You may have heard the term STEM before (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in the education world. Right now there is an emphasis on teaching children these skills, because analysts predict that in the next decade, 80% of professions will require a deep understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math. Educators are motivated to teach these skills so that children will have the opportunity to later pursue careers in these fields.
But is focusing solely on STEM skills a complete education? Definitely not. It's important to balance STEM activities with fun and creativity, or even better, combine the two. I believe arts education and STEM education can enrich each other. Technological advances are furthered by creativity, and artistry is enhanced by sharpening the mind, increasing our understanding of the world around us and how it works. Physics plays a role in sculpting with different materials. Exposure to art can make the technology we create more interesting, and more relevant to the human experience.
STEM learning combined with creativity and play has been something we have been thinking about a lot here at the library. Participating in tech activities encourages youth to be curious, ask questions, and make connections with the world around them, and we can think of no better setting for these activities than with family. Even if we, as parents, don't have honed STEM skills ourselves, we can learn alongside our children, and as we do our relationships are enriched and children can see from the examples of their parents that STEM skills aren't scary or hard. When kids participate in learning play with their families, we make it more accessible to them simply with our prescence, our interest, and our attention, and we open many doors of possibility for them in the future.
I'm excited to announce that we have created a Family Tech Night series where we will explore different science, technology, engineering, and math principles with fun and creative play. Families can come and have a guided demonstration from a librarian before getting a hands-on experience with the tech themselves. Our first Family Tech Night is this coming Wednesday, September 20th at 6:30 in the Shaw Programming Room #260. We will be using littleBits, small circuits that easily snap together, to create fun inventions and learn how one type of circuit can affect the next.
We're excited to demonstrate this simple but foundational technological principle, as well as create some fun tech, and we hope to see you there!