The Difference Between STEM & STEAM Education

Understanding the difference between STEM AND STEAM

The combination of the subjects Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths are collectively referred to as the acronym STEM. On the other hand, STEAM is the acronym for the combination of Arts in addition to all subjects from STEM i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths. 

Arts refers to subjects such as humanities, dance, language, drama, music, design, visual arts, and media studies. The primary contrast between STEM and STEAM, is that STEM solely centres on the subjects of science and the ideas of logic. While STEAM researches similar ideas, this technique does this through a practical approach to learning strategies utilised with the help of creative ways.

This generally appears as though students are working cooperatively to make an engaging concept or article that depends on the comprehension of a STEM idea. For example, the arithmetic of the parabola used to make compelling symbolism through artwork.

The idea of learning through the STEAM technique is not a new concept. Leonardo Da Vinci, convinced us about the significance of joining science and creativity to make new revelations. In a similar manner, Indigenous Australians have a long-standing convention of passing on various ideas and scientific knowledge in the form of songs and music. This is a classic example of the fact that science, combined with the creative arts, can result in wonders!

While both these methodologies follow a different approach, it is important for both students and educators to study and understand how each works.

Understanding the importance of STEM

Science and technology lead to the creation of new items and distinctive procedures that aid in a nation’s economy. The innovation with science education banks upon a robust data base in the realm of understanding the basics of STEM. Unmistakably, most occupations in the upcoming years will require an individual to possess an essential comprehension of maths and science. In spite of looking at these convincing realities, the average scores in mathematics and science among students are lingering behind others. Let us try to understand how STEM training can be extremely essential for the youth of any nation.

Innovation  and science is constantly venturing into each part of our lives on an everyday basis – making STEM a significant subject. Science lies in every field and occupation of our lives along with each action that we take in our day to day living. By introducing students to STEM while presenting them opportunities to analyse and investigate the knowledge and ideas related to STEM, they will propagate a new sense of enthusiasm for it.

Educational programs that are based on STEM have real circumstances to aid the students in the learning process. STEM offers a hands-on and minds-on experiences to the students. Making maths and science, fun and fascinating encourages students to enjoy education and explore a new kind of learning.

Understanding the importance of STEAM

STEAM training in schools offers individuals a chance to learn and create – utilising critical thinking and practical applications. These overall abilities are essential to growing a workforce that is prepared for the future that understands and owns the capability of tackling complex situations occurring in real life. This technique leads us to ’22nd-century skills’ – that are predicted to be around connection, care and culture.

There are a myriad of opportunities to provide hands-on learning coming up in schools and institutions around the world. These are better known as “maker spaces”. Each of these opportunities usually focuses on combining the skill of discovery, along with the learning process. They encourage the utilisation of science and tech assets, in order to achieve different phenomenal results, such as data art and gaming.

It’s fascinating to see such a significant number of STEAM ideas appearing in current mainstream society, motivating trust – especially among young women. Elements like Shuri’s character in the film Black Panther – the wise, imaginative and lively technologist – encourages individuals to move past the notions related to STEM embedded in history and embrace new ages of interdisciplinary pioneers.

Similar creative examination and assets completely understand the association between science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, on the impact they have on one another. Educators who have adapted the STEAM learning technique usually observe the students discovering certain connections among various concepts. They also notice that the problem-solving skills of their students have enhanced visibly. Moreover, they strongly witness their students being actively engaged in the whole learning process, which is usually reflected with their expressions caught in experiencing varied moments of joy. 

If we adopt the learning technique of STEAM, we can challenge assumptions that all these territories of learning are independent and move ahead of the “I am acceptable at maths and science, so I am not imaginative” perspective. This will transform the way in which the world is perceived and generate a new thought process on being connective, multifaceted and comprehensive, along with an assorted variety of ideas, expressions, and thoughts. After all, that is exactly how things and situations work in real life.


Both STEM and STEAM are learning techniques that have been used by previous generations and will be embraced by generations to come. The most critical aspect of choosing between the two is understanding the needs and capabilities of an individual while making the right decision accordingly. Choosing the right approach will naturally lead towards a successful futuristic learning experience.

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Industry 4.0 – Time to reassess business plans

Mouli Ganguly, Member, Board of Advisors, talks on Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation and more:

  1. How has market reacted to digital transformation so far? What are some factors that seem to aid it/ factors that act as a barrier?

Introduction of computers in the 80s and internet in the 90s were digital transformations (DT). These transformations speed up an existing process in their own way.

Currently, with Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data etc, we are heading to the third wave in digital change. With this change, content reach has become faster and more specific to the user’s individual & specific context.

There is a question of what is the hype and what is the reality? The hype is often an expectation that Everything will turn digital from day one. But the reality is it takes a long, long time.

Digital disruption is when the whole user experience changes. When you look at the current technologies like AR-VR, you are in an immersive environment. The second thing that changes in a business is convenience. It gets faster and better. Take for instance YouTube, people are not wholly dependent on it for video services. We have now got other video streaming options. From being costly and time-consuming to produce a video, now they’ve become so simple.  Within a span of five years, existing technologies have changed so much.

In the residential space, AR-VR is already there. If you look at smartphones or movies, almost every movie has a VR effect in it. Whereas in the enterprise phase, it is happening far more slowly due to change management issues. There are a whole lot of processes, policies, rules that play out. These multi-factor influences act as barriers, at times.

Take a look at this scenario:

On a personal level, if you see a 3-D glass that you fancy, you just go ahead and buy it and try it and see. But in the enterprise phase, we cannot change what we do on a day-to-day basis, immediately. It is a gradual process to adopt changes and involves formal change management. Enterprises don’t have individual decisions like personal buyer choices. A new technology adoption must act in a certain business standard. In an enterprise space, one person cannot just act on it or start using something. There are other people involved. This is a huge barrier in adopting or initiating digital transformation.

  1. If you were to chart a blueprint for an enterprise’s digital transformation, what actions would it typically involve?

Adopting new technologies to businesses happen if there is a clear benefit. Unlike personal choices, a business cannot adopt a technology or a process without a defined benefit. There should be a strategy or a growth plan that cites the benefits.

Benefits can be divided into three: Either the customer or staff experience the product or service delivers is much superior leading to increased loyalty and willingness to adopt from them. Since organisations measure customer satisfaction, this is an inclusive environment.

Next one on the list is Product or process improvement. Take for instance claims processing in an Insurance company. It is quite difficult organising in person, especially if the person has availed trauma insurance. In a digital world, you can have a number of different tools from virtual assistance to people working in collaborative environments to remote diagnostics with telemedicine, all of these improves the overall process.

Enterprises must include the market & customer in its product development. It is easier to create a digital product. One can quickly create a product and launch it and test it as a POC (proof of concept), before scaling up or canning it all together.  Therefore, the whole product cycle in the market is faster than before. Through failure, you learn, Fail fast and fail without incurring a high cost or brand damage and you will innovate with successful offerings.

Finally comes the cost reduction factor. Basically, several things drive digital adoption. You grow the experience, generate customers, grow staff loyalty and therefore get more market opportunities. You get market opportunities to get new products by reducing the cycle time to market, your process has changed, you change the format quickly. And as your cost reduces, you become more productive. This sort of drives some of the opportunity.

Now, what is the big risk that you face while doing so?

Benefits, use cases & training/change management needs are not clear. For instance, when we say I’ll improve the claims processing experience in an insurance company, one needs to clearly articulate what is the use case. What is the customer roadmap of the journey? How the customer uses the new digitised transformational services that you provide. Then one has to map it all the way. At each point, you have to state what is different. How or where will I be delivering this service and how will the business be using it. It is not a technology or process issue. Business must very clearly define the benefits they will get.

Now, how do you do it?

Firstly, create a simple proof of concept. And these concepts have been around for a long time, but very, very quickly you spin something up like Appearition is doing at the moment, we can create an experience for the customer to show them the actual benefits very quickly.

The next thing that comes is change management. You have to say, if we are going to do things differently, digital is to be applied on a day to day basis, how do you make sure that when either our customers or suppliers or staff use it, how’d they be trained, accept it and use it. And most importantly, everybody in the eco-system, i.e. the staff, customers, suppliers should be able to deal with the change. This change management leads to a fully functional prototype. Proof of concepts at a very low price, say 30-50k dollars, roughly, you show them how it is done, from there we move to a fully functional prototype. From the prototype, we get a use case development.

In our design, we use tools like machine learning, artificial intelligence, data from the Internet of things and analytics to continually improve the experience.

The last one, which must be designed in terms of the blueprint, is integration. Every organisation has a whole lot of legacies. Because nobody is working in a vacuum. The new systems have to interwork with the legacy in most cases. This becomes a difficult, costly & cumbersome process.

3. What are some of the opportunities and risks that enterprises will face whilst adopting it?

Whatever digital services one provides, one must draw the data from those existing legacies. One of the elements to add to the risk is realisation. Because, sometimes, some firms do not have a clear strategy on how they want to go digital. They just dump and start an initiative without a strategy. So, if you get an application up and running, it will look very nice and appealing to whoever designed it and they will think this will change the world. But if there is no change management to support it, the customers, the staff are not wedded to it. It hasn’t been well thought through.


Follow this space for Part-2 of this interview.

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