Global STEAM collaboration wins science educators prize


Macquarie students talk STEAM with collaborators at Dankook University in South Korea and Tashkent State Pedagogical University in Uzbekistan.

Three Macquarie School of Education students have collaborated with counterparts in South Korea and Uzbekistan to create a STEAM program to teach carbon neutrality to Year 7 and 8 students in their respective countries, with some interesting learnings.

STEAM refers to an approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) by incorporating arts and culture-related considerations into the teaching/learning activities.

Macquarie’s Ha Anna Mang (PhD student, science education), Kiano Pomente (pre-service science teacher) and Vijaya Chinta (pre-service science teacher) met with their counterparts over 11 weeks via Zoom to first arrive at a common understanding of what STEAM means in practice, and then to discuss what topic to select for their series of nine STEAM lessons and the teaching methods to use. The group selected the topic of carbon neutrality, with the program culmination being the design of a net zero carbon school by the secondary school students.

The arts/culture-related consideration was incorporated into the lessons, with students asked to think about the aesthetics of school design and the socio-cultural practices and norms of the users of the building. For instance, when students were designing a carbon neutral school canteen, they were guided to consider the aesthetics of the canteen and the culture of its users. Students engaged in discussion of aesthetic ways of achieving carbon neutrality and how the canteen menu could be planned to reduce carbon emission, while still meeting cultural norms and traditional dietary practices.

The pre-service teachers jointly prepared a paper to report their process of developing the STEAM program and presented it at the 80th Korean Association of Science Educators (KASE) Conference in July, where it won the Best Oral Presentation Award.

The international collaboration was a great learning experience for all the pre-service teachers with Korean participant, Hyunah Lee saying, “I learnt from the Australian pre-service teachers the importance of keeping learners interested and learning with fun activities that would replace teacher-transmitted explanations which could be boring.”

Macquarie’s Ha Anna Mang said it was interesting to see how the Korean STEAM program incorporated technology and addressed newer sustainability strategies such as carbon neutrality in science classrooms.

The project grew out of an Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) funded research project led by Primary Chief Investigator Dr Hye-Eun Chu, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education. Much of the work of organising the international project was undertaken by Dr Yeon-A Son from Dankook University, Korea.





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