Why STEAM education is much more than coding


If you’re a parent of a girl between the ages of 6 and 16, you’re no stranger to the term “STEM”. More recently, you’ve also likely heard of STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, ART, and mathematics). While we are ecstatic about the newer forays into STEAM, all too often the magnitude of the difference between the two is lost.

Many will say that STEAM is a variation on STEM that includes an additional “A” for Art. This might seem like a small change, but it’s actually a REALLY big deal. (We previously wrote an entire article on the powerful difference that one alphabet brings, you can find it here)

At its core, STEAM education recognizes the importance of creativity and artistic expression with particular emphasis in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM has been around for a while, and it’s largely associated with coding and other technical skills.

Is STEAM, then, just a version 2.0 of STEM, with some art thrown in? The short answer is no.

STEAM is so much more than coding. Coding is great! Vital even in our schools to bring more young women into the technology space. Building on that, the opportunity that STEAM presents is much greater.

STEAM is about fostering a love of learning and creativity in young womxn, and helping them see the connections that exist intrinsically between different subject areas. While mathematics, and computer science are certainly important skills in the tech field, they are not the only skills that are needed. For example, let’s consider the art of critical thinking and problem-solving. This is greatly encouraged in STEAM education to help young womxn see that the big world of technology is about more than just learning facts and figures. Using your imagination and coming up with new and innovative solutions to problems is deeply important. That’s only just the tip of the iceberg!

In 2023, we all know that a variety of skills and thinking styles are needed in order to create technology that is truly transformative. Just because someone might not be naturally inclined towards mathematics or science doesn’t mean that a career in technology is out of reach. Many tech founders have backgrounds that are not grounded in tech. There are many roles in technology firms that didn’t even exist a decade ago, and it’s important to think broadly about what a career in this field can mean.

Instead of only coding lessons, give your children the ability to approach problems with more self-confidence. When children have self-confidence, they can think clearly and creatively. They become better at working with their friends, family, and peers to find solutions to a variety of challenges that come up each day. And perhaps even the challenges that previous generations have been grappling with for decades! Perhaps most importantly, as more useability, and a greater level of diversity and equity is built into powerful technologies, let’s teach our children not to build biases and instructions that can do harm to any individuals or groups of people.

It’s more imperative than ever that we look at technology from the lens of enhancing our daily lives. It is not technology for technology’s sake. It is about using technology to change our lives, our communities and our world in a positive way.

If your child regularly expresses a disinterest in coding, a career in STEAM in the future is still entirely possible. Remember, technology needs a variety of skills and thinking styles. A career in technology is an option even if your child might not like mathematics or considers themselves “not good at math”.

Here’s to thinking broader about what a career in technology means in 2023 and beyond! As parents, let’s frame introductions into these worlds in a way that makes them attractive and exciting to young girls.

Keep in touch and learn more about women in tech – https://www.linkedin.com/company/womenintechtribe