As a result of our early Erasmus+ project— Kids Inspire Kids for STEAM (https://www.kiks.unican.es/), we found teachers encounter a lot of difficulties to implement STEAM Activities in their classrooms. Teachers are normally subject-specific and usually have never being trained on interdisciplinary approaches such as STEAM. They thus feel unconfident when applying this teaching approach in their classrooms. As suggested by EU and recent research, our educational systems require a STEAM Teaching Approach helping students to become well-prepared for the necessities of the current society. We live in a society led by technology that requires interpreting and analysing huge amounts of information from different disciplines. Nowadays, learning is just not about acquiring knowledge but also about developing skills to be able to integrate concepts and ideas from different fields, and to apply these skills in a variety of contexts. There is thus a priority for Promoting Innovative and Cross-Disciplinary approaches to Teaching and Education.
Through the STEAM approach, students not only operate technologies, but technologies can be utilised to help them to understand and learn abstract aspects of STEM subjects.
Through Technology and Art students can also learn new Digital Art skills and develop creativity and innovation intuition to convert abstract ideas into tangible products. The STEAM approach helps also to integrate Sciences and Maths concepts and procedures to solve Engineering Problems common in our society. These are the skills needed for future employment and global development. Despite much investment in equipping schools with laboratories, materials, and technology, the use of an interdisciplinary approach such as STEAM is limited in mainstream education. We understand that todays learning can only be enhanced if teachers have the skills to embed STEAM learning approaches. Therefore we propose a programme of Professional Development for in- and pre-service teachers.
The objective of our project is to work within the existing teacher-training infrastructure producing Cross-cultural Course programmes for Preparing Teachers, which can seamlessly be rolled out to all training centres and implemented by teachers in their schools. We aim three specific objectives: Designing a Transcultural Professional Development Framework; Using such framework for developing and implementing Teachers’ STEAM Training Course Programmes; and Testing the local and trans-cultural effectiveness of these STEAM programmes by assessing the instruction of our trained teachers in their classrooms with students. To achieve these objectives, we will apply different learning approaches related to STEAM education, including Content integration, Inquiry-Based Learning, Solving Context-based Problems, and Collaborative Learning. These methodologies will also integrate a strong Technological Teaching and Learning component, in which our consortium is rather competent.
Our target group will comprise at least 300 teachers (pre-service and in-service) during the whole project in the five participant contexts. From the total number of 300 STEAM trained teachers, we will select at about 25 teachers to further work with them, and to evaluate their STEAM instructions in real classrooms with students. These 25 teachers as well as others participating in the workshops will be also involved in an International Online Collaboration.
Our methodology will entail a documentary analysis, together with a case study approach leading by an iterative training, implementing and evaluating research process. We will thoroughly review the state of the art on STEAM education for developing a Transcultural Professional Development Framework; based on that framework, we will design Teachers’ STEAM Training Courses and refine them iteratively by testing their effectiveness in real classrooms with our trained teachers. For data collection and analysis, we will use documentary scrutinizes, observations, interviews, and mainly qualitative approaches.
Our expected results are to develop teachers’ STEAM instructional competencies. Hopefully, this all will impact on the training of the future generations, preparing them for the challenges of the new society. Many of today’s students will later work in professions that do not exist today. For a future society to react to such changed conditions, it will be necessary to train our students today, and consequently to instruct our teachers on interdisciplinary STEAM approaches. This will provide teachers with the necessary skills to effectively educate students for a future context paradigm. Particularly we will focus on designing Open Cross-cultural Course programmes for training on this STEAM approach. To ensure sustainability, our designed programmes and materials will be uploaded on our project website and refined by our team in future projects with the help of external educators and associated organizations.
Duration of the projects: 01/10/2020 – 30/06/2023
Grant received (total): 205 123 EUR
Grant received (by METU): 41 648 EUR