Fort Mill School District students learn important computer arts magazines skills that will help them in their future careers. They use Adobe Photoshop and other digital art tools to complete classroom assignments.
Two years ago, South Carolina’s district administrators launched the STEAM initiative. They didn’t limit creativity to the art class, but expanded artistic design to math, English, and science classes. To champion student creations, new roles were created for staff members. These included a district director of STEAM and STEAM leaders in the classroom.
Every elementary school has a STEAM leader Hyde Park Computer Center and a technology integrationist. The STEAM leaders in middle schools, computer arts magazines, and high schools work together to create learning opportunities that are consistent with the standards.
Victoria Brioc is director of STEAM, career and technical education. “Creativity the cornerstone for innovation,” she says. Our students will be able to think creatively and become problem solvers, accept challenges, and eventually, ready for the job of the future.
Training and collaboration
Brioc states that professional development is intense in relation to the STEAM initiative. Five days of professional development are provided to a team of 17 teachers leaders from each district. They focus on problem-based learning, designing and planning interdisciplinary STEAM units using digital resources and devising strategies for implementation.
Brioc says that teacher leaders return to their classrooms as learning labs, providing support and training for their peers.
Career paths in digital arts
Teachers can join partnerships with local businesses and organizations to help students solve real problems or create solutions as part of the STEAM initiative. Students can get feedback from employees about their design and art work during these tasks so they can make improvements. The final versions are then presented to the teachers by students.
A local graphic designer presented computer arts magazines to second graders and explained how illustration, typography and photography are all important parts of his work. Brioc states that students learned about visual communication through the creation of advertisements and logos for an economics project.
These talents are also part of the high school CTE career paths, especially in digital arts, design, business, and computer programming. These programs offer work-based learning opportunities for high school students. This can lead to industry certifications such as Microsoft, Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud, Graphic Design and Illustration, and Autodesk Inventor.
Brioc says that incorporating the arts and problem-based learning in high school programs has many benefits. This includes encouraging collaboration and inclusion between students who might not otherwise be able to interact. This allows for deeper leadership, creativity, and critical thinking, as well as increasing engagement and enthusiasm for learning.