Five issues in and the world is already changing. Education Minister Simon Birmingham says that the government will consider bringing former tradies and nurses into teaching with changes to the registration process (you know, like schools used to thirty years ago).
STEAM is becoming a pervasive presence in more and more schools. Daniel Andrews announced a partnership with CSIRO in new Tech Schools being established around the state, along with the creation of programs and resources for schools designed by CSIRO scientists and educators.
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The problem teachers are still stating as the main barrier to STEAM education is:
“I can’t fit the curriculum in as it stands. What do I get rid of to teach STEAM?”
It is important to realise that STEAM isn’t assessed within your school. STEAM isn’t something you need to assess. It is a better way to get what you need to assess across to the students. It is a more holistic approach to education that looks at education in a real-world situation rather than exercises in a book.
It is more time consuming, especially in the set up phase. But it is incredibly valuable for the student, and effective for the teacher.
If you ask a student to complete pages 120-125 in their Maths book, doing every second exercise, they do it and move on. Ask them to explain it a few days later and they stare at you with a blank face. Ask them to create a real-world Angry Birds game and have them explain the arcs that will hit the pigs using video, and they will be able to explain the concept a year later.
Similarly, completing a worksheet on gear ratios in Science is never going to be as effective as my ROBOT SUMO BATTLE ROYALE, where we test our robots against bricks and explain which gear combination works best at pushing the opposition out of the ring.
Finally, there is the little matter of why we’re actually teaching these students: to make them ready for the real world. There is plenty of evidence out there suggesting that those with a strong STEAM background will be a lot more employable than those with purely theoretical knowledge.
So, once again, I implore you to go FULL STEAM AHEAD.
So much to do, so little time. It is a trite phrase, but when I found myself as the only DigiTech teacher in the school, it suddenly gained a lot more meaning.
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