About Road STEAMer
Road-STEAMer attempts to develop a STEAM Roadmap for Science Education in Horizon Europe and in educational policy across the continent in order to:
- To produce better knowledge and shared understanding of Europe’s particular educational needs and how STEAM can address them.
- To explore the opportunities arising through STEAM for integrated science learning approaches and synergies.
- To study those policy deficiencies that hinder the impactful adoption of STEAM approaches in Europe’s science education landscape.
Aim of the Project
The overall aim of the project is to develop a STEAM roadmap for science education in Horizon Europe
A plan of action that will provide guidance to EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation on how to encourage more interest in STEM through the use of artistic approaches, involving creative thinking and applied arts (the “A” in ‘STEAM’).
The consortium aims to provide Europe with this roadmap, through:
Collaboration and co-creation with the stakeholder communities of science education, research, innovation and creativity, through intensive exchange, dialogue and mutual learning among them which will produce better knowledge and shared understandings of the relevant opportunities, challenges and needs.
A bottom-up approach emphasizing educational practice and practitioners’ agency rather than high-level conceptualizations of STEAM and generic top-down plans (in reality often just vague statements of intention) for its adoption in science education.
A specific focus on ways to leverage the power of STEAM approaches, as manifested through exemplary cases and best practices, so as to enable a bridging of open science and open schooling which can catalyze an increased impact for science education as a crucial tool for addressing Europe’s current scientific and societal challenges.
Road STEAMer in numbers
Road-STEAMer strives to reach out to crucial stakeholders through various co-creation and engagement activities and have their voices represented in its results, especially the Road-STEAMer Roadmap. Here is our project in numbers:
What Road STEAMer attempts
what, why, how
STEM subjects often are regarded as stressful, sometimes even producing anxiety to students. The latter comprises feelings of tension and discomfort that might prevent a student from using their entire potential and could cause negative attitudes towards science. Students need to perceive themselves as capable of coping with unknown situations and problems instead of becoming stressed and experiencing anxiety. STEM in combination with Arts seems to have the potential to provide the framework for a wider engagement with science (Kang 2019, Bertrant et al 2020, Conradty et al 2020).
STEM curricula may benefit from the integration of arts and creative aspects to encourage creative solutions. Creativity, within the structural model of intelligence, is still defined as an unprecedented and effective way to solve problems. Creative individuals need appropriate, appreciative environments. Creativity is regarded as a combination of talent, knowledge, ability, intrinsic motivation and personality traits and its expression is influenced by environmental conditions. Links between motivation and dopamine-related activities were found at a neuronal level, functioning as a determinant of human creativity (Aberg et al 2016). At the same time, companies and research infrastructures are bringing artists to be residents for their creativity and non-biased approach towards problem solving.
The connection between science and arts is known for a long time and renowned scientists have used the arts as a mean not only for communication but also to enable their understanding of various phenomena (i.e., Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Richard Feynman). Albert Einstein gives a scientist’s perspective when reflecting on his life as quoted by Clark cited in Gardner (1993):
He acknowledged that facts have limited value without imagination. Educational systems should begin to recognise imagination as a prized attribute and a suitable learning outcome in science as well as in art.
Through a series of policy documents and funding programmes, EU is trying to deploy approaches, training methods and organisational reforms that could create the necessary conditions for the improvement of science education. Back in 2006 (Rocard et al, 2006), the EU proposed the inquiry-based science education model as the pedagogy for the future of Europe.
In 2016, the Report on Science Education for Responsible Citizenship introduced the Open Schooling concept as a promising approach to expand the classroom environment by providing access to formal and informal learning contexts. The report offers a guideline to Member States:“Science education should focus on competences with an emphasis on learning through science and shifting from STEM to STEAM by linking science with other subjects and disciplines” and defines the characteristics of such enabling contexts. Numerous projects have been funded by the EU since then (about 60 projects under FP7 and Horizon 2020) to develop proof-of-concept experiments and to support the policy development across Member States.
These policies (and the supported projects) are progressively developing the vision for a connected science learning ecosystem where young people may encounter a wide range of learning experiences and be supported by adults, scientists and policy experts, as well as peers in ways that could lead to future opportunities in personal, academic, professional, and civic realms. This vision requires teachers and organisations to think beyond the bounds of their institutions to consider how collective action at the level of networks can provide opportunities and address inequalities in a way that isolated efforts cannot.
Road-STEAMer aims to capitalize on:
- the lessons learnt from the numerous EU-funded initiatives,
- the national science education reform efforts
- the trends in science education research, to develop a roadmap for supporting the effective integration of STEAM in science education practices at the European level.
The Road-STEAMer consortium and the Road-STEAMer community together will share existing knowledge, experiences and practices, analyse the nature and conditions of STEAM synthesizing all their diverse perspectives and propose concrete ways for Horizon Europe, and Europe more widely, to make effective use of the power of STEAM approaches in formal and informal learning in the coming years.
Road-STEAMer is distinctively characterized by a strong bottom-up approach for the co-creation of its Roadmap. This approach focuses on educational practice and practitioners’ role and agency for the meaningful, effective adoption of STEAM practices, rather than high-level conceptualizations of STEAM and generic top-down plans.
The generation of better knowledge and shared understandings will be realized through the use of a set of carefully selected study methods, which will be intertwined with a series of co-creation workshops and other supporting events and initiatives.
The study methods will enable a strongly evidence-based approach, aiming to produce concrete, usable input into the Roadmap co-creation process, and therefore concrete and usable project results overall, avoiding generalities, maintaining a strong interest in the “realities on the ground” and the “lived STEAM experience” in the local context.
The study methods will include:
- thorough and thoughtful analysis of existing research and policy documentation, through structured and principled literature reviews
- analysis of existing datasets, which, responding to identified gaps, Road-STEAMer may also complement with new data collected mainly through questionnaire surveys as well as interviews or focus group discussions with selected participants
- a critical analysis of existing STEAM practices and relevant “best practice” on the basis of a solid set of criteria reflecting the identified important aspects of STEAM and its role and potential for today’s Europe.
The roadmap co-creation process will include co-creation workshops and supporting initiatives and events that will be strongly grounded on respecting, trusting, and leveraging stakeholders’ multitude of perspectives and experiences of STEAM. The goal is project results with a really strong impact potential, as they will address all and each one of the stakeholders specifically and authentically. In this way, the final Roadmap will provide not only general guidance for high-level European policy making, but also the means to promote real change in cultures in education, academia, business, etc.
open science with open schooling
Road-STEAMer also strategically chooses to focus on ways to leverage the power of STEAM approaches in science education in order to enable a bridging of open science and open schooling practices. Strengthening this link and developing synergies between these two aspects of openness through STEAM can have increased impact for science education as a crucial tool for addressing Europe’s current scientific and societal challenges. More specifically, research and corresponding European policies have pointed out the need for research and innovation, on the one hand, and education, on the other, to open up to society at large.
In the field of research and innovation this has been framed through the terms of “open science” and “Responsible Research and Innovation”. In the field of education, this has been linked to the concept of “open schooling”.
Open science is an approach based on open cooperative work and systematic sharing of knowledge and tools as early and widely as possible in the process. Among other things, open science practices include involving all relevant knowledge actors, including citizens, civil society and end users, in the co-creation of research and innovation agendas and contents.
The concept of open schooling reflects Europe’s ambition to enable schools to open up to society. Open schools, in cooperation with other stakeholders, become agents of community well-being by creating new partnerships in their local communities. In both cases, a key issue is the capacity of the research or education systems to work in non-isolation, i.e. their capacity to link with the external world, with other actors and expressions of society.
Road-STEAMer uses this element -the links with the external world- as a hypothesis for a driving force that can bridge the gap between secondary and tertiary education, and between the education and research, on the one hand, and industry and civil society on the other, towards an integrated science learning continuum and the natural development of synergies among these ecosystems.
Road-STEAMer supports that the ideal point of contact between these different poles is not achieved through specific actions at policy level for each of them separately, but concerns the reality in which students live, in both secondary and tertiary education. This reality includes civic engagement, media exposure, family life, geopolitical struggles, economic and environmental challenges, health issues, to name just a few – and, to a great extent, is integrally related to Europe’s current big policy areas such as the Green Deal, Digitisation and Health.