Open Any Door with Creativity  - Imagine Learning

May 28, 2024 4:58 am

Open Any Door with Creativity 

In our final blog post on the 4Cs, we unpack how STEM learning fosters creativity. Discover how innovative thinking drives scientific breakthroughs and engineering solutions, proving that creativity isn’t just for the arts — it’s essential for progress in every field.

Ever thought that studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is only useful for students considering careers in science or tech? If so, then you wouldn’t be alone — but it’s time to change that perspective.

The truth is, workplaces are changing fast, and some traditional skills are becoming less relevant today. Growing digitalization of roles, AI technologies, and new communication methods demand a totally different set of skills fit for the modern workplace (Thornhill Miller et al., 2023).  

This is where STEM subjects come into play. By studying STEM at schools, students pick up the soft skills that are exactly what employers look for today. Not only do these soft skills make the transition from education to the workplace smoother, they also open the door to any career — whether that’s a STEM-related role or not. These soft skills are commonly referred to as 21st-century skills, or the 4Cs: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.   

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Gif of 4Cs of STEM, zooming into the STEM skill: Collaboration

Creativity: The Last C Unveiled 

Creativity in STEM 

When you imagine a “creative” person, who do you see? An artist, actor, or a musician, maybe? Likely a scientist or a mathematician wouldn’t be the first to spring to mind — but they should. It’s a common myth that the arts are creative disciplines and STEM subjects are not. But this must be challenged because such a mindset creates a false picture of what it means to work in STEM — and the skills students stand to gain when engaging with STEM subjects. The fact is, STEM is inherently creative. Think about it — every scientific discovery, every engineering solution, was born from innovative thinking and creativity. The Wright brothers didn’t happen upon the first airplane — their breakthrough was a product of some serious out-of-the-box thinking and creative problem-solving.  

Why Creativity is a Key Skill 

Creativity has long been included as a core competency on job adverts across every field. It’s clear why — what job doesn’t require some level of creative thinking? And looking forward to the future, it’s unlikely that this is going to change.  

By 2030, it’s estimated that up to 800 million jobs will be displaced by automation and artificial intelligence (AI). In such a rapidly changing job market, creativity will be crucial for adapting to new roles and driving progress in fields that machines cannot easily replicate.  

“Sometimes those things don’t always work out, but it’s still enjoyable to go through it because at the end you’re going to come out with something that you never thought you would.”

Noby Leong


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Fostering the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers 

Here are just some ways STEM can help foster the next generation of creative thinkers:

  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Through STEM exploration, students tackle complex, real-world problems that require innovative solutions — they develop and test hypotheses, analyze data, refine their ideas, all while working within specific constraints. It’s a process that requires immense creative thinking. 
  • Hands-On Learning: By engaging in practical tasks — such as science investigations and engineering challenges — students apply their creative thinking. They learn through trial and error and explore multiple solutions, and in doing so, they enhance their ability to bring creative ideas to life. 
  • Collaborative Learning Projects: We’ve already delved into how STEM fosters collaboration — but did you know that collaboration also fosters creativity? When working together to solve problems, students bounce ideas off one another, leverage each other’s strengths, and create innovative solutions that they may not have found alone.