Critical thinking is an important aspect of moving science and technology forward – and it is best taught through arts and humanities. 3D education in schools takes a step forward in this direction as it brings the arts back into the curriculum. Putting 3D printers in schools stimulates out-of-the-box thinking among the students by combining technology with creativity to generate new ways for them to learn basic educational components such as math, history, and geography. As they revisit this popular episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard advocate for adding the “A” into critical thinking and ethical context for 3d print design and technological innovation to advance humanity.
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Strengthening 3D Education in Schools: Critical Thinking Is Taught Through Art and Humanities, Not Just Sciences – Updated 2020
We are bringing back to you a popular episode from several years ago, but we’re putting a new little twist on it here with this introduction. This is a conversation we had about how critical thinking is taught through art and not sciences.
That was the original conversation, but we want to add that and expand that we taught through art and humanities. If we’re going to strengthen 3D education in school, we need to look at critical thinking as one of the aspects. We’ve been talking about that as we’ve been exploring the 3D education format. We’ve got episodes that come before and episodes that are coming after this one as we do an education summit, an education section in the series that we’re doing with HP. We’re taking a look at that. What does it take to improve 3D education outcomes and improve learning outcomes in general? Mostly, we’ve been talking STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and we always talk STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. We say that but when we mean Arts, and that’s the one thing we wanted to clarify here, was we wanted to expand it to include Humanities in general. That’s important. I’m a big reader and I was raised by a Liberal Arts major. The resources we’re going to add to this post is an article in The Washington Post about why we still need to study the Humanities in a STEM world. I was raised to believe this, but we both whole wholeheartedly agree Arts and Humanities is critical.
There are certain traits around Liberal Arts and Arts in general that are super critical and that we are real big proponents of. That’s curiosity is a critical trait, also creativity and empathy. Empathy is huge in this and it’s not to be understated.
I want to message this in terms of what’s going on in the world now. We need to start looking at our science, our engineering, our math, our technology and innovation, and all of these things out there to help us do good in the world. To improve the sustainability, to improve medicine, to improve our access to things like education and our access to things like manufacturing in general and stable supply chains and all of the things that we’ve been talking about. If we don’t have an ethical basis and understanding of what that means, which we tend to get that out of the Humanities programs in school, then we don’t have an understanding of anything but the math and but the science. The basic numbers and details, we need to put it into context as humans and what we’re going to do in the world with this.
This is where I think it may get a little controversial here, but in terms of our viewpoint on this, we think that there are a lot of unintended consequences that can come out of technology and that can come out of a global economy. We’re starting to see what that is. The speed of COVID-19 around the world is an unintended consequence of great aeronautics. We can travel all over the world. We now do business all over the world. It’s an unintended consequence of that. We now need to make sure that we’re adapting and we’re understanding what does that mean and what is that causing? That I think is our big push for something that we’re cultivating more humanity in our technology, in our innovation and in our STEM. That’s why we’re such big believers in adding the A.
Not only that. Clearly there’s evidence now at this time, as this series is airing, we’ve had many people because of COVID-19 that’s staying at home for so long that you can see now, as states have been starting to open up, the real hunger that human beings have for human connection. This is the humanity side of things. They’re itching to get out and interact with people. This is evidence of the need. People tend to have different thinking styles, and usually 1 of 4 different ones are either creative first or they’re people first, a human connection or they’re more logistically oriented thinkers of processes and systems or they’re purely numbers people. Bottom line, what’s the data? Engineers tend to be data-based. It’s important to understand that if you only speak toward the numbers and the data, you’re leaving out easily half of the people, the things that you talk about and the work that you do, there’s a good half of the population at least that’s not going to respond to the data and the numbers.
As we look at the world economic forum and the types of characteristics of hiring of people of what they’re looking at by broadening into these few Arts and Humanities, you start to also broaden the ability for you to learn how to connect with other people, learn how to have empathy with other people, learn how to get along and do team things. We also are balancing out the more that we create the digital connectivity, the more that we have more social media, more big data, more of these things going on. We’re finding that it’s essential to bring human judgment into the process. We have curation and we have other issues and we have to inform AI algorithms. The Humanity part of that is as important as the numbers.
We need to do both and we need to be good at doing both. That’s why we’re big proponents of this. That’s why we thought we should bring back this episode because it was one of our more popular ones because we’re not criticizing STEM in any way, shape or form. We want to supplement that, so we can make it stronger. To be honest with you, both of us have found this to be an extremely important part of why we’ve been successful here. We can speak on that inspiration and creativity in that bigger, broader level. We were also looking at what does this mean for humans? Will people buy our stuff? How do we do all of that in that process? Not just how to make this thing. That’s been a success factor for us. That’s also why we wanted to represent this to you.
Also, it’s putting into context some of these episodes that are coming back and forth as we start to take a critical look at our education program. We’re taking a look at 3D education in schools and what this means and how we can bring those 3D printers into various parts of the school or the 3D design education. All of those things and the different parts of schools, bringing them into our Liberal Arts education, bringing them into the social science classroom, bringing them in into different places. Now we’re integrating better our STEM, our thinking, our thought process and our developing of human beings. Isn’t that a better way to go? I want to end with my dad because my dad is an engineer.
When I first met him, I don’t even want to think of how many years ago it was. At the time, I saw him as a black and white thinker, meaning things are either right or wrong. Over time, I tend to learn differently.To really strengthen #3Deducation, we need to look at critical thinking as one of its most important aspects. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
My dad had a Liberal Arts education and then went into Science through Arizona State University. He was an ASU grad, and he went into that engineering side of things to become an engineer. He worked for Daniel Corporation for a long time and many other companies in the oil and gas industry. What he always brought me was that viewpoints on the world, when you read something, you should read five books on anything. That’s how he always presented to me. He was like, “I want you to read five viewpoints. If you can read something that’s a how-to manual, an engineering book or anything that’s technical, then you must read about what was going on in that time period. You must read something historical and then you must read something in literature.”
Over time, I added to that. You wanted to look at the art, look at the paintings, look at the graphics and illustrations that were going on if they were in newspapers or in other places. When you do that, you get a broader look and put the innovation, the technology, the things that were going on that I’m building off of into context. That’s where we start to understand why things happen and when they happened, why they occurred at that time period. When we do that, we can start to look at ourselves critically as well and saying, “It’s not enough to put out a how-to manual. I need to put out a context about why 3D printing is taking off in this day and age, and what’s making that difference?”
It’s not because you could look at it hard and fast. It’s not because a bunch of patents were released in 2009 and that opened up the floodgates. We knew there was a need. There was a gap, there was a human interaction thing going on. There was technology and innovation, but there was a driver for more. That’s what we’re seeing. When we can do that in a better way, then we learn more and we become better human beings, better designers, better creators, better engineers, all of those things make us better and broaden that ability. Let’s definitely bring that 3D education into our school with the Arts and Humanities added to it.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. That will be the end of that and what you’re learning from your father has taught you. We wholeheartedly believe in it, we’ve experienced it. We hope that makes sense to you and that you’ll appreciate not only this new intro to this episode, but the episode that was popular. Let’s go to the episode.
Critical Thinking is Taught Through Art, Not Sciences – originally aired on January 6, 2017
We have a good one today that started partially from a question from an audience but also delves into another subject we have wanted to talk about for a while.
It’s obvious from it being WTFFF?! that we are very comfortable throwing out acronyms here. We throw out a lot of acronyms which means letters that represent something. We forget sometimes that we have newbies in the audience or international audience who don’t always understand the terms that we are using. One of them came to us from outside of the country and asked, “What the heck is STEM and STEAM?”
That’s a valid question, and shame on us for not defining it sooner. A lot of people in the US, particularly those in the education field where we have a lot of teachers and students in the audience. We are going to address it quickly and there’s another bigger picture subject related to this.
STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, so we add the Arts in there. If you have listened to the podcast, you know we are big proponents of adding the A and making it STEAM so that we are adding the Arts. Our reason for it isn’t just because we have the perspective of coming from art school, but it also comes from growing up. My dad was a Liberal Arts major and went into the engineering world. He worked for a big engineering corporation and was really upset that I didn’t want to become an engineer, but be an artist instead. However, what it really was though, was that he was a Liberal Arts major and believed in literature. It was always in our house. Critical thinking comes more through the Arts than it does through the Sciences, Technology and Math. That is a little bit controversial.
You’re going to need to explain it to me, not that I doubt you but I want to hear the meat behind that.
Technology, Science and Math would not progress if someone didn’t critically think about ways to violate the rules. There are rules in Math and Science, and your job is to prove those rules. You have a hypothesis and prove it out in Science. You start with a proof in Math and go through the formula of what that is. That is the essence and basis of those things. There is nothing wrong with that. At some point, you have to critically think to violate that, to do something innovative, to do something disruptive, to do something that is outside of the normal connection of that straight mathematical process. When you do that, learning that critical thinking process comes from the arts, humanities, literature, people being critical, criticizing and getting your mind to think in that way, getting your mind not to accept the rules. I am a big proponent of continuing to make sure that all of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math has a component that forces the critical thinking through it, that forces the creativity into it. Otherwise, you’re just teaching someone how to use a 3D printer. You are not teaching someone how to create using a 3D printer, how to do something else with a 3D printer, to make it their own.#3Dprinting helps bring the arts back into the schools and force creativity into the curriculum. @hp @zbyhp Click To Tweet
Don’t get me wrong. There is a process by which this works. You have to learn how the machine runs. You have to learn these technical things. That is not the goal of education. That is the means to an end. That’s why I want to keep Arts in there because it forces that into the process. It makes that happen. Our schools are set up in a way to try to eliminate deviation, it’s a conformity thing. Whenever possible, we build in opportunity for essays in our English classes so it’s not just a question and answer thing. It’s not cut and dry. That’s what we want everybody to come out of school, be able to critically think because that is how we are going to move things along.
We see in our communities, schools, the old term we see people use to describe classes and curriculums and pursuits that people go after involving 3D printing were just STEM. That was the first real term that they used. They left out the Arts. We see over time that they are including the A, and more of them are calling it STEAM rather than STEM. It’s sad to me, especially in the United States, and hopefully not in the other countries some of you may be in, but the Arts really got left behind with school budgets. We had Art in our schools growing up, but then our kids have a traveling Art teacher they maybe see once a month in our public schools.
I had that here in the Irvine Unified School District here in California. In the ‘80s you had that. That’s terrible. We had a teacher who came every six weeks.
We had it in our schools throughout our schooling in the Northeast. It really has been cut back so much. One of the great things that 3D printing is helping to do is bring the Arts back into the schools.
It forces that creativity into the curriculum again in the classes where it might not have been as logical, but I think that really what it is doing, and you and I believe this strongly because we believe that our design process is a process of thinking. We can innovatively think our way to solutions for any problem that arises. We also feel comfortable doing it every day in our artistic endeavors. It’s a comfort level with that critical thinking. It’s a comfort level with that problem-solving. We don’t feel uncomfortable when the answer isn’t cut-and-dry, yes-no, ABCD. We are comfortable in that world.
I always have appreciated that my college education taught me how to think more than anything else. There were actual techniques I had to learn of many different things, but really what our Art school taught us was how to think. Whenever we approach a project, it’s always a thought process first, and then how we are going to execute that. Then you have rules and limitations.
Coming up, we are going to have an interview with STEAM Maker Workshop, which is out of San Diego. It was one that our Teacher of the Year, Cindi Schulze, referred us to as to who hired her. They put the A in their STEAM Maker Workshop for a reason because they want to encourage innovation and not invention. They believe strongly that innovation comes from that arts and critical thinking. I love the idea of that.
We hope this explains why we use the terms STEM and STEAM, and why we feel so strongly that the Arts belong with our Science, Technology, Engineering and math. Those basic questions are why we are here, so if we are not defining something, send us a message.
Please let us know. We’re sorry we overlooked that. Just a last tidbit on that. He even asked a follow-up question, “What does an acronym mean?” because that is a very English thing as well. An acronym is a word that is created from the first letter of a bunch of other words to shorten something that you’re talking about. It’s a new word that is created from the first letter of a bunch of other words.
It’s like FFF is Fused Filament Fabrication. WTFFF is What The FFF. It is all an acronym. It happens when you get within an industry that you start throwing around terms. We write 3DP all the time, which is 3D Printing. It happens all the time in the industry and we get a little focused and forget that we have new audience sometimes. The people who are interested in it, we just make it more difficult for them by the mere fact that we forget to define them at least some point in the process. We are going to try to be better about that.
Never be afraid to reach out to us and ask us a simple question like that. That’s an easy one for us to answer, and we do answer them. Serve them up. This has been Tracy and Tom on the WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast.
Get Even More!
Learn more about HP 3D printing in higher education
- The Washington Post article on Humanities in STEM
- Studies in 3D Print Curriculum with Cindi Schulze
- Engaging Girls in STEAM Education with Suz Somersall
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