STEAM IT! An IT Poster Slam

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STARTUPS, WORKUPS & ARTUPS 

a STEAM Poster Slam Project

The effectiveness of the development of knowledge and the application of modern technologies in shaping the society of the 21st century inevitably calls for close integration of technological innovations with areas such as social sciences, ethics, policy, and digital arts and humanities. To address this issue from the various perspective native to it and which are needed to offer comprehensive insight to a wide audience ranging from the IT specialist to the general public, the well-established presentation format of the poster slam was revisited and reformatted to provide a unique and up to date experience for all attending. The actual setup of the event was given special consideration in that each contribution to the project is placed within a multiple space maze so that experiencing the event engages all who make their way through the maze with the idea that IT todays is all encompassing and that applications for science, society, as well as for the arts are all viable areas of enquiry in terms of informatics and their application. In addition to the posters that introduce the visitor to a large number of research project being carried out in Switzerland and the activities of a wide range of Start Up Companies in Switzerland, the project offers a parcour course informatics and a virtual digital art and heritage exhibition. The parcour is geared to spark interest in informatics in young visitors that will help keep needed talent coming for future of IT in Switzerland by providing an experience of success in learning, which in turn fosters a capacity to solve problems and significantly boost confidence in taking on new challenges. The virtual exhibition serves as a case in point example that reveals how informatics have come to be used in the area of fine arts and cultural heritage, and in turn, how the use of coding in these areas has sprung up new approaches to research and education and has fostered new industries never before imagined as integral to the area of informatics.

When it comes to finding out how informatics in industry, in education, and in culture are used, the project clearly shows how varied the field of informatics itself is, and despite the immense diversity in applications of IT that are shown, the link that joins all of the posters on display is that they reveal a group of thinkers and tinkers who are dedicated to and fascinated by informatics.  The organizers of the event have therefore included the arts in the project as a way to nurture creative practice and to promote critical thinking, because it is only through embracing an education curriculum that not only focuses on STEM subjects but includes the arts, making it possible to not only increase a students’ interests and understanding of science and technology, but also to nurture their literacy and problem-solving ability. So, the entire event can be understood as a STEAM education platform that involves diverse channels to understand the application of informatics in a real-world context, in order to show how the problems inherent to what is exhibited were approached and solved, in order to show that coming up with creative ideas is an integral factor in solving problems.

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Organised by Virtuale Switzerland in cooperation with ABZ of ETH Zurich and supported by SATW and various other associations for IT in Switzerland, the project offers opportunity to an audience that can be as varied as the application of informatics that the project encompasses, allowing all to reflect on how life in the digital age is affecting and transforming our lives.