Inclusion and diversity via STEAM education


Our world continues to be increasingly reliant on technology for innovation in the twenty-first century. The emergence of new technologies and developments in industries like biotechnology, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence are influencing how we work and live. The demand for people with knowledge and expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is therefore rising (STEM). It is no secret, however, that we are advocates for the crucial inclusion of the arts (A) in STEM education – ie: STEAM education. The addition is a tiny one, and key to fully excelling today, which requires the skills and mindsets to handle the complex issues we face. Along with the technical knowledge and abilities needed for success, STEAM education focuses on teaching children how to be creative, think critically, and solve problems. With a focus within STEAM on what may long have been dismissed as “soft skills” comes an increased emphasis on inclusion.

We believe that to create increased interest and diversity in STEAM education, it’s very important that students from different backgrounds, gender, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic communities have access to role models and inspiring experiences that prepare them for future careers. The experiential learning models that STEAM offers motivates students to pursue work in technology. (And many associated fields – here’s an article if you’d like to explore more career options) Our efforts today will pave the way for a more equitable working world for the next generation of leaders, healers, scientists, designers, artists, and engineers.

A core area where there is still a surprising lack of representation, particularly given the opportunities at hand in 2023, is for women. Even though women make up half the workforce, we are vastly underrepresented in the technology world. The historic male-dominance of technology has perhaps made the field more forbidding for many women, but progress is underway. More women are breaking through barriers and bringing much needed representation.

Tech giants are recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the role that STEAM education plays. Companies are starting to place purpose alongside profit as they lay foundations for equity-led initiatives, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it has tangible benefits for business. The benefits include improving customer interactions across a more diverse customer base and promoting innovation through diverse skills and lived experience.

Lenovo is an example of a company working towards inclusion and diversity in STEAM education. They partnered with students at the Savannah College of Art and Design to design a gadget to stimulate children’s interest in STEAM topics. The goal was to create an accessible, collaborative, and safe environment for students to explore and personalize their learning experiences in an interactive gaming format. This aligned with the company’s mission to encourage a diverse group of students to prepare for careers in STEAM.

One of a few programs and initiatives in Canada that focus on inclusion and diversity in STEAM education is “Girls in ICT“, aiming to increase the participation of girls in technology. This is an important program and includes investment from the Canadian government.

Indigenous STEM Education” is a public-funded program that supports the education and training of Indigenous peoples to prepare them for careers in STEM fields.

STEAM education is more relevant in the 2020s than ever before. It is key to creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for students to pursue their interests in the world of technology and design thinking.

If you are interested in STEAM education, particularly as the parent or loved one of children from 6 to 16, please connect with us on LinkedIn –