11 October 2011

STEM to STEAM ~ RISD's Maeda on a Betternym

STEM is a true craponym -- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths are surely important and yet the resultant moniker is totally uninspiring and even demoralizing. In no small measure this is because it misses what inspires and motivates and uplifts us -- namely the Arts! RISD President John Maeda's been among the champions for rectifying this oversight and his STEAM betternym is a pretty good improvement. In homage to our recently felled giant, Maeda writes in the Huffington Post, Jobs Added Art to STEM to Create STEAM...
"Were it not for Jobs' influence, I may not have come to believe -- as I do so fervently today -- that you need the "A" for Art to turn STEM to STEAM. Jobs fueled my career as a technologist, artist, designer, and now as a leader of the art and design school by which all others are measured in the world. All of my artistic work -- like the five works that went into MoMA's permanent collection -- was written on a Mac. [...] Jobs foresaw that innovation now extends beyond smaller, faster and cheaper technology -- that technology didn't have to be a rational thing. The MP3 player wasn't a new thing when the iPod came out, nor was the iPhone the first smart phone. But they were the ones that made you give a damn. In his own words, the reason why the Macintosh was so successful was that it was created by artists, musicians, poets and zoologists. Jobs saw that artists and designers could make the technology emotional, desirable, human. [...] On a grander scale, I thank Jobs and Apple for proving that art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century, like science and technology did in the last century. It is this realization that will keep America competitive; the next Apple will be born if America invests in turning "STEM to STEAM" in its research and education."
I think even STEAM could be improved. How about DREAMS skills maybe? Design, Reasoning, Engineering, Arts, Maths, and Science?

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