STEAM teaching is an exciting educational approach with many potential benefits for both students and teachers. The Master of Education in Applied Digital Learning online program from Lamar University can equip educators with the knowledge and experience required to be STEAM leaders in their schools.
What Is STEAM?
Think of STEAM as an expansion of the popular STEM model. While STEM focuses solely on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it completely omits arts education, which is vital to helping students develop creativity and the ability to innovate. STEAM, through its integration of arts education, “allows students to connect their learning in these critical areas together with arts practices, elements, design principles, and standards to provide the whole pallet of learning at their disposal.” Students exposed to a STEAM model of education have an enhanced ability to innovate and make connections between disciplines, making them more apt to thrive in an increasingly advanced economy.
What Are the Benefits of STEAM teaching?
Research into arts integration suggests that there are some undeniable benefits to implementing STEAM education. In addition to improved math and science skills, students experience tremendous growth due to STEAM’s unique, interdisciplinary approach. Students exposed to STEAM education typically excel in categories such as creativity, collaboration, confidence and problem-solving.
Six Steps for Creating a STEAM-focused Classroom
STEAM curricula offer countless opportunities for both teachers and students to be creative in the classroom. Still, when it comes to actually implementing this model, there are six essential steps that make planning and executing lessons much easier.
- Focus: Students must understand what they are learning or the problem they must solve. Focusing on the essential learning objective and how it is connected to both STEM and the arts is a key component of this model.
- Detail: Observing how students make connections between the central problem and its contributing factors gives teachers a better understanding of the preexisting skills and knowledge students use for problem-solving.
- Discovery: Research takes center stage in this phase. Students examine what works and what does not in terms of existing solutions to the problem at hand. Teachers can use this step to assess students’ baseline knowledge.
- Application: Students used the knowledge gained in the first three steps to hypothesize and test their own unique solutions to the problem at hand.
- Presentation: This stage, in which students share their solutions and teachers offer valuable feedback, is essential for the individual growth of each class member.
- Link: The previous step’s feedback brings the process full circle as students are encouraged to carefully reflect and revise as they seek to improve their initial solutions.
Emerging Technology for STEAM Teaching
Continued advances in technology will only make a STEAM-centered approach to education even more exciting. Imagine a classroom full of students deploying the latest tech across a variety of academic disciplines. Innovations and improvements will become part of the daily routine as students become accustomed to the STEAM model. Here are two examples of rapidly advancing technology that will continue to transform the classroom experience:
Synthetic Biology: Building blocks and molecular models could become a thing of the past once students are empowered to build new creations out of organic materials. Consider a STEAM assignment where the teacher challenges students to make life better for individuals who have diabetes. Breakthroughs like the Biosensor Tattoo, which is capable of monitoring glucose levels, may become more commonplace.
Augmented or Virtual Reality: Virtual reality (VR) technology can transform traditional academic assignments. Instead of research papers, educators could task students with creating VR experiences that allow them to visit a simulation of that period in history. Students could witness a simulation of the Wright Brothers’ first flight or sail with Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle. The creativity of the teacher is the only limitation in the STEAM approach to education.
Teachers who want to unlock the full potential of the STEAM model should consider Lamar University’s Master of Education in Applied Digital Learning online program, which gives them the necessary tools to transform learning for their students permanently.
Learn more about Lamar University’s M.Ed. in Applied Digital Learning online program.
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