The next time you ask someone to, “Give you a hand,” do not be surprised if they take one out that is made of plastic and was created by a 3D printer. The world of STEAM is upon us and is taking the classroom and the community by storm. When it comes to science, technology, engineering, art and math, both children and adults need to keep up with the pace of a constantly evolving world. No matter your age, people who excel in these fields will be tomorrow’s leaders, only stoppable by the limits of their own imaginations.
Some school districts on Long Island have begun having students attend a coding class as a regular part of the curriculum. This is separate from their regular computer lab time. Students start as early as kindergarten. While simple methods of coding, such as block coding, are used when students are young, they move to text-base coding as they get older. Advanced coding is used for special projects such as making robots move. It can also be used to create stunning artwork that is both creative and fun, as well as games that provide entertainment and teachable moments. Web sites such as Khan Academy offer coding lessons for you to learn at home. You can even learn how to draw a snowman using code. This is a great way to combine logic skills with math and art.
Students of college-age can continue their love of STEAM by joining various groups on campus. New York Institute of Technology offers the Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center. This is part of the School of Engineering and Computer Science. They strive to further the advancements made in Information Technology while fostering positive working relationships between the school, related industries, professional organizations and the government. Stony Brook University offers an Innovation Lab. This is a place on campus where entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers can turn their creative ideas into actual products. The lab provides the tools needed to turn these thoughts into reality. It promotes teamwork, as people must support each other and work together for these projects to come to fruition. They also offer workshops on 3D printing and app development. Stony Brook also offers a program called Kidoyo. This group is comprised of mentors and K12 students who want to learn how to code. It expands upon the areas of computer science, engineering and entrepreneurship. Math, art, logic and communication are all part of the learning process along with teamwork and creativity.
A recent conference at the Huntington Launch Pad on Long Island brought together a myriad of organizations and schools to showcase their wares concerning STEAM. Companies such as buncee, Elesapiens, Teq, Life Noggin and We Connect the Dots were on hand to answer questions and offer a glimpse into our technological future. From robots that move on voice command to virtual reality goggles, attendees were fascinated by all the innovative projects, computer programs and learning materials that are available both in schools and in the community.
So the next time you are looking for the latest and greatest advancements in the world of STEAM, why not try a robotic toy such as Meccanoid? This one imitates your voice and movements. Maybe while traveling you will stay at a hotel that uses robots to provide room service. If you want your child to experience all the fun, the Crayola Alive Easy Animation Studio allows you to pose a small mannequin in various actions movements, download a free app, and use stop-motion animation to make your mannequin’s movements come to life on a smartphone or tablet. The possibilities are endless. STEAM leads the way for both children and adults in creating a world that is technologically advanced. Get involved! Be creative! Go full STEAM ahead!