- How to teach future skills?
- What are the modern methods?
- What is project-based learning?
- How to plan project-based learning?
The goals of the STEAM education are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. The main goal of this kind of learning is to prepare the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners for the 21st century. In order to accomplish these goals, schools and teachers must consider a variety of factors:
- collaborative planning,
- preparation for the changes needed to adapt to new ways of learning and teaching,
- professional development for teachers and administration,
- linking STEAM schemes to the training and assessment program,
- adaptation of standardised assessments to STEAM activities, and
- seamless lesson implementation processes and strategies.
STEAM projects require systematic thinking through the problems. Students need to apply the information they learn along the way about technology and engineering and to figure out the best solutions for the problem. Interdisciplinary projects engage to see the project through different lenses: focus on details while also learning to step back and look at the full picture. Also, interdisciplinary projects are a great place to train critical thinking.
STEAM projects in schools improve focus on developing the knowledge, skills, habits, and experiences for success. Students become motivated in learning through a strong instruction in science, technology, engineering, and maths which will be essential to preparing for success in life. The studies should include the following:
- thematic integration and compatibility among science, technology, maths and arts in the curriculum,
- engineering integrated within courses, but also offered as a standalone course,
- Computer Science offered to all students,
- enhancing learning through authentic performance assessments, project-based learning, standards-based instruction, technology integration, cooperative learning, personalization, and cross-curricular instruction,
- enriching learning with partnerships with STEAM professionals and the community (for example businesses, industries, universities, colleges and informal learning institutions),
- providing mobile devices for students (sometimes in the forms of computer labs, and other times in the form of providing a device for every student),
- after-school STEAM clubs or programs, and
- robotics programs.
“To be at the forefront of this new world, Europe needs to become more creative and innovative … The need for change and new initiative is urgent. Europe and its Member States must give full attention to creativity and innovation now in order to find a way out of the current stalemate.”
It should encourage teachers to develop their roles as learning facilitators and promoters of creativity, and help teacher education institutions to respond to the new demands of the teaching profession. At the same time, it is recognized that fostering creative abilities and attitudes within schools also requires the support of an organizational culture open to creativity and the creation of an innovation friendly environment in general. Enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training has been named as one of the four strategic objectives of European Education and Training 2020 (Council of the European Union, 2009b).
The concept of a future classroom lab.
STEAM point of view, for education and training
It’s impossible to discuss the classroom of the future, as if it is something that will exist in some faraway time. Education is constantly changing right now, although not as fast as we would like. The knowledge of the new learning methods and technology have already resulted in classroom change and teaching methods. There will definitely be more changes in the future. Technological capabilities will play a key role in how education in the future will differ from education today. Also, successful educators and facilitators will realise that they need to rethink the entire model of education and redesign for a more student centred education. These changes mean that new technologies will be adopted, but it also means that archaic attitudes about what constitutes educational success should be given up.
Created by European Schoolnet, the Future Classroom Lab (FCL) is an inspirational learning environment, challenging teachers to rethink the role of pedagogy, technology and design in their classrooms. Through six learning zones, the essential elements in delivering 21st century learning are explored: students’ and teachers’ skills and roles, learning 4 styles, learning environment design, current and emerging technology, and societal trends affecting education. The Future Classroom Lab is formed by six different learning spaces (European Schoolnet, 2016)
Each space highlights specific areas of learning and teaching and helps to rethink different points: physical space, resources, changing roles of student and teacher, and how to support different learning styles. The altogether of spaces form is a unique way to visualise a new, holistic view of teaching. The zones reflect what good teaching should be about: being connected, being involved, and being challenged. Education should result in a unique learning experience, engaging as many types of students as possible.
The main idea of the future classroom – collaborative problem solving and learning by doing.
A general framework for collaborative problem solving:
- work in teams (learn with and from others),
- identify the problem,
- identify strategies, and choose an approach,
- draw a plan,
- execute the plan, to solve the problem, and
- afterwards, reflect on the process.
Learning/ working students- teachers groups-team. Type of didactic proposals:
|Students – teachers||
|Teachers – teachers||
|Students – students||
Project based learning and why do we need it?
Project-based learning (PBL) is a teaching method where students gain and apply skills by working on a long project, where they answer a specific question, topic or issue.PBL like all teaching methods, it’s not separate from other learning methods and it can be added to the teaching which are already using in classroom. Students are able to successfully apply their knowledge in the real world and they understand concepts and laws better by using problem-based learning methods.
Both teachers and students benefit from problem-based learning. Usually, students are voluntarily doing extra research and activities for their project. The level of the students’ interest increases. In the long term, PBL helps students practice real-life skills, for example creating a budget for the project. Teachers become facilitators, once teachers set up the parameters, the students do all the work.
The method could be considered as project-based learning method, if these components are followed:
- Significant Content – At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects.
- 21st century competencies – Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
- In-Depth Inquiry – Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
- Driving Question – Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
- Need to Know – Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
- Voice and Choice – Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
- Critique and Revision – The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
- Public Audience – Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.
The table below lets you answer the question: is it a Project or is it Project-Based Learning?
Planning Guide for the project-based learning
Here are some suggestions what to consider before starting with project-based learning:
1) In order to actually learn and work on the process, students must have some basic rules that inform all the work and process.
2) While the teacher guides and helps the students to understand the integration of the process, the teacher must step in to point the student in a different direction if the student is heading in a direction that lacks informed choices.
3) Always present work to an audience – but it is imperative to explain the process and exactly where the students are in learning the process, so that an unpolished but process driven presentation is possible and understood.
4) Failure and student lead feedback are essential – followed by suggestions/notes from the teacher for the next time everyone gathers to work. This makes the learning process the focus for students to develop their own “technique” and tools to make sure they are doing meaningful work with deeper meaning and connecting on a more visceral level.
5) Most great STEAM education is experiential and really is the best project-based learning that exists in schools today – because of the benefits to the brain. Which then spills over into all areas of students life and academic career. Not everyone is capable of teaching this way – challenge yourself and learn from working with fellow teachers to always provide the best collaborative learning as possible for the students.
Lesson plan creation/assessment/expansion guide
Start with choosing a topic that interests your students. Then follow the planning elements identified in the table:
Think about the process
Even though PBL is driven by the students, you will need to have structure in place. Think about the following:
- How will students critique and revise?
- What 21st century tools will they use?
- Who will be the audience they present their final project to?
- Decide how you’ll handle classroom management
Before. Get your students pumped about your project by reading articles and showing videos related to the topic. Tell them that you’re going to try a new type of learning that allows them to make their own choices and work independently on the things they’re interested in. Begin to teach the procedures they will need for project-based learning.
During. Facilitate student learning and keep students on track by doing the following things during your project:
- Come together at the end of every session and summarize the class’ work.
- Introduce parts of the project individually.
- Model critique and revision.
- Pull small groups to reinforce skills.
- Use student collaboration to ask and answer questions every session.
Reflect on what went well and what you can improve on next time. The more you practice implementing PBL, the better you will get at it.
European Schoolnet (2016). Future Classroom Lab. Retrieved October 13, 2022 from http://fcl.eun.org/documents/10180/13526/FCL+learning+zones+Dec+2016/a091a761-7a63-443e-afe0-d1870e430686