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Technology

New Skills: 4 Benefits Of STEAM Education

contributed by Lesley University Online

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The need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is critical, especially because there will be more than 3 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018.

But administrators and policy makers now recognize the benefits of integrating arts education into STEM subjects. The Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind in 2015, encourages the incorporation of arts and design into the curriculum by citing states’ obligation to support arts education programs in public schools. And U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. touted the benefits of a ‘well-rounded education’ in a speech at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in April 2016.

Now, instead of focusing solely on STEM, education experts are finding ways to innovate in the classroom with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). This approach teaches K-12 students to think creatively and engage in other subject areas using skills learned in the arts.

About STEAM

STEAM utilizes the arts along with traditional STEM subjects as “access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking,” according to EducationCloset, a digital learning hub for educators. “The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process,” EducationCloset continues. STEAM works by leveraging the benefits associated with STEM with the accessibility of visual art, poetry, music, and drama. Students can make connections and learn in a variety of ways, reaping the benefits that a STEAM education can provide.

Educators support the use of STEAM in the classroom, according to Voices from the field: Teachers’ views on the relevance of arts integration, a 2012 study from Lesley University. This two-year study featured data from 204 teachers in 19 states. According to its findings, “teachers report that arts integration stimulates deep learning, creates increased student engagement, and cultivates students’ investment in learning.”

In addition, STEAM approaches can help students learn skills relevant to the 21st-century, including innovation and cultural sensitivity. The study reports that a well-rounded approach to education also better enables teachers to use differentiated instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. These findings are significant because they highlight the perspectives of teachers who are practicing STEAM in the classroom and seeing the benefits firsthand.

STEAM’s Impact in the Classroom

As a result of the adoption of STEAM in classrooms across the country, new teaching methods have emerged. These approaches combine subjects and disciplines that have been siloed from one another traditionally, says Maureen Creegan-Quinquis, associate professor within Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education. And according to The Washington Post, STEAM promotes “skills seen as important in academic and life success.”

Here are some of the skills the Post says students stand to gain from STEAM.

New Skills: 4 Benefits Of STEAM Education

Creativity

Teaching students to think ‘outside of the box’ causes them to approach tasks differently. They learn to be creative by utilizing a wide variety of thought processes and skills throughout a classroom day.

Confidence

Approaches grounded in visual art, drama, and creative writing give students hands-on training in delivering a message and doing so with confidence. When combined with science, mathematics and technology-based topics, students learn to tackle tough subjects with self-assurance.

Problem-Solving

Learning new skills, whether technical or artistic, teaches students to approach new, potentially challenging situations with a positive attitude. Using STEAM, teachers can help students solve problems creatively using a variety of methods.

Collaboration

STEAM classrooms are highly collaborative, with students working together to grasp new information using multiple access points. They learn to share responsibility and compromise by working on group projects that incorporate multiple disciplines.

For Creegan-Quinquis, the effectiveness of STEAM is no surprise: “Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts all have very similar intellectual ancestors: some of the same philosophical underpinnings, some of the same inquiry questions. There’s always been connection between the arts and these other domains … the difference is that now you will see deliberate as opposed to accidental cross-pollination between the subjects and a lot of it is about making learning accessible.”

She points out that one of STEAM’s central benefits is that it provides multiple access points, giving students with different learning styles and backgrounds ample opportunities to learn in the way that is best for them.

Applying STEAM Principles for Success

Creegan-Quinquis provides several useful examples of how teachers can successfully integrate the five STEAM subjects into the classroom day. The first involves utilizing digital tools: “Classroom teachers use a lot of interactive books online, the kind that are very artistic and creative, and actually have animations and movement … with the focus on being able to use it to teach new vocabulary [for example].”

Giving students multiple options for presenting what they learn is another useful feature of STEAM. “You may have a student who is quiet … and they are not always the first one jumping up and raising their hand. If you know that student likes rap and you ask her to make a rap song about a mathematic equation, watch what happens when she starts rapping. You often will be inspired and excited by how much she knows,” she says.

Taking a multidimensional approach to assignments is another way to successfully integrate STEAM. Creegan-Quinquis uses the example of teaching Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Ask them to do a little creative writing, then act out part of the play based on their own [re]writing of the script. You may have them playing William Shakespeare being interviewed about why he wrote the characters that he did. You may have students create collages of the characters. Approaches like these can all enhance their understanding of the book they read.”

She suggests using technology to teach subjects like social studies and science. “I might use technology to have students research three different multimedia experiences of an important event in history,” she explains. “In science the students will use lots of graphics to give visible form to their experiment. They will create their own documentary. They will use animation apps [and] iMovie.” All of these strategies enable teachers to implement STEAM in their classrooms.

Innovation and the 21st-Century Classroom

The STEAM movement is an important trend in K-12 education because of the rapid pace of innovation and the changing nature of the job market. “Education is under pressure to respond to a changing world. As repetitive tasks are eroded by technology and outsourcing, the ability to solve novel problems has become increasingly vital,” according to Jeevan Vasagar at the Financial Times. This puts STEAM at the forefront of education, and teachers who can successfully incorporate these approaches into their curriculum can help students prepare for the challenges and innovations of the modern world.

Lesley University’s online Master of Education programs equip teachers with the knowledge and tools to effectively educate students in the modern classroom. With specialized degrees in Mathematics EducationScience in Education, and Digital Literacy and Computer Science, Lesley offers opportunities for educators to deepen their understanding of current approaches and hone their teaching skills and assessment strategies.

Categories
Learning

What Is The 5E Model? A Definition For Teachers

What Is The 5E Model? A Definition For Teachers

contributed by Lesley University Online

This is sponsored content. Sponsored or not, we never publish any content we don’t feel meaningfully contributes to innovation and growth in your teaching. You can read more about our sponsored content policy here.

When choosing an instructional model, teachers seek strategies that help students gain a complete understanding of new concepts. They aim to engage students, motivate them to learn, and guide them toward skill development. One of the ways to do that is by incorporating inquiry-based approaches like the 5E Model, which is grounded in active learning.

Research suggests that there is a set order of events that facilitates learning, known as a learning cycle. Educators J. Myron Atkin and Robert Karplus argued in 1962 that effective learning cycles involve three key elements: exploration, term introduction, and concept application.

“In their scheme, exploration allowed the learners to become interested in the subject at hand, raise questions, and identify points of dissatisfaction with their current understanding. Introduction of new ideas and terms, primarily by the instructor, but negotiated by both instructor and students, followed. Finally, concept application provided learners with opportunities within the classroom to apply their new ideas, try out their new understandings in novel contexts, and evaluate the completeness of their understanding,” according to Kimberly D. Tanner in the article “Order Matters: Using the 5E Model to Align Teaching With How People Learn.”

What Is The 5E Model?

The 5E Model, developed in 1987 by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, promotes collaborative, active learning in which students work together to solve problems and investigate new concepts by asking questions, observing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions. 

Theoretical Foundations

The findings of Atkin and Karplus directly informed the creation of the 5E Model, which focuses on allowing students to understand a concept over time through a series of established steps, or phases. These phases include Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. 

The 5E Model

The 5E Model, developed in 1987 by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, promotes collaborative, active learning in which students work together to solve problems and investigate new concepts by asking questions, observing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions. 

The 5E Model is based on the constructivist theory to learning, which suggests that people construct knowledge and meaning from experiences. By understanding and reflecting on activities, students are able to reconcile new knowledge with previous ideas. According to subject matter expert Beverlee Jobrack, “Educational movements, such as inquiry-based learning, active learning, experiential learning, discovery learning, and knowledge building, are variations of constructivism.”

In the classroom, constructivism requires educators to build inquiry, exploration, and assessment into their instructional approach. In many ways, this means the teacher plays the role of a facilitator, guiding students as they learn new concepts.

The 5E Model Explained

The following is an overview of the five phases of the 5E Model.

Engage

In the first phase of the learning cycle, the teacher works to gain an understanding of the students’ prior knowledge and identify any knowledge gaps. It is also important to foster an interest in the upcoming concepts so students will be ready to learn. Teachers might task students with asking opening questions or writing down what they already know about the topic.

This is also when the concept is introduced to students for the first time.

Explore

During the exploration phase, students actively explore the new concept through concrete learning experiences. They might be asked to go through the scientific method and communicate with their peers to make observations. This phase allows students to learn in a hands-on way.

Explain

This is a teacher-led phase that helps students synthesize new knowledge and ask questions if they need further clarification. For the Explain phase to be effective, teachers should ask students to share what they learned during the Explore phase before introducing technical information in a more direct manner, according to “The 5E Instructional Model: A Learning Cycle Approach for Inquiry-Based Science Teaching.” This is also when teachers utilize video, computer software, or other aides to boost understanding.

Elaborate

The elaboration phase of the 5E Model focuses on giving students space to apply what they’ve learned. This helps them to develop a deeper understanding. Teachers may ask students to create presentations or conduct additional investigations to reinforce new skills. This phase allows students to cement their knowledge before evaluation.

Evaluate

The 5E Model allows for both formal and informal assessment. During this phase, teachers can observe their students and see whether they have a complete grasp of the core concepts. It is also helpful to note whether students approach problems in a different way based on what they learned. Other helpful elements of the Evaluate phase include self-assessment, peer-assessment, writing assignments, and exams.

Application & Effectiveness

The 5E Model is most effective when students are encountering new concepts for the very first time because there is opportunity for a complete learning cycle.

According to co-creator Rodger W. Bybee, the 5E Model is best used in a unit of two to three weeks in which each phase is the basis for one or more distinct lessons. “Using the 5Es model as the basis for a single lesson decreases the effectiveness of the individual phases due to shortening the time and opportunities for challenging and restructuring of concepts and abilities—for learning,” Bybee explains. And if too much time is spent on each phase, the structure isn’t as effective and students may forget what they’ve learned.

The following research findings illustrate the positive impact of the 5E Model in classrooms:

One study showed that the 5E Model caused “a significantly better acquisition of scientific conceptions…than traditional instruction,” according to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education.

One study found that the 5E Instructional Model significantly increased learning and retention of science lessons.

The International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications found the 5E learning cycle model positively affects student achievement and the permanence of knowledge.

The 5E Model allows educators to create a unique learning experience for students. Teachers who can incorporate instructional models like the 5E Model into their classrooms help students build a strong foundation of knowledge through active participation.

Lesley University’s online Master of Education programs equip teachers with the knowledge and tools to effectively educate students in the modern classroom. With specialized degrees in mathematics educationscience in education, and more, Lesley offers opportunities for educators to deepen their understanding of current approaches and hone their teaching skills and assessment strategies.

Learn more about Lesley’s online education programs.