On March 4, I wrote about the connection between the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—and the arts. Guided encounters with works of art and study of them based on the Capacities for Imaginative Learning help develop students’ imaginative and creative thinking skills—skills that supplement STEM knowledge in crucial ways. But let’s not try to change STEM into STEAM by simply adding the arts to the mix. It will not work. What will is to utilize the learning and thinking skills developed through the capacities within STEM education, so that the arts + STEM may be STEM with an “attitude.” It’s quite gratifying for me to see this concept very publicly embodied by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.
James Goodman of the Democrat and Chronicle reports that RIT President Bill Destler began the festival in 2008 with an eye to “combining science-based disciplines with those from the fine arts.” On May 1, 2010, RIT students and staff members participated in approximately 300 exhibits, performances, and demonstrations that were arts-related, science-related, or both. The event drew a record 32,000 spectators. The Rochester school district encouraged K-12 students to attend the event, with the aim of piquing the young people’s interest in STEM careers. And maybe it inspired some to become artists, too.
Note that the name of the festival in Rochester includes all three parts of the ICI Continuum (imagination → creativity → innovation). Its stated goal is to put the STEM subjects in dialogue with the arts. Now, that idea might just have some steam behind it.
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Filed under: Article | Tagged: arts, arts in education, Bill Destler, capacities for imaginative learning, creativity, imagination, Imagine RIT, Information science, Innovation and Creativity Festival, Rochester Institute of Technology, STEM education, STEM fields |