’t be fun. Creative scientists are the best kind of scientists and how some of the world’s best inventions have been made. Emphasizing the “A” in STEAM is truly valuable and important both at the college level and as early as primary school.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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