The acronyms keep changing. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – has been touted as what educators need to focus on to prepare students for the challenges they’ll face in the modern workplace. Some have taken STEM to the next level by adding an A for Arts to the acronym to make STEAM. Recent brain research has shown that music education connects the logical left side of the brain to the creative right side of the brain, and that art shapes both architecture and design which are germane to the elements of STEM.
Today, an “R” has become the 6th element of this compound to create STREAM. Catholic schools across the country have advanced the “R” as representing Religion, since faith is an essential component to shape the whole person in the Catholic school experience. The graphic for this article comes from the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Buffalo. Even some public and private schools have also moved forward with STREAM initiatives, but their “R” represents either Reading or Robotics.
Just as the technology continues to change and evolve, the way we talk about it, utilize it, and apply it to student learning will also continue to change, and change rapidly Perhaps we could add several more letters to the acronym – an “E” and an “R” – for “Experience” and “Resiliency,” since those attributes will also be essential for the 21st Century learner.