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Why is a STEAM Curriculum Perspective Crucial to the 21st Century?

Taylor, P.C. (2016) Why is a STEAM Curriculum Perspective Crucial to the 21st Century? In: 14th Annual conference of the Australian Council for Educational Research, 7 - 9 August 2016, Brisbane



Well-recognised as a powerful driver of national economic growth, STEM lies at the heart of calls worldwide for educational reform. In Australia, Chief Scientists are calling for STEM education to better engage students on STEM-related career pathways. In the US, STEM educators are being urged to produce graduates with creative and innovative abilities required of an increasingly high-tech workforce. However, an equally important challenge for STEM education is to prepare young people with general capabilities for active participation in community and professional forums for addressing ethical issues associated with the global impact of science and technology. Education for sustainable development remains a pressing priority. Thus, STEM educators are being challenged to design curricula and pedagogies to develop students’ disciplinary knowledge and skills, as well as their abilities as critical consumers, creative and ethically astute citizens, innovative designers, good communicators and collaborative decision-makers. There is an international wellspring of educators endeavouring to meet this challenge by combining STEM and the arts to produce a multi-literate citizenry and workforce for the 21st century. In this presentation I will outline how two secondary schools in Western Australia are developing interdisciplinary STEAM curricula.

In this paper I outline reasons why integrating the arts with science, technology, engineering and mathematics is not just another curriculum fad but an important response to the pressing need to prepare young people with higher-order abilities to deal positively and productively with 21st century global challenges (crises) that are impacting the economy, the natural environment and our diverse cultural heritage.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Conference Website:
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