Kristin and I were recently approached by a team of software engineers who are interested in opening a new kind of STEM school in the Seattle area, and we thought it might be fun to sketch out how we'd design such a school.
We'll trickle out our sketch over this week! (It's sort of, ah, long.)
But first, some crucial provisos:
- We're actually a bit leery of the idea of starting a STEM school! The purpose of education is to connect students with the whole world — not just the bits of it connected to science, technology, engineering, and math.
- If a STEM school is going to be made, it should (in our view) use STEM as a focal point for all of education — the arts and humanities included. So, in our sketch to follow, you'll see quite a bit of history, drawing, music, cooking, and so on. This sort of approach sometimes goes under the moniker of 'STEAM', where the 'A' signifies arts. We're a bit leery of this acronym, as it seems to relegate arts to a 1/5 role. (And where are the humanities?) But I suppose you could call our approach a 'STEAM' school.
- We're not starting a STEM (or a STEAM) school — we're starting a school for humans, which means (among other things) for all disciplines. But focusing on the STEM disciplines has helped us see our school plans more clearly. We plan, with our first school, to do more-or-less everything to be sketched out here — and more.