PROMOTING AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO STEM EDUCATION WITHIN INITIAL TEACHER EDUCATION INTEGRATED STEM EDUCATION? WHAT DOES THIS TERM MEAN? Integrative STEM education refers to technological/engineering design-based learning approaches that intentionally integrate the concepts and practices of science and/or mathematics education with the concepts and practices of technology and engineering education. Integrative STEM education may be enhanced through further integration with other school subjects, such as languages, social studies, art, etc. (Sanders & Wells, 2006). INTEGRATED STEM EDUCATION A philosophical underpinning of programs that integrate the STEM domains is the learning of concepts in one domain, such as science or technology, that will facilitate the learning of concepts in other domains, such as mathematics or engineering. (Dixon and Brown, 2012) WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES? • Silo approach to teaching • Timetabling • Staff • Pedagogy TRADITIONAL SILO METHOD OF TEACHING SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING MATHS WHICH APPROACH MIGHT BE SUITABLE? A TYPICAL SECONDARY SCHOOL TIMETABLE STAFF SENSITIVITIES I am a Maths teacher- period! PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES MULTIDISCIPLINARY EMBEDDED APPROACH INTERDISCIPLINARY PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES • The Multidisciplinary Integration approach is about linking content from discrete subjects • The Interdisciplinary Integration approach is more about enabling students to problem solve using both the content and skills from a variety of subject fields PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES INTERACTION APPROACH: This approach relates more to fostering inter curricular links between subjects, as opposed to integration. STIMULA PROJECT The Hyrdro-Electric Turbine project was an example of where opportunities for STEM teaching were obvious. However all the challenges mentioned to date were in evidence: ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, BELFAST. St Mary’s continues to pursue the further development of the integrative STEM education model and also seeks out opportunities to participate in associated research activity with other institutions both at a local and at an international level. (Strategy 21, p28 2012) ST MARY’S UNVERSITY COLLEGE, BELFAST WHAT DID WE DO? STEM WORKING GROUP The first action we took as a College was to create a STEM working group. This consists of colleagues from the following disciplines: • • • • • Science Technology Mathematics Information Communication Technology Art and Design All of the above disciplines relate to teaching in post-primary schools i.e. pupils aged 11-18 years of age. STEM Working Group STEM WORKING GROUP One of the first proposals for the SWG to consider was the formation of a: STEM EDUCATION RESEARCH CENTRE. STEM EDUCATION RESEARCH CENTRE Proposed Mission • Our mission is to effectively promote integration in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) within an educational context to improve children’s and young people’s confidence and competence in STEM. • This mission is based on the belief that there is a need to empower school leavers to become both dynamic and innovative contributors to society through the study and application of STEM. • Integrated STEM education is broadly defined as the collaborative teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This entails sharing ideas and resources that have the potential to contribute towards enhancing children’s and young people’s educational experiences and achievements. This work in on-going and it will take time to formulate a working model for STEM pedagogy which can then be piloted in the College. ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, BELFAST. The primary school scenario (5-11 year old pupils) is somewhat different: • Single teacher • No separate subject departments • A more ‘flexible’ timetable • A holistic curriculum consisting of the following areas: Literacy and Numeracy, Mathematics and Numeracy, PDMU, The Arts, The World Around Us, Physical and Religious Education. STEM is thought to be particularly relevant to the areas of Mathematics and Numeracy and The World Around Us. ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, BELFAST St Mary’s has decided to pursue the following project with 90 local primary schools and upwards of 2000 pupils in Northern Ireland. This project is being developed in partnership with SENTINUS which is a not for profit educational charity. The project is now in its 3rd year and has attracted £80,000 funding from the Department of Education for Northern Ireland for 2013-14. The STEM Smart Gear Project. ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, BELFAST The Smart Gear project will be jointly managed by St Mary’s and SENTINUS. St Mary’s University College will produce all the STEM related teaching materials which include the following: ‘STEM’ SMART GEAR PROJECT 500 desk mounted head sensitive fans ‘STEM’ SMART GEAR PROJECT 500 LIGHT SENSITIVE MODEL CARS ‘STEM’ SMART GEAR PROJECT 300 MIRCO-ROBOTS AND ‘ASSAULT COURSES’ NORTHERN IRELAND MINISTER OF EDUCATION SHARING ‘SMART GEAR’ OUTCOMES WITH PUPILS ‘STEM’ SMART GEAR PROJECT • All the hardware resources ( fans, cars, micro-bots etc.) will be prepared by the Design and Technology undergraduates of St Mary’s University College • All the teaching/pedagogical resources will be prepared by the academic staff from the Science, Technology and Design, Maths and ICT departments of St Mary’s University College • The STEM Smart Gear project will be delivered by first year undergraduate students from 3 ITE providers in Northern Ireland. These are St Mary’s University College, Stranmillis University College and University of Ulster ‘STEM’ SMART GEAR PROJECT • The undergraduates will be working with the various teachers in the 90 primary schools to deliver the project.. • The undergraduates will be from various subject disciplines (Technology, Maths, Science and others). • One of the objectives is to enable these undergraduates to have experience of teaching within an integrated STEM model. ‘STEM’ SMART GEAR PROJECT St .Mary’s University College hopes to carry out research with the aim of investigating the impact of this model of integrated STEM teaching within the 90 primary schools St Mary’s University College will continue with further development of the integrated STEM education model.