The integration of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in educational systems has been a priority for most countries in the world during the last decade. The STEAM methodology seeks to generate in students the ability to investigate, transmit and manage the conception of different processes typical of the areas that comprise it through collaboration, inclusiveness and gender equality.
STEAM facilitates the development of 21st century skills by exploring various areas of knowledge, encouraging innovation and research in students.
STEM or STEAM?
In its beginnings, STEM was talked about, but by including the A for art, an attempt was made to add the artistic element to favor the achievement of objectives through creativity, communication, and problem solving. In the world of visual arts, STEAM brings the computational language of geometric, compositional and color ideas to the creation of artistic works.
Makerspaces or makerlabs have been identified as ideal environments for the successful integration of STEAM in the classroom. A maker space is a physical space where communities of practice are developed in which work tools and identity are shared to work in a constructivist manner.
Makerspaces promote learning as a group activity. This type of learning implies constructionism , in a way that is designed and built, generating inspiration and emotional support derived from teamwork.
The students of the Faculty of Education of Bilbao (UPV/EHU) carry out STEAM projects at the university and in other educational contexts. For this, the makerlab of the faculty is used, where different types of technologies are handled: mobile devices, 3D printers, robotics, vinyl, paint, cardboard, virtual environments, websites, computer applications, etc.
In one of these STEAM projects we create collaborative works of art. In this type of project, where a work of art is generated physically, the students work on cognitive skills that go beyond those that are worked on in the classroom context.
The experience of the creation and construction of the artistic work improves individual knowledge, supported and reinforced by group work, which creates an affective disposition among the students, significantly strengthening deep learning . Intrinsic motivation, critical thinking, the search for connections between knowledge and the understanding of concepts increase significantly.
The importance of pedagogical design
For the execution of each of the works, a specific computational language is generated, since they are works that are built on the pillars of geometry, color, figures and dimensions. This language facilitates and allows the design and implementation of the work of art.
It is necessary to carry out an adequate pedagogical design where didactic planning plays a fundamental role, together with technology and knowledge for change.
This planning articulates the development of skills from a methodological design based on research. The level of competence of each student will be evaluated by analyzing observable practices.
This work is done collaboratively, so the whole group collaborates towards a common goal: to share the learning experience by creating something together.
STEAM in education degrees
When we work with STEAM in education degrees, we work on creativity, collaborative problem solving, digital competence and an entrepreneurial spirit. They are skills or competences that, cited in the European reference framework of key competences for lifelong learning , are considered important for education, lifelong learning and work within a changing society.
All these aspects are reinforced by the motivation provided by overcoming the traditional obstacles found in STEAM projects.
In today’s society, technology advances very quickly and the acquisition of digital, humanistic and social skills helps to balance and eliminate the different gaps that arise.
Although we cannot determine what the careers or jobs of the future will be, we do know that they will require skills that have to do with equity and sustainable development, among many other things. And the STEAM methodology is a valuable tool in the education of these skills.
Author Bio: Arantzazu Lopez de la Serna is Professor Bilbao School of Education, Asier Romero Andonegi is Professor of the Faculty of Education of Bilbao,Javier Portillo Berasaluce is a PhD Engineer in Telecommunications and professor at the Faculty of Education of Bilbao and Xabier Basogain Olabe is a Teacher and Researcher of the University of the Basque Country all at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea