Mr Griffiths said the interconnectedness of science, technology, engineering (what we call design and technology in schools), arts and maths, together with applying learning to real-world problems, is challenging and empowering students to come up with creative solutions. This approach pushes students to identify a problem, figure out how to solve it and come up with a range of answers.
“Our pedagogical approach is an important mechanism to fostering creativity,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Students utilize a broad range of knowledge and skills to tackle problems that don’t necessarily have a single answer.”
To enhance student learning, NAE has a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology enabling students to explore STEAM by leveraging the university’s cutting-edge research and teaching. This exposes students to a unique university-inspired model of learning. The MIT Challenges, a set of activities assigned to students at the beginning of each academic year, take as inspiration the research of MIT professors working on real-world problems that students can help solve.
Later this month students across NAE schools will take part in STEAM@MIT, an annual week-long event held at the university, immersing students in the MIT culture of mind and hand problem-solving.
During the visit students meet MIT scientists, build models and experiment in specifically designed workshops, as well as learn about recent discoveries that are expected to shape their future. Themes during the visit include everything from robotics, to bioengineering and coding.
Mr Griffiths works closely with MIT to develop the event’s program, which he said is always action-packed and exciting.
“One time, our students learned about innovative twin fuselage planes being designed by MIT for the future of air transport. They did their own tests in the Wright Brothers wind tunnel,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Students also studied food computers, a technology which enables people to home-grow their own food indoors under computer-controlled conditions.”
Like last year’s STEAM@MIT event, the entire week has been designed to encourage students across NAE’s schools to come up with creative solutions to challenges, Mr Griffiths said.
“Creativity is an invaluable tool for students to have at their disposal and we need to nurture it as best we can,” Mr Griffiths said.
“What we have come to realize is that the future requires all of us to be creative types.”