Is STEM to STEAM just hot air ? contribute to STEAMIE to demonstrate evidence that it’s not


There is an ongoing debate internationally on how to overcome disciplinary disadvantages to education in particular in STEM ( science, technology, engineering and math). This debate is millenia old ( See Joe Davis re Marcus Vitruvius Pollio ). Last century we had various initiatives to address the needs and potentials of polymaths…holistic studies.. integrative studies..interdisciplinary studies. There is nothing new under the sun.

So what’s new in the 21st century. Is there any evidence that the STEM to STEAM approach is useful or effective ?

In a recent report the SEAD network issue a report (  )  Alex Topete et al. ‘curated/juried/peer reviewed’ 20 exemplars of what we think STEM to STEAM is about. The qualitative evidences help us to define the STEM to STEAM territory.

Leonardo Journal Co-Editor Robert Root Bernstein has analysed extensive all the controlled , or semi controlled ) studies of stem to steam teaching. ( )

So what’s the next step in developing evidence for the variety of people we need to convince  ?

Leonardo is pleased to announce the Steam Initiative in Education ( yes STEAMIE for short ) through which we hope to aggregate evidence that is being developed internationally through a ’emerging topic’ call for papers, books etc  for Leonardo Publications.

This project is being co-edited by:

Prof Tracie Constantino, Rhode Island School of Design, see her article: STEAM by another name: Transdisciplinary practice in art and design education, Arts Education Policy Review. 

And Leonardo Co-Editor Robert Root Bernstein….we provide the detailed call for papers and hope you will help us distribute it.

As you will see below, the call seeks to document and disseminate strong evidence based on contemporary science of learning, cognitive sciences, and education technology developments.

In parallel Kathryn Evans and Eun Ah Lee of UTD are re-launching our CDASH inventory of STEAM curricula and syllabi through a “cloud curriculum’ project originally initiated by Paul Thomas, Nina Czegledy and the Leonardo Education and Art Forum (LEAF) :

If you have curricula, and or syllabi you would like to share- go to 

So is STEM to STEAM just hot air, or can we develop the evidence that its a good thing ?

Call for Papers: LEONARDO STEAM Initiative on Education – STEAMIE

Section Co-Editors:

Tracie Constantino, Rhode Island School of Design, and Robert Root-Bernstein, Michigan State University

The STEAM movement, focused on integrating arts (broadly encompassing visual and performing arts, crafts and design) into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is well underway. We are avid advocates of this movement, but worry that integration of arts and sciences into curricula from K-12 through graduate and professional education is not supported by sufficiently rigorous pedagogical studies. If STEAM is to succeed, it must be underpinned by pedagogical principles, methods and materials that of high quality and reliability. Towards that end, the Editors of LEONARDO have decided to create a STEAM Initiative on Education that will devote a section of the journal to innovative, inspiring and important studies of STEAM pedagogies.

In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, we explicitly welcome diverse methodologies such as mixed methods designs and novel assessment methods designed to meet the special needs of STEAM educators. We particularly welcome studies employing well-designed, randomized class-room controls and utilizing well-validated learning measurement standards, but LEONARDO recognizes that one of the challenges of STEAM integration is that it may require new approaches to teaching and learning. We therefore welcome articles that are focused on the development and testing of novel approaches and methods for purveying and evaluating integrated learning.

We intend to set the bar high. We are not interested in studies that rely on student self-reports about whether they found a particular lesson plan “exciting” or “fun” or teacher opinions that the students were “more engaged”.  These effects may be real and they may be important, but the papers LEONARDO is looking for demonstrate that these effects impact learning, preferably over the long term. Our goal is to make sure that as STEAM education takes hold within our educational establishments, it does so in the most effective and useful ways.

Guidelines for the preparation of manuscripts can be found at:

Tracie Costantino (2017): STEAM by another name: Transdisciplinary practice

in art and design education, Arts Education Policy Review.

Root-Bernstein RS, Pathak A, Root-Bernstein MM. PART 1. A Review of Studies Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Integrating Arts, Music, Performing, Crafts and Design into Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical Education, Part 1: Summary of Evidence that Integration Is Professionally Useful and Effective. LEONARDO 2017:  doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01579

Root-Bernstein RS, Pathak A, Root-Bernstein MM. PART II.  Review of ACD-STEMM Integration, Part 2: Statistically-Validated and Controlled Pedagogical Studies of the Root-Bernsteins’ “Tools for Thinking”. LEONARDO 2017: doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01580

Root-Bernstein RS, Pathak A, Root-Bernstein MM. PART III. Review of ACD-STEMM Integration, Part 3: Statistically-Validated and Controlled Pedagogical Studies of Eleven  ACD-Integration Strategies Utilized by STEMM Professionals and General Conclusions. LEONARDO 2017: doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01581  

Any other questions to