STEAM (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, THE ARTS, AND MATH)

Ceyda ÖZDEMİR – Project Officer for EDUSIMSTEAM

STEAM is an interdisciplinary educational approach that engages learners around the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math. It aims to promote learners’ higher order thinking skills, productive skills, and their innovative capacity (MoNE, 2016). Project-based learning through collaborative exploration, problem-based learning which focuses on solving real-world problems and place-based learning where learners learn by doing are innovative approaches that support STEAM education. STEAM education covers the whole educational process including pre-school education and higher education.

STEAM supports learners on how to think critically, how to solve problems, how to use creativity, and prepare learners for real-life in student-centered learning environment (Lathan, n.d.). Nevertheless, all learners do not have to be a scientist, engineer, or designer, but it’s important to find out how to think like one. Learners in a STEAM program do not just learn the subject matters but they also learn how to study, investigate, analyze, do experiments, and create. Some opportunities that STEAM offers to learners can be clarified as follows (Bruton, 2017; MoNE, 2016):

  • It exposes learners to the creative process in that they ask thoughtful questions, discover answers, apply what they learn, and solve problems.
  • It improves necessary 21st century skills (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, social skills, technology literacy, productivity, etc.) for students’ learning achievements.
  • It requires learners to think systematically and critically through problems and apply new information or past experience to figure out the best solutions.
  • It offers meaningful collaboration in that learners involve teamwork, exchange ideas and discuss ways to solve a problem, divide up responsibilities and encourage each other.
  • It gives all learners hands-on, experiential learning experiences by using different materials and tools in their learning process.
  • It increases learners’ self-confidence to be productive and motivates them to engage and contribute in the learning process.
  • It enhances learners’ curiosity and inquiry skills. As a result of their research, they can invent or design some innovative products.

Traditional education relies on rote learning. However, learners in STEAM education raise curiosity, questions, investigate, do authentic activities and create instead of just replication of the existing knowledge. While teachers speak about a topic as an authority figure in traditional classrooms, learners take notes and then memorize the knowledge for a test. Learners are able to get knowledge from books but they are unaware of the implementation of the knowledge. As opposed to traditional education, STEAM does not focus on only teaching about a subject, but it also concerns how learners are able to apply the subject into real life and utilize it in the future. These innovative approaches reflect on teachers’ roles as a change, and the roles of the teachers can be established as:

  • Enabling rich student-centered learning experiences,
  • Focusing on real-world problems,
  • Integrating all subjects,
  • Embracing cooperative learning,
  • Allowing for multiple right answers,
  • Supporting nonthreatening learning environment,
  • Reframing failure as a necessary part of learning,
  • Involving learners in teamwork,
  • Participating in trainings for their professional development.

In order to adapt to these new roles and responsibilities, teachers require a certain amount of training (Pang and Good, 2000). In this sense, Ministry of National Education (MoNE) has organized in-service STEM trainings for teachers since 2013 (Özsoy, 2017). STEAM explores the same concepts as STEM but it takes STEM one step further by emphasizing the arts through its creative process.

STEAM education is promoted and gets a lot of funding for investment all around the world (Daugherty, 2013). In Turkey, a tendency to STEM education has occurred in the process of evaluating the low performances in PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMMS (the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) exams. In a study conducted by MoNE related to teachers’ views on the integration of STEM education in our education system, most of the participants (91.97%) think that it is necessary to adopt STEM education which is based on inquiry-based learning and most of the participants (91.96%) believe that STEM education is necessary for the development of the country’s economy (MoNE, 2016). As the results of the research, our teachers are aware of the importance of STEM education in our country.

MoNE has compiled the studies for STEM education in the STEM Education Report (MoNE, 2016). According to this report, the suggested steps in the Action Plan to be prepared so as to support STEM education are as follows:

1. Establishment of STEM Education Centers,

2. Conducting STEM education research in these centers,

3. Training teachers in accordance with STEM education,

4. Updating the curriculum for STEM education,

5. Designing learning environments for STEM education in schools and providing course materials.

Several stakeholders like public organizations, universities, and foundations support STEAM education in Turkey. For instance, TUSIAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association) provides STEAM education with the purpose of increasing cognitive processes and production skills rather than labor and muscle power. TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) also conducts projects and organizes competitions to reveal successful students and teachers in STEM education (MoNE, 2016). In addition, STEM centers (METU), laboratories (Istanbul Aydın University) have been established in universities and scientific studies have been carried out (Uyanık Balat & Günşen, 2017).

MoNE promotes STEAM education with the projects: Scientix (https://scientix.eba.gov.tr/) and Fostering Steam Education in Schools [EDUSIMSTEAM] (https://edusimsteam.eba.gov.tr/). MoNE has been included in the Scientix Project, coordinated by the European SchoolNet, since 2014. The purpose of the Scientix project is to increase the recognition of STEM education, to share good practices, to guide students to STEM, to contribute to teachers’ professional development in STEM education, to develop materials for STEM education, to bring teachers and academicians together on a common platform to share their experiences. Within the scope of the Scientix Project, national workshops and conferences for our teachers are organized in our country, and good practices in STEM are promoted. EDUSIMSTEAM aims to employ an innovative and up-to-date framework and solutions with the participation of 10 EU partners for employing an effective STEAM approach in education through teacher trainings, online platform, curriculum, learning scenario studies, policy making documents etc.

EDUSIMSTEAM will employ 4 main activities to spread effective use of STEAM approach in EU:

1. Teacher Training & Curriculum for STEAM

2. Scenarios

3. Innovative Online Platform

4. A Practical Guide for Policy Makers

These activities will empower teachers’ skills in STE(A)M teaching, provide pathway for policy makers in STEAM education and training at all levels and present an innovative online tool for students and teachers.

References

Bruton, R. (2017) Stem Education Policy Statement 2017-2026. Retrieved from https://www.education.ie/en/The Education-System/STEM-Education-Policy.

Daugherty, M. K. (2013). The Prospect of an” A” in STEM Education. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 14(2).

Lathan, J. (n.d.). STEAM Education: A 21st Century Approach to Learning. Retrieved from https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/steam-education-in-schools/

Ministry of National Education [MoNE]. (2016). STEM Eğitim Raporu [STEM Education Report]. Ankara: General Directorate of Innovation and Educational Technologies.

Özsoy, N. (2017). STEM ve Yaratıcı Drama [STEM and Creative Drama].Ahi Evran Universitesi Kırşehir Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 18 (3), 633-644.

Pang, J., & Good, R. (2000). A review of the integration of science and mathematics: Implications for further research. School Science and Mathematics, 100(2), 73–82. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1949-8594.2000.tb17239.x

Uyanık Balat, G., & Günşen, G. (2017). Okul Öncesi Dönemde STEM Yaklaşımı [STEM Approach in Preschool Period]. Akademik Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi(42), 337-348.

To cite this report:

Ministry of National Education [MoNE]. (2020). STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts, And Math). Ministry of National Education – General Directorate of Innovation and Educational Technologies, Ankara, Turkey. Retrieved from https://edusimsteam.eba.gov.tr/?p=413

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