Edtech webinar May 2023
Join us this month as we discuss STEAM education and how to incorporate it into your classroom. The goal of STEAM is to foster creativity, imagination, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills in students. We will walk you through the differences in STEAM and the traditional education model, and help you get started implementing today!
This month’s webinar addresses:
- Differentiate between STEM and STEAM
- STEAM vs Traditional Education
- Breaking Down STEAM by Category
- Benefits of STEAM in Modern Society
- STEAM’s Alignment to Learning Standards
- STEAM Across Subject Areas
- Incorporating STEAM in the Classroom
Lego Education -NGSS Aligned, Hands-on STEAM Lessons
Resilient Educator -STEAM Education Teaching Resources
Edutopia -STEAM Resources
Imagine STEAM -Resources for Exhibitors, Parents, and Educators
All Education Schools -Resources for Current & Future STEAM Educators
Common Sense Education -STEAM Games, Apps, & Sites
Read the transcript below:
Hi, thank you for joining us for this next webinar on STEAM education. You all, by now, in education have probably heard of STEM education, so this will be a little familiar to you, but we now are talking about STEAM, which has a new component added to it. I’m joined today by Angel Moore and Jessica Brush, who are two former teachers. I’m also a former teacher, so this is definitely something that we are familiar with, dealing with our students in the classroom and trying to incorporate STEM, and now STEAM, into different classrooms and different subject matters.
So we’re going to be talking today about differentiating between STEM and STEAM, STEAM versus traditional education, breaking down STEAM by category, the benefits of STEAM in modern society, STEAM’s alignments to the learning standards of today, STEAM across different subject areas, and incorporating STEAM into the classroom. Then we’re going to give you some extra resources, just some blogs and different activities that you can use in your classroom that have STEAM incorporated into them.
STEM vs STEAM
So let’s begin with, what is STEM and STEAM in education? So for example, you’ve probably heard of STEM a lot more in the classroom. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM teaches and focuses on creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. So it really just revolves around using those skills in some kind of project where they’re really applying their learning. Next, we’ve heard about STEAM, which just stands for again, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. So STEAM just really is the same as STEM, but the arts are more included and more integrated into the projects and the lessons, and the application of all of the learning.
The focus of STEAM is to encourage creativity and imagination through art in ways that naturally align with STEAM learning. STEM and STEAM were brought to life because of the concern that future generations were lacking the needed critical thinking skills to be successful in the growing economy. The reason why all this was brought to life is we just want our students to not just be drilled, drilled, drilled on what they should know, but we really want them to actually start using their critical-thinking skills and their imagination and creativity, and working together, and just applying more of their learning.
STEAM vs Traditional Education
STEAM versus traditional education. So we just want to talk about what is the difference of what you would see in a traditional classroom where you’re just doing what we know as traditional education and learning and teaching, versus what it might look like with STEM or STEAM education. So in a traditional classroom, it’s a lot about retention, so just retaining what you are told and what you’re taught over and over again. While with STEAM and STEM education, it’s more about the application of what they’re learning, so applying what they’re learning into some project and being more hands-on.
Traditional education, it’s teaching a little bit of everything, just touching a little bit on each subject every day. While STEAM and STEM education, it’s diving deeper into the application of each subject. So you’re just taking more of a deep dive into the subjects that are involved in STEAM and STEM. Traditional education sometimes treats subjects exclusively and can miss the correlation between them, while STEAM, STEM explains the relationship between different subjects, so it goes more into correlating and explaining the relationships between them rather than just, here’s math time, here’s reading time, here’s science time. While STEAM and STEM can bring it all into one and bring it all together.
In traditional education, we have a habit of just learning by reading, so just reading things and that’s how we retain it. While with STEAM and STEM, the students are expected to learn by doing. So, really again, hands-on and applying their learning. In traditional education, the facts are often just replicated as well-known information to the students. While with STEAM and STEM, students have the opportunity to think for themselves and use strategies to find the answers on their own. In traditional education, it is often teacher-centric, so a lot of the times you’ll see just teachers talking at students for most of the day. While with STEAM in STEM, teachers should really encourage for the classroom to be student-centric. And they’re working on their own. They’re deriving the conversations and learning, and they’re working with others and the teacher’s just there more to observe and delegate.
In traditional education, it can be very just repetitive, so you’re just following the same schedule every day. This is what you do for learning, this is what you do for math, this is what you do for science. While with STEAM and STEM there’s actually many different activities with different steps. So it changes every time and it’s going to keep the students more engaged and not just get bored and unfocused. Traditional education is not… There’s not always a lot of team or group work. I mean, there can be, and we highly encourage that in education. But with STEAM and STEM, there is a big focus and many opportunities for team and group work. So working together to solve some kind of problem or question.
Traditional education often focuses on knowing the right answer for assessments. So really, just multiple choice, finding the right answer that you know. While STEAM and STEM education focuses on understanding the subject and doing the activity for the assessment. So really making sure they’re understanding it, applying their learning, and just knowing what they were supposed to do for the activity or the project, rather than just finding a correct answer.
And then lastly, with traditional education memory is often the winner. So if you memorize the math facts, that’s going to get you an A in math. But with STEAM and STEM, performance is the winner. So making sure that the students are actually really putting in a lot of work and a lot of thought into their projects and into what they’re working on. And I feel like that, again, just creates more of that engagement in what they’re learning.
STEAM breakdown. So just breaking it down with all of the subjects in STEAM. So science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. For science, it focuses on understanding the natural world through observation, experimentation, and the application of scientific methods. So again, following those scientific methods and getting more hands on. It involves exploring scientific concepts, conducting experience, collecting and analyzing data, and developing a deep understanding of scientific principles and processes.
For technology, it promotes the principle application of knowledge and tools to solve problems, improve processes, and enhance human life. Focuses the study of various technologies, digital tools, computer science, coding and robotics, which I feel like students would really enjoy this. It would bring a lot of engagement and be very fun, especially in this day and age with technology being such a huge part of our lives. And it involves using technology for research, data analysis, modeling, simulations, programming and innovative solutions.
With engineering, it promotes the design creation, optimization of systems, structures, and processes to solve practical problems, focuses on civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering, and involves engaging in the engineering design process, problem solving, prototyping and testing to create solutions. So a lot of this is kind of complicated, but very useful because it’s practical things that a lot of students would need or want in future careers. So it’s just preparing them for their future and what kinds of interests they might want later in life.
With art, so again, art is that added part into STEAM that was not as included in STEM. And with art, it focuses on visual arts, performing arts, music, dance, theater and media arts. And promotes creativity, aesthetic expression, and the integration of artistic elements into the other STEM components. So it’s just bringing in art into the STEM components.
And then mathematics, promotes language and tools for understanding patterns, relationships, and quantifiable phenomena. Math is integrated across all STEAM components to support problem solving, data analysis, modeling, and measurements. So math is just used in any STEAM project because they’re going to need to use their math skills in many, many different ways. And it involves algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and probability.
Benefits of STEAM
There are also very broad benefits for using STEAM in our modern society. It allows for students to really be collaborative and innovative within their environment, gives them an opportunity to be holistic and incorporate many different subjects into one project. There are great job market demands, as well as being able to use the skills that they’ve learned through STEAM in the real world with technology and digitally and being well-rounded. For the holistic approach, it does promote critical thinking, creativity, being collaborative, being able to communicate within a group. Those are all very good skills to have both in school, and once those students have moved on to a university or in their workplace. With job market demands, many of the growing industries through technology or even marketing, things like that, they really require solid foundations in all of those five areas for STEAM for those subjects. So technology, engineering, data science, healthcare, renewable energy. There’s a push within digital shopping environments even for these students to have this basis.
Real-world emphasis allows these students to apply all of these concepts and theories to these situations, using the experience that they’ve gained in the classroom later, and apply that through their life experiences as well, and being able to tackle any challenges. It gives them an enhanced ability to really solve those, and be able to overcome anything that could be unforeseen in a project that they’ll be working on. It allows for that digital literacy and fluency. So it pushes those students to understand and use many different technologies including software, hardware, coding, robotics, 3D printing. Those are all very useful across different industries, and becoming incorporated into jobs and projects. And they even 3D print houses now, and that’s amazing for that ability. And that all probably came from some a small project and a classroom somewhere and somebody studying something and being able to replicate it.
It also allows for development of well-rounded perspectives. So the art addition recognizes the value of creativity, design, and aesthetics. It also allows for those students that are more kinesthetic learners to be able to apply that and incorporate that into not only their learning environment, but then later in their environment when they are problem solving. It also allows arts to be incorporated into the science and technology. It fosters innovation and encourages out of the box thinking, and allows for those big discoveries to be made.
STEAM’s Alignment to Learning Standards & Outcomes
So STEAM’s alignment to learning standards and outcomes. STEAM incorporates the core content standards from different components, such as scientific inquiry and hands-on experimentation. It allows for digital literacy and computer skills, engineering, design, process utilization and problem solving, visual performing and media art skills and data analysis and geometry. It also incorporates English language arts skills by incorporating literacy and writing skills.
Collaboration and communication outcomes. STEAM education promotes collaboration and communication skills through group work, team projects and presentations. Students learn to effectively communicate their ideas, work cooperatively and appreciate diverse perspectives.
STEAM Across Subject Areas
STEAM across the subject areas. For language arts, students can also create digital media projects such as podcasts or videos to communicate scientific findings or engineering design processes. In social studies and history they can use STEAM to investigate historical innovations and their impacts on their societies, explore the scientific and technological advancements of different time periods and compare. They can research the environmental impacts of human activities and proposed sustainable options. And design and build models of ancient structures or landmarks using mathematical principles and engineering concepts.
Through physical education, students can analyze their biomechanics and apply physics principles to enhance athletic performance or design sports equipment. They can even use it to design a plan for rehabilitating muscles, things like that. They can use technology and data analysis to monitor and improve fitness levels. Many people have their fitness tracker watches as well, so incorporating that into classroom would be a good addition. And research the science behind sports and exercise. So investigating topics like nutrition, muscle physiology, and the physics of motion.
Using STEAM in the Classroom
Now we’re going to talk about incorporating STEAM into the classroom. This is the actual steps on how to use STEAM in the classroom. So the first step is going to be focus. So have a clear focus by having an essential question to answer or the problem to solve. So essentially, just like you have that question at the beginning of a lesson for your students or at the beginning of a story that you’re reading, whatever it may be, you always see that essential question. It’s always the focus of the lesson. It drives what you’re going to be teaching throughout that lesson. Make sure it clearly relates to the STEAM content that you’ve chosen for that lesson or project.
The next step is detail. It’s about observing why the question or problem exists in the first place and what’s actually contributing to that question or problem, so focusing on the details of that problem. Step three is discovery. This consists of the intentional teaching and having the students start to actively research. They should be researching current solutions and they should also be finding out what’s not working. So if your students are researching, like Angel mentions, the past solutions in history and past inventions, maybe they could also research other inventions that got kind of close to it, but missed the mark and find out why it missed the mark.
Step four is the actual application. They’ve discovered, they’ve researched. The application phase is having the students actually create their own solution to the problem or answer the question. The presentation phase is when the students actually share their findings with the class, with you, even in a presentation to outsiders from the school that you have invited, and they accept feedback. They may accept feedback from you as the teacher, or from their peers, or they may self-reflect.
And then the last step is link. So students should be given the opportunity to reflect on the feedback that they’ve received and revise their work as needed to produce a better solution. So again, we’ve talked about STEAM not just being that rote memorization, but actually putting what they’ve learned into practice. And in the workplace or with inventions, you never just take the final feedback that someone gives you. You always take it and then keep working towards your solution. So we want to give students that same opportunity.
Assessing Student Progress
Now, let’s talk about how to actually assess student progress with STEAM. It’s not really going to be the same as with traditional education where you put a test in front of them on paper and then they answer the questions based off of memory, and that’s all. This is actually going to be either performance-based assessments or something that shows the work that they’ve put into the project, and their reflection from the project. So the first way that you can assess students with STEAM is performance-based assessments. This is what we’ve been talking about this full-time with those hands-on projects, the design challenges, the experiments or presentations. You can evaluate this based on the ability to solve problems. They have to think critically. You can judge it based on how well they collaborate with their peers, and whether they communicate it effectively either to your peers or while presenting their project.
You can also have students give you portfolios. It’s always a good idea to keep a portfolio of your work. It is a proud moment for students to go back at the end of the year and see all of the hard work that they’ve put into different projects throughout the school year. So this can be some samples of projects, of their experiments, their designs. It can even be reflective journals. So after a presentation or an experiment or a design, you can have students reflect and write down on paper, on the computer, whatever it may be, and document how the experiment actually went and what they could do differently, and they can document the actual learning process. This provides a holistic view of the student’s growth and their ability to integrate knowledge from different disciplines. So this would work on those English and writing skills.
Make sure you give some students rubrics for certain projects. So rubrics always provide a clear set of criteria and the expectations for assessing the student work is uniform across students. If you are outlining the specific indicators that actually means the student was proficient in their area, you can mention problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and the content knowledge. And no matter what project the students choose to do, you’ll know that you are grading it and that their expectations of the work is exactly the same across multiple students that may be tackling the problem differently.
Presentations & Exhibitions
Presentations and exhibitions are also a great way for students to show what they’ve learned. Oral presentations, poster sessions, we’ve all seen science poster boards. You can have them do something like that. Exhibitions or public showcases, where they actually show the public outside of school, or even just the public outside of their classroom, what they’ve been working on. You can evaluate students’ ability to communicate their ideas, demonstrate their understanding, and engage in public speaking. And always, continuous feedback and reflection is such a good idea in the classroom. Make sure the feedback is ongoing and make sure it’s timely. Students don’t want to hear two weeks later how they did on a project two weeks before because by then, it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind. Give them time to reflect either with themselves or by their peers, or you are giving them your reflection, and then they are taking that information in and trying to make their project better. This will guide students’ progress. You can also highlight the areas for improvement, and as always, you should be celebrating their achievements.
These are some extra resources for STEAM learning. The first one is Lego Education. They have the NGSS-Aligned Hands-On STEAM Lessons. A lot of these are for lower grades, but this could be really good just as a starting point. I know with my students, I always tried to go very, very simple at the beginning, and then give them more challenges as they learned and as they became a accustomed to a different way of thinking in the classroom. Resilient Educator has some STEAM education teaching resources. Edutopia also has really great resources. Imagine STEAM actually gives you resources for exhibitors, parents and educators. All Education Schools gives you resources for current and future STEAM educators, so even if you’re not actually incorporating STEAM into your classroom now, if you are hoping to do it in the future, this is where you could probably go to get some of those really cool resources. And then Common Sense Education has games, apps, and websites that all relate to STEAM.
Thank you so much for participating in our training. If you would like to view our other trainings or subscribe to future trainings, you can visit our blog website below at EdTech Solutions. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback about this training, you can email email@example.com. Please let me know your name, what school you are from, and if you would like the question asked at our next webinar. If you don’t want the question asked at our next webinar, then I can just answer it right in that email that you send.
Thank you so much, and we hope to see you for the next one!
EdTech Solutions leverages education technology to improve learning by making it easy and simple for schools and students to manage and access individualized digital content on any device. EdTech’s cutting-edge approach to schoolwide ebook implementation and our innovative online platform and tools give school administrators and teachers the controls they need while providing students and parents with access to all their content on one easy-to-use platform with a single login, in most cases.
When you work with us, we create a personalized bookstore for your school where students can access and purchase their ebooks and textbooks onShelfit.com. We also help publishers make their content available digitally to students on our robust multi-publisher ebook reader platform. We strongly believe that knowledge and good education should be available to all, and we are committed to developing and providing the online learning tools and modern services that make it possible.