STEM or STEAM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEAM also incorporates art into the disciplines. In the words of Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”. In order to create or invent something, design and art also has a part of the process.
Students across America and now in the UK are receiving STEM/ STEAM teaching as part of their curriculum. It is believed that by integrating design with STEM subjects, schools are strengthening students abilities to be creative and flexible problem solvers, to explore different ideas and to take every opportunity to discover something new. With STEAM projects, students learn by inventing, creating and designing. Several studies have been made in the US regarding the effects of this method of teaching, and several of the studies have revealed that arts integration into a STEM curriculum can help with long-term retention of content across all four subjects. Lindsey Own, Lead Teacher of Makerspace in Washington says “If we’re not creating something with our knowledge, we’re just memorizing it and not applying it in any real way”.
When learning using a STEAM curriculum, students can create an idea, prototype it, test it, receive feedback from peers, revise and redevelop it until it is perfect. In order to facilitate this type of learning, schools are creating “Makerspaces”. Ideally, there needs to be a lot of working space, a lot of storage for different materials and sturdy multi-purpose tables. There also needs to be power sources and the room needs to feel like a creative space, not an engineering workshop. For schools where there is little space, “mobile makerspaces” are created – carts equipped with 3-D printers, Lego, LittleBits and robots that are wheeled into various classrooms throughout the day.
We know it can be daunting thinking about how to create a STEAM space for your school, and we are here to help. At zioxi, we can design your space free of charge after completing a site visit and a detailed needs analysis of your requirements. A Makerspace needs to be agile, easily adapted, with plenty of storage and plenty of power capability.
zioxi has a wide range of furniture ideal for your makerspace, including our wired and rechargeable powerHubs for power where you need it, our M1 computer desk range, where the computer can be stored within the desk or simply push down and the computer screen will come up; our CubeWall provides ample storage, with flexible options depending on your needs.
To see more from our recommended STEAM Range, please go to our Google+ board.