Full STEAM Ahead with the NASA Opportunities in Visualization, Art, and Science (NOVAS) Program
There has been increasing interest in the use of art as a new tool in the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The concept has received major consideration by our federal government, design colleges, art institutes, and leading universities. Many have, in fact, fully embraced this concept, and it’s not unusual today to see “Art” added to STEM to get STEAM. On August 5, 2014, the NASA-funded NASA Opportunities in Visualization, Art, and Science (NOVAS) program team provided a professional development workshop at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2014 Annual Meeting. In this two-hour workshop, participants learned about the rise of STEAM and were shown valuable skills and techniques used by the NOVAS program for the application of STEAM in a variety of out-of-school time (OST) settings. The workshop highlighted how OST and other informal educators can use art and digital media to help teach about current, cutting-edge STEM investigations, and why scientists need artists to help visualize and communicate their research. Although NASA science and project outcomes from the NOVAS program were emphasized, participants also discussed how NOVAS’ methodologies could be applied to other STEM subjects and OST formats.