STEM begat STEAM. But I think the world needs CSTEAM!

Sometimes you stop and look around. You wonder what could have been if I had chosen differently or gone another way. I started out my professional career as a school teacher. As much to carry on my families tradition (I was the second generation teacher) as to fulfill my own passion. I learned how to deal with people, how to handle arguments and how to manage situations.

My students made fun of me because I filled the chalk boards every day. After lunch I would tell them Fred and Ed stories. In fact I have recorded a number of Fred and Ed stories over the years and you can find one here (and the rest are also at this link). All told in the last six years I have “re” told 15 or so of the stories. Little did I know I would have a live Fred and Ed in my house later, but that is a story for another blog (and I’ve shared it there a number of times).

Why wandering down the misty old memory lane today? I am thinking about the push for STEM (STEAM and what I think is really the need CSTEAM)! Helping students be more effective in math, science, technology, art and connection the piece I added.

I have given a number of talks to high school students in the past five years. From graduation ceremonies to simply presenting to a class of future technologists. They line up afterward and ask me “How do I get to where I want to be?” I find myself mentoring people and guiding them. Helping them on their initial path. But the path I choose, the path I followed is no longer there. You can’t start out in a world connected to an AS/400 where the PC was less a computer but rather a green screen for data entry. Sure, the internet is like one giant super computer but now you can talk to your pc, you can talk to your cellular device and ask questions in plain English. The technology world I grew up in does not exist.

Not by the way that the way I learned was better. The cloud concept design for failure came out of the world I grew up in. But the reason for that design process was not because you could with cloud encompass more points of failure, it was because we failed often back in the day.

I have chased intellectual property for a long time. It has been both a passion and driving force in my career. But I stopped because hitting your head on the ceiling is painful. It makes your head hurt, your neck hurt and you achieve less than the desire results. Its why I fear that STEM is cool but doesn’t solve the problem. STEAM takes into account the reality of Art education as well. See the beauty and you expand the child and adults mind. But I fear the missing piece remains perhaps the biggest one.

Connection. CSTEAM. Why is connection so important? I have over the years had the opportunity to meet many brilliant people. In meeting them I found two things, one they had perspective or were so myopic they saw only one thing. The ones with perspective are the ones to find. They are the connection. Connection is a two fold process, remembering what was when building what will be. Humans have this thing called lore. You don’t go into that forest because it is haunted, that’s the lore. In reality there is probably something bad that happened in the forest once, and people remember that event by keeping other people away from the forest. Eventually though over time, the lore becomes fairy tale and is ignored. Or worse the person who knows why the lore, isn’t asked.

Personally I think we need to capture the escaping lore. CSTEAM would help pull the smart people back to the rest of us for a time to share. Not just success. Perhaps instead we should CSTEAM “SF” with the SF being people that have been there before sharing what succeeded and what failed. Yesterday’s failure can be tomorrow’s great success. Yesterday’s success may not be the way to do it now. Connection is such an important and missing piece. The tribal knowledge contained in the Baby Boomers generation is soon to exit the work force. We need to bridge the divide and let both sides talk.

CSTEAM “SF” education carried from the past to the future. Who knows it may also decrease the divide between those who were in the lab coats and those who are.

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CSTEAM Dreamer…