STEAM Education and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
By Matter and Form on December 20th, 2019
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a societal shift that follows in the footsteps of the three other industrial revolutions that have occurred over the last 250 years. Whereas these earlier paradigm-shifts were defined by technologies like steam, electricity, mass production and automation respectively, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is defined by the rapid development of AI, machine learning and a workforce that possesses a highly nuanced, integrated technological expertise.1
In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the merging of digital, biological and physical/technical innovations will become commonplace. Because of this radical merging of fields and disciplines, it will “necessarily require much more interdisciplinary teaching, research and innovation”2. In other words, it requires a change in how we educate the current generation of students so that they are properly prepared for new technologies, skillsets and priorities. This is where STEAM education comes in.
STEAM education is an emerging pedagogy that helps students learn and succeed in the world as it exists today so that they are properly set up for tomorrow. STEAM combines the once-siloed subjects of science, technology, engineering, art and math into one integrated system. This type of learning gives students the tools required to set them up for a successful future that aligns with the technologies and advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Education
With the emergence of this new paradigm, it’s essential to ask whether the current education system is outdated. Do we need to reevaluate the standards and practices of education so that we are setting students up for success?
As we shift into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the education system looks essentially the same as it did a hundred years ago. In these outdated curriculums, students are expected to learn abstract concepts through listening and memorization in siloed classrooms. How is this sustainable? Technological advancements come with new opportunities, challenges and complex skill sets that the current education system cannot support. As educators, parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to prepare and support children in developing the skills and mindsets that will help them better navigate emerging technologies and concepts.
STEAM and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
According to Forbes, 85% of jobs that will be widespread in 2030 don’t exist yet3. No matter the career path, the vast majority of future employees will need integrated technical and problem-solving skills to succeed in these new positions.
Gone are the days where a career is subject to one linear path, so why should the education system? Individuals will be required to have more than one skill set in order to succeed in a high-level career that aligns with the demands and priorities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than just technical skills, this shift requires confidence with hands-on, practical learning and problem-solving that encourages students to embrace creativity, design and innovation.
The ultimate purpose of STEAM education is to develop understanding and confidence in the application of knowledge from different learning disciplines. By helping students develop these skills, educators can set them up for exciting, enriching futures as we progress into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. By creating new curriculums that incorporate STEAM learning, students can learn in integrated settings that encourage critical thinking, iterative testing and the development of technological literacy. Above all, it encourages them to become active creators and future innovators, rather than passive observers.
How Matter and Form “Solves” STEAM
Matter and Form was founded and built on the principles of multidisciplinary creative thinking modelled in STEAM. Our 3D scanners and projects solve STEAM by delivering hands-on learning for next-generation creators. The STEAM pedagogy is meant to replace the current educational pedagogy that was developed in the First Industrial Revolution. STEAM is designed to teach students to think creatively and to confidently apply knowledge from different subject areas. By using our 3D scanners and lesson plans, students practice the application of knowledge and skills from different disciplines to become comfortable with iterating until a solution is found.
The 3D scanning design process can:
- Help to build technological literacy and understanding
- Teach students how design affects function
- Build hands-on technical skills
- Engrain the value of trial and error, problem-solving and iterative testing
- Help students understand how to harness their creativity and innovate using technology
- Prepare students with the skills that match The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Learn More About Matter and Form, STEAM and 3D Scanning
By incorporating STEAM tools such as the Matter and Form 3D scanner into classrooms and curriculums, students can learn and develop confidence in fundamental skills that they can use throughout their professional lives.
- Encyclopedia Britannica. The Fourth Industrial Revolution https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Fourth-Industrial-Revolution-2119734
- Implications of the Fourth Industrial Age on Higher Education – Bo Xing and Tshilidzi Marwala https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.09643.pdf
- Forbes: The 4th Industrial Revolution is Here- Are You Ready? https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/08/13/the-4th-industrial-revolution-is-here-are-you-ready/#4e5bd48e628b