Integrated Curriculum, STEAM Education
With people changing jobs and even jumping careers more regularly as compared to past generations, a really well-rounded educational background is critical. This means that students need the baseline skills to adapt to whatever their academic or professional careers demand of them. For this reason, there has been a pressing need to incorporate the “Art” (A) in STEM education in order to create an inclusive learning environment that encourages all the learners to take part and contribute to the process. According to Kim, Chung, Woo, and Lee (2012), STEAM has become an educational framework for learning that takes into account the use of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics as the main access points for guiding learners’ queries, dialogue and critical thinking. Several studies have indicated that incorporating STEAM education into the curriculum positively impacts students’ achievement and teachers’ efficacy. This is because the approach integrates concepts, standards, topics, and assessments into the curriculum opening the doors to the actual world and placing the same cycles in learning and teaching. STEAM education has assisted the academic sector in breaking walls and classroom doors to get at the center of learning.
The Importance of STEAM Education
Liao (2016) suggested that incorporating art into the traditional STEM approach brings with it the personal expression, meaning-making, empathy, and the purpose of what is being taught or learned. This is because the approach brings the five disciplines together to develop an inclusive learning setting that motivates students. In addition, STEAM education is a holistic framework as it encourages learners to exercise both the right and the left sides of their brains concurrently. On the other hand, the STEAM education approach helps in developing learning and teaching strategies that appeal to a broader and diverse group of students as well as promoting organic problem-solving techniques of real and complex issues. As the global skill shortages in STEAM-based fields continue to redefine educational priorities, STEAM education will help to develop innovative mindsets and the ability to solve problems as well as ensuring that learners become creators of technology but not only passive consumers (Khine, 2019). STEAM learning has also been associated with thinking outside the box, taking ownership over learning, increasing work collaboration, and understanding the manner in which science, math, the arts, and technology work in unison.
Embracing STEAM Education
In order to integrate STEAM learning into the classroom, there is a need to consider a variety of factors. These factors include collaborative planning, such as a cross-section of educators on each team, professional development for all the teachers in STEAM practices and principles, adjustment of schedule to accommodate a new way of learning and teaching, STEAM schema-mapping for the curriculum and assessment design procedure, seamless lesson implementation strategies and processes as well as alignment and unpacking of standards and examinations (Ge, Ifenthaler, and Spector, 2015). Teachers need to be subjected to the STEAM Education Teacher Leader degree in order to gain a solid foundation to discern the most suitable strategies for integrating arts with mathematics and science, infusing relevant and meaningful technology into instructions while taking into account the exceptional needs of learners’ and their societies.
STEAM Process and Products
There are six stages to developing a STEAM-based classroom regardless of the subject being taught. In all the stages, the educator works through both the content and the art standards to address core issues or an essential question. The first step is the focus, where the educators select a fundamental question or a problem to solve. The second stage is known as the detail phase, where the teacher looks at the components that are causing the problem or leading to the question. The other step involves discovery, where active research is conducted to find the best solution. Here, an educator is able to analyze the gaps in students in skills or processes (LA TROBE University, 2021). The fourth step involves an application where students are allowed to implement their identified solution to the problem showing their skills, knowledge, and process capabilities. Then, the presentation stage allows students to share their solutions with others and receive feedback based on others’ perspectives. The last step is the link, where students are given the opportunity to reflect on the feedback shared regarding their skills and process, allowing them to revise their work and produce an even better solution.
Proposal for the development of inquiry-based learning for students at lower grades
The Big Idea
Several studies have indicated that many students learn best if they are curious to know more. For this reason, the unit proposes to use STEAM education approach to trigger curiosity that forms the foundation of an inquiry-based learning. This framework will drive students’ learning through questions and discovering answers on their own.
The main concepts to be explored in this unit is how students share and reflect on what they learn, how they own the learning process and the place that the teacher assumes in the learning process. In the proposed unit, the educators will serve as the main educational guide rather than acting as a sage on the stage.
Identification of STEAM
The anticipated STEAM curriculum focuses on hand-on experiences and innovative ways to find answers to questions. The STEAM approach must provide a process of exploring the material world by students leading to asking questions, making breakthrough and investigating the discoveries.
Specific Cross-Curriculum Priority
The main objective of the inquiry-based learning is to enable students at lower grades learn how to collect, evaluate, critique and interpret information by posing questions, assessing the evidence and finding the solutions.
Overview of the pedagogical approaches linked to the STEAM curriculum learning areas
The pedagogical approaches linked to the proposed STEAM curriculum needs to reflect on the processes and thinking that students use in their material world. The pedagogies will employ the diverse practices learners use to understand their natural world. The inquiry-based approach will be suitable for all ages of students and effectively educate on science content while developing innovative habits of mind.
Ge, X., Ifenthaler, D., & Spector, J. M. (Eds.). (2015). Emerging technologies for STEAM education: Full STEAM ahead. Springer.
Khine, M. S. (2019). Steam education. Springer Berlin Heidelberg,.
Kim, S. W., Chung, Y. L., Woo, A. J., & Lee, H. J. (2012). Development of a theoretical model for STEAM education. Journal of the Korean Association for Science Education, 32(2), 388-401.
LA TROBE University (2021), Integrated Curriculum STEAM (EDUSICS), subject learning Guide, Semester 2
Liao, C. (2016). From interdisciplinary to transdisciplinary: An arts-integrated approach to STEAM education. Art Education, 69(6), 44-49.
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