Minecraft in the Classroom

Video games being used as educational tools in the classroom has been an oft-discussed topic, and it’s great to see when they are used effectively in real life situations.

For example, the classrooms of Hank Lanipher and Amy Yount, two social studies teachers at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington.  They use Minecraft as a tool for learning the architecture of various cities in history, but also as a way to gain life lessons and interact with their classmates.

The teachers used Minecraft to allow students to get a “first hand” look at an ancient Roman city, assigning them each a home to build and a plot of land.  Playing in the game’s Creative mode, the students had unlimited resources to build with, but ran into interesting problem solving situations when they requested materials that Minecraft did not have in it.  The exercises introduced students to floor plans, architecture, and group interactivity.

The school reached out to TeacherGaming for the Minecraft experience. The company’s co-founder has experience with using Minecraft with young students, using it with classrooms as early as second grade to teach about proper online behavior and social interactions. The goal was to get students to work together on large, collaborative projects and learn proper online etiquette. In today’s social and highly online world, these lessons can’t come too early.

As soon as TeacherGaming started doing this for their students, schools and teachers from around the world became interested. Even outside of the direct classroom, many teachers like Brian Eastman, a math teacher at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, are starting after-school Minecraft clubs.  Using Minecraft, teachers and institutions are able to stress the importance of cooperation over competition, and foster the social skills and interactions of kids of all ages, as well as use it as a unique learning tool for things such as social studies and math.

To read the full article, visit <a href=””>The Washington Post.</a>

Design and Building Summer Camp for Girls

Starting this summer from July 8 to the 19th, REALM Charter High School in Berkeley, CA will be holding a camp for girls ages 9-12 focused around design and building called Studio G.  It is self-described as “a one-of-a-kind design and building summer camp that sparks creativity and curiosity through hands-on building, problem-solving, and meaningful making.”

Girls will work with tools like jigsaws and welders, fusing metal and creating both personal and social projects of relevance.  By integrating STEAM skills, Studio G aims to build confidence, grit, and the belief that anything is possible.  Camp members will emerge equipped to communicate “audacious” ideas through their creative voice, transform communities, and go forth into higher education and careers in any field of their choosing.

To learn more about the Studio G Building Camp, view their Camp Guide PDF here.

The Duke STEAM Challenge


The Duke STEAM Challenge is an initiative encouraging students to show their skills in STEAM related fields. The Challenge consists of two events, each with various prize rewards.

The STEAMy Summer Challenge has just recently launched, and sporting a grand prize of $1000, challenges you to show why STEAM matters to you. Through the creation of a video using animation, claymation, documentary, or soundscapes, display in a maximum of two minutes the importance of STEAM.

The big challenge spans all the way into January of 2014. Teams will identify a real world problem or issue and suggest an idea for a project based-solution that utilizes an interdisciplinary STEAM approach.  Finalists will be chosen after an impromptu live pitch.

Transforming the World with STEAM

Quoting icons like Steve Jobs and Carl Sagan, Duke aims to invigorate student activism in bettering the world through STEAM initiatives.  Taken from their website:

“Is there something dance teaches us about DNA? How can the medical imaging techniques used to detect pre-cancerous changes in cell tissue help in restoring masterpieces? Can a local media arts project in public schools be used to connect air pollution and the youth asthma epidemic? How can the digitization, data mining, and visualization of historical census data be combined with oral histories, narratives, and photographs of once-vibrant communities to help inform public opinion and even policy about the next phase of urban renewal?”

The applications open in Fall of this year, and is welcoming every student from undergrad, graduate, and professional schools to work in inter and transdisciplinary teams, sharing expertise and working to create new and innovative solutions to global problems.


Visit to learn more!

Photo for STEM Video Game Challenge

2013 STEM Video Game Challenge!

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition that aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. Join the new faces of game design and start designing today! Visit to learn more or submit your game! Deadline is April 24, 2013.


CGU’s STEAM Journal, Inaugural Issue!

Photo for Steam Journal The Claremont Graduate University’s Transdisciplinary Studies program has just released the inaugural issue of their STEAM Journal! A “transdisciplinary, international, theory-practice, peer-reviewed, academic, open access, online journal”, the CGU STEAM Journal serves as a place for scholars and professionals of a variety of disciplines to provide commentary, ideas, and information.  This online journal, with its open access model and the style of its collaborative compilation of works, exemplifies the aspect of STEAM that all areas of practice can benefit from — innovation.

The content of this new STEAM Journal is something to be really excited about, as it features not only interesting articles and editorials, but has full .PDFs complete with abstracts for pieces of excellent artwork.  To see the full list of entries in this first issue of the journal, check out the online publication at!

This free-access online resource is ready to be read and devoured at your leisure, but for your convenience below are the abstracts of the articles included in the journal, hyperlinked to take you right to the download page if you want to read on! Additionally, you can also follow the project on Twitter (@TheSTEAMJournal) or join their groups on Facebook and LinkedIn (The STEAM Journal).

Equations of Light – STEAM Journal Cover Art

Chris Brownell, Claremont Graduate University (CGU)

This is the background to some of the work, art and thinking that went into the cover art for the inaugural issue.

Getting Real about the E in STEAM

Dr. James Catterall, University of California (UCLA)

STEM and STEAM are in the news. Researchers and educators in my field (cognition, art, and creativity) argue reasons for adding the A to STEM. While I visit this below, my focus is elsewhere. In this brief essay, I want to explore the meaning and importance of the E appearing in both STEM and STEAM. What’s engineering doing in this mix? And what are some reasons for affirming the arts when the role of engineering is clarified?

On Cultural Polymathy

Whitney Dail, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

Within the last decade, the commingling of art and science has reached a critical mass. Science has long infused the arts with curiosity for natural phenomena and human behavior. New models for producing knowledge have given rise to interaction and collaboration across the globe, along with a renewed Renaissance.


John M. Eger, J.D., San Diego State University (SDSU)

With America slowly awakening to the need to turn out creative and innovative workers who can join the 21st century (its already 2012) workplace — because they have the new thinking skills –we have to change the current emphasis on STEM, for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to STEAM, by insuring that the whole brain is nurtured through the arts: thus STEAM.

Merging Science and Art: The Bigger Picture

Natasha Hall, University of the Balearic Islands (UIB)

It has been stated that artists comprehend and chronicle the completeness of the visible world (Wallach & Bret, 1987), defining Art as the creative expression of knowledge about the visual world. But to what extent does that awareness extend into a scientific appreciation of the world? The acronym STEAM is an abbreviation of Science, Technology, Electronics, Arts and Mathematics. Weaving interactions between Science and Art, have been shown by Clarke and Button (Clarke & Button, 2011), to intensify interconnections between nature, with Landscape, and ultimately with sustainability.

A Distributed Intelligence Approach to Multidisciplinarity

Jarod Kawasaki, University of California (UCLA)
Dai Toyofuku, Claremont Graduate University (CGU)

The scientific issues that face society today are increasingly complex, open-ended and tentative (Sadler, 2004). Finding solutions to these issues, not only requires an understanding of the science, but also, concurrently dealing with political, social, and economic dimensions that exist (Hodson, 2003). For example, 40 years after the first congressional hearing on climate change held by Al Gore in 1976, the 2012 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states that climate change is still getting worse, despite efforts by governments, businesses, social actors such as Non-Government Organizations, and scientists. With the top minds in the world, across all disciplines, backed with government and corporate funding pursuing the same goal of resolving human impact on climate change, why haven’t we resolved the situation? What strategies might be employed to increase effective action?

Towards a “Cloud Curriculum” in Art and Science?

Dr. Roger Malina, University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)

Recently an email hit my desk from Paul Thomas in Australia with a proposal to work together on a “Cloud Curriculum for Art and Science”. I immediately agreed to collaborate. I don’t yet have a clue of what a cloud curriculum is, but what I do know is that we are ‘backing into the future’ in educational institutions and we desperately need a ‘cloud curriculum.’ We need to look over the ten year horizon. And in the emerging art-science field I doubt that the usual approach to curriculum development will work.