STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It can be defined as an educational discipline that aims to spark learners’ interest and a lifelong love of the arts and sciences. Historically STEAM emerged from STEM, introducing into the STEM paradigm a new component: the ‘A,’ which stands for Arts. The primary difference between STEM and STEAM is the transdisciplinary approach where authentic problems are explored. Students can better understand how components and aspects of a scenario or problem are related.
STEAM education proposes itself as a new discipline, essential for modern education, to prepare students for real-life contexts, which are not confined to one sole field but rather extend to many-faceted aspects that merge. In this context, schools have an essential role in creating an educational ecosystem capable of providing students with learning experiences that move beyond the discipline boundaries. This approach, often based on project-based learning (PBL) and inferring from different disciplines, aims to guide pupils through investigating relations of elements and concepts. This exploration represents an essential learning component to prepare the new generations of professionals to solve ill-defined problems through reasoning, which involves interpreting real situations, making assumptions, devising strategies, and creating innovative solutions.
Considering the importance of transdisciplinary learning and project-based learning, our HS curriculum includes an additional course part of the STEAM program in every grade. Each course (Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, and Grade 12) focuses on a broad discipline, such as construction engineering, robotics, and art and space, but it doesn’t limit it. The way around. Students are driven through the course, involved in many learning activities where they use specific challenges or tasks related to the primary discipline, but exploring and inferring concepts from other fields is utterly distant from the central theme. For example, students’ creativity is unleashed and fostered while drawing using simulated robots. While freeing their creativity and artistic passion, pupils learn coding aspects and robotics foundations without realizing it.
Additionally, considering the importance of challenges and gamification in educational settings, students are prepared and supported in joining internal and external competitions, leveraging the fun component and challenging nature of tournaments. This fosters learners’ motivation and desire to go the extra mile. Our STEAM program offers laboratories in different disciplines that will enable students to cooperate, work together, and perform hands-on activities, leveraging the OECD’s principle of learning.
Many learners lose their natural curiosity for understanding how things function and interrelate with each other. Modern education needs to adapt and be shaped by current challenges. A fundamental component of education nowadays revolves around the transdisciplinary nature of our problems. The International Bureau of Education of UNESCO defined transdisciplinary as “an approach to curriculum integration which dissolves the boundaries between the conventional disciplines and organizes teaching and learning around the construction of meaning in the context of real-world problems or themes.” Real-life problems are not limited to a sphere or a field. They have many faces and require problem solvers to be flexible and think with a cross-field mindset: transdisciplinary, thus not limited to one discipline. With a transdisciplinary approach, STEAM education exposes learners to real-life problems, fostering their creativity and critical thinking skills.