4 responses to “Ask The Readers — Give Me An “A”!”

  1. Darren Landrum

    I always enjoy watching Adam’s talks. His views are very much in line with mine, for the most part.

    Like you, I do think that art education (I’ll include music in this) is as important as the more technical fields. For evidence, I will point to one thing: the vast number of engineers I run across who are also musicians. Myself included. You too, Chris. Jeri as well. She told me once she spent a lot of time in choirs in her past, never mind that amazing C64 bass she made.

    Something I’ve been noticing lately, too, is the trend in the other direction. People who are training or have trained as artists are crossing over into the world of engineering. The Arduino was originally designed for them. It seems to me that the creativity required by both fields are very similar. This is purely anecdotal at this point, though. Maybe someone else has some hard numbers.

  2. Darren Landrum

    Argh! I can’t believe I completely spaced including the entire point I was trying to get to!


    I like the idea of STEM changing to STEAM. Why? Well, as above, I feel an arts education is important, but there is a reason beyond that: branding.

    The branding that can be pulled of with STEAM would be frickin’ amazing! “Help America Rebuild its STEAM!” “Full STEAM ahead for our nation’s schools!” “With STEAM, we can power our future!”

    The possibilities are endless.

    Many people might poo-poo the idea of this kind of branding, but the fact is that this kind of pithy communication is essential for spreading these ideas far and wide.

  3. Outreach Beyond K-12 | Engineer Blogs

    […] Chris posted this weekend about his experiences at Maker Faire, and the idea of STEAM instead of STEM.  On my own blog, I’ve talked a bit about my involvement in the steampunk community. (No idea what steampunk is? Check out Girl Genius for an example) Generally, at least in my region, it’s a group with backgrounds predominantly in visual art, music,  theatre and literature, but with a strong interest in science and engineering. However, in many cases, they never got into science in school. […]

  4. ferd

    Just attended a Maker Fair in Raleigh. Interesting mix of engineering and art there. Yes I agree that art has a place in engineering. Art can make the difference in whether a design is accepted or not. But there is a difference between design (art) and engineering. I’ve worked with many designers who made great art on paper (or computer screen) that could not be translated into practical devices. It doesn’t help that the title “engineer” is misapplied to so many other professions. I know artists who call themselves engineers although they do not have engineering training or degrees (sometimes no coursework in science at all) and can only create fantasy products that cannot be realized via today’s technology. I’m not saying that one must have an Engineering degree to function as an engineer – I’m concerned that too many non-functional “engineers” blur the definition of that profession, making it harder on the true engineers. Often these designers get away with their contributions to an impossible project while the engineers get blamed for not making it happen. But I suppose that’s because it is easier for most people to judge whether they like the looks of a design than understand the realities of creating a product.