Building imagination and creativity into the future of work


As we head into a period of recession, after a pandemic, the need for learning in new ways, and making the most of our creativity becomes increasingly important. Teachers, and the educational system, are seeing that a sustainable future requires finding creative, multidisciplinary solutions to the new difficulties presented by a world that is changing quickly. It is particularly important to equip students with the ability to think innovatively.

STEM education (science technology engineering and math), has been around for longer than the newer concept of STEAM (science technology engineering art and math). STEAM first emerged as a result of advancements in education, which acknowledged the need for higher order thinking in addition to just learning from static content. STEAM was born to students, rooted in an intention to be more inclusive in classrooms. STEAM prioritized artistry and creative thinking to help all kids succeed in the world of science. 

STEAM education researchers highlight the importance of shared processing of abilities across artistic and scientific fields. STEAM offers ways to integrate programs into school and afterschool activities for children as young as 3. (You’ll find more on that in our previous article about elementary school STEAM projects to inspire you) One area where STEAM education (as well as the study of it) began early is in the subject of space. Many children will tell grown ups that they want to be astronauts when they grow up! This sense of wonder that exists in the field of space study is focussed on cross-cultural cooperation, interdisciplinary research, and creative thinking. Students are particularly excited, and therefore most creative, when they are driven by interest, delight, fulfillment, and a challenging task at hand. This is what creates and holds motivation.

How do STEAM education and creativity go together? 

STEAM education sparks creativity in kids by offering open-ended problems to solve. These can have different outcomes depending on how they are approached, with no prescriptive fixed answer. Personal expression is key to the system of STEAM as well. Creating a safe space that allows kids to show up as their own true selves is important to unleash imagination and creativity.

As we go forward, even after this current recession, how can we educate and create learning environments that will allow students to be ready for difficult and relevant problems like globalization, climate change, or extreme digitalization? Schools and parents must take a look at ways in which we can create a comprehensive educational model that emphasizes each young person’s unique learning journey. 

STEAMing into the future of work

The goal of any educational system is to prepare students for the workforce of the future. There are exciting prospects emerging out of the STEAM education we are offering our 6-16 years olds today. (We previously wrote a piece on some of the career options open to young people even now. If you’d like to read that article, you’ll find it here.) Despite the fact that we can’t predict how employment will change, we can help children get the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in those careers. And we believe that STEAM will play a key role.

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