No, that is not a typo in the title. STEAM (not STEM) learning is the next big movement in education and it's not just another fancy acronym.
The STEAM movement collects the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and adds an “A” for the arts.
Why? If our students are going to become effective 21st century problem solvers working in technical fields, then they'll need the creativity and critical thinking skills that are developed and enhanced through artistic pursuits.
Do We Really Need Another Acronym?
Yes! Traditional education is failing our students and other countries are outpacing the United States in Science and Math. Without the arts, STEM learning can become a practice in rote memorization, taking standardized exams, and acquiring skills that have no perceived linkage to real-life.
The arts serve as the cohesive element that makes STEM learning accessible and inviting to students who are eager to apply their unique sense of creativity to solving real-world problems.
In his celebrated TED Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity?, Sir Ken Robinson proclaims that modern schools fail to cultivate creativity and actually educate students out of it by discouraging imagination and individualism.
Robinson's TED Talk has over 40 million views and has left many wondering how our schools can better promote creative thinking.
Complex 21st century problems, including climate change, social inequality, and divided political landscapes, will require strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The STEAM movement aims to equip students with these skills by injecting an element of creativity and inventiveness into traditional STEM learning.
While the emphasis on STEAM learning varies from school to school, the opportunities for exposing yourself to creative opportunities is available to anyone with an Internet connect, thanks to YouTube.
“Can you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' said Alice.
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
Starting a STEAM learning journey is a creative endeavor whose origins are dictated by your own interests and curiosities.
The following list features ten unique YouTube channels that will get you started down the STEAM rabbit hole.
What color is a mirror? Why do people kiss? Is the 5-second rule true? If intriguing science learning is about exploring the questions that ignite our curiosity, then VSauce is your go-to place for engaging science education. With over 10 million subscribers, this channel captivates audiences of all ages by exploring the mysteries that makes our world an amazing place.
Check Out: What if everyone JUMPED at the same time?
2.) Make (by Makezine.com)
No list of STEAM resources would be complete without incorporating the Maker Movement, which is a technology-based subculture of do-it-yourselfers. Run by the folks at makezine.com, Make shares video content with a focus on teaching students how to merge a do-it-yourself mindset with all of the technology in their lives. The channel celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend technology to your own will. Their Weekend Project videos will have you turning your garage into your very own mad scientist laboratory in no time!
3.) Swerve Graphic Design
Also known as communication design, graphic design is best described as art with a purpose. Swerve is a celebrated contemporary graphic designer who shares video tutorials for those interested in graphic design or motion graphics. If you want to learn how to create high quality designs, logos, advertisements, or animations using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects, then Swerve’s library of over 100 lessons is the place for you.
Check Out: Making a Logo Using Construction Lines
How can you keep track of everything that’s happening in the ever-evolving world of technology? TechnoBuffalo is your go-to forum for all things electronic. This channel is unique in that it shares a compilation of video content uploaded by its subscribers, making it a true online community for tech enthusiasts. Whether it’s the newest iPhone, the electronic engines that run Tesla automobiles, or the world's thinnest laptop, this channel explores the tech features of it all!
Check Out: Exposing the Tech Behind the iPhone 7!
People are gravitating towards coding and it's rapidly becoming an educational requirement for all 21st century students. Learning the language of the technology age gives students a major advantage in a marketplace that is hungry for skilled coders. Code.org’s YouTube channel is dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education by making it free and accessible to every student. If you are interested in learning how to code, start here.
Check Out: Unplugged: What is Computer Science?
6.) The Verge
At the intersection of technology, science, art, and pop culture, you will find The Verge. The hosts of this channel do an incredible job of breaking down, demonstrating, and explaining the ways technology influences our world and what it means to be a human being in the information age. One of the most fascinating channels on YouTube, The Verge gives students insights into what our world will look like over the next century and how they can play a role in the technological revolution.
Check Out: Virtual Reality Comes to Theme Parks
7.) Mashup Math
The STEAM movement has given new meaning to mathematics, which is no longer perceived as a practice in memorizing random procedures that have little application to real life. Launched in mid-2015, Mashup Math takes a next generation approach to teaching math skills. This rapidly growing channel shares video lessons that bring difficult math concepts to life using colorful animations and real-world contexts. Host Anthony Persico proves that you can effectively teach the most complex math concept if you can simplify it enough. Most of the lessons are less than 5 minutes long, but pit them against a boring and confusing lecture any day.
This non-profit organization is on a mission to increase knowledge of contemporary art, ignite discussion, and inspire creative thinking by presenting artists at work and in their own words. Art21 is an award-winning YouTube channel whose creators share more than just art art; they give a voice to the artist and to the art itself. If you are looking for creative ideas and inspiration, their library of over 400 unique art features will do the trick!
Check Out: William Kentridge: Pain & Sympathy
A fresh science lesson every week. Veritasium shadows popular STEM channels like VSauce and ASAP Science and makes easy-to-understand videos that focus on the mysteries of life. Since launching in 2011, it has over 200 science videos covering a range of topics, including reverse gravity, radioactivity, quantum computation, laser hair removal, and everything in between. If you want to explore the unexplored, this should be your first stop.
Check Out: Can Silence Actually Drive You Crazy?
You didn’t think I would forget the art of dance, did you? DanceOn and its buzzworthy music and pop culture videos prove the educational value of physical self-expression. This channel is about merging musical artists with industry leading choreographers and dancers to create videos that captivate, educate, and inspire the next generation. So, why is dance as important as other STEAM disciplines? Becuase no exploration through the arts would be complete without invigorating the spirit through the art of music and physical self-expression.
Check Out: Learn the No-Bones Dance
But Wait, There's More!
There are hundreds of awesome YouTube channels on STEAM education. The ones shared on this list will put you on the right track, but their content represents only a fraction of what is available.
YouTube is a hub for world-class educational resources that can inspire students and empower them to explore and pursue their interests. Whether it is science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the arts, or some combination of them all, there is something for everyone.
What are your go-to YouTube channels for teaching STEAM? Let's make a list in the comments.
By Anthony Persico
Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.