Print
News

Unleashing the Potential of STEAM and Maker Pedagogy

9. Apr 2024

Revolutionizing STEM Education

In a world grappling with significant challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, the necessity for not only more scientists but also a society that embraces science with enthusiasm and understanding has never been more critical. However, the journey towards scientific literacy often encounters obstacles early on, rooted deeply in the educational experiences provided at schools. A shift in perspective and methodology is urgently required to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education more inclusive, engaging, and relevant to today's complex world. This is where the transformation to STEAM—incorporating 'Arts' into STEM—coupled with Maker Pedagogy, comes into play, offering a promising avenue towards social innovation in education. 

Maker Pedagogy: Hands-on Learning for Real-world Problem Solving 

At the core of the STEAM approach lies Maker Pedagogy, a transformative educational practice that emphasizes hands-on learning through design, creation, and collaboration in makerspaces. This method not only fosters creativity and collaboration but also cultivates a sense of ownership and relevance in learners, enabling them to discern the practical application of learning by doing and represents a significant departure towards recognizing education as a catalyst for social innovation.  

Social Innovation in Education: Beyond the Classroom 

The journey towards embedding STEAM and Maker Pedagogy into educational systems is akin to navigating through an obstacle course laden with systemic barriers. The transition requires concerted efforts from educators, policymakers, and the community to dismantle the "hostile obstacle course" and pave the way for a more inclusive and engaging educational landscape. 

Transitioning from STEM to STEAM maker education represents a form of “social innovation in education”, as defined by the Centre for Social Innovation: “Social innovations are new concepts and measures for solving social challenges that are accepted and utilized by social groups affected” (Centre for Social Innovation, n.d.). The impact of this innovation can range from individual to societal levels. However, for this approach to truly qualify as a social innovation, it must be adopted and implemented by educational institutions. 

Drafting a Policy Recommendation for Integrating Makerspace in School Curricula 

Within the framework of a workshop attended by approximately 40 stakeholders, including representative from schools, member of the mAkE – African European Maker Innovatoin Ecosystem (https://makeafricaeu.org/) and DBB – The Distributed Design Platform (https://distributeddesign.eu/) projects, researchers, members of makerspaces, pedagogues, and non-profit organisations, the conditions for adopting STEAM approaches and formulating policy recommendations were thoroughly discussed. 

Taking place during the consortium meeting of the mAkE and DBB project, the 2-hour workshop was structured into various group and working sessions, with each group compromising around 8 participants. This workshop occurred on March 15, 2024, in Barcelona, Spain. Each group focused on developing distinct policy recommendations, utilizing a template provided by Distributed Design. This template, known as the policy framing prompts, was designed to guide group discussions and explorations. 

  1. What is the policy you would like to change or influence?

  2. Who are the policymakers you would need to convince? 

  3. What is the entry point to grab the attention of these policymakers? 

  4. What are the winning points to convince this policymaker of your position? 

  5. What is the long-term change you would see if policy shifted in your favour? 

  6. What would the direct benefit be? 

  7. What would the wider benefits be? 

  8. What should this policymaker do? 

During the workshop, the results of each step of the template were recorded on post-it notes and later shared with all participants. Towards the end of the session, one representative from each group assumed the role of a “speaker” and presented the group’s elaborated ideas to the others. 

In this setting, Claudia Magdalena Fabian from ZSI (Centre for Social Innovation) shared initial insights derived from the RoadSTEAMer project with fellow group members. Inspired by these insights, the group embarked on drafting a policy recommendation centred around the integration of makerspaces into school curricula. This collaborative effort aimed to explore innovative approaches to incorporate makerspaces effectively in educational settings. 

Ein Bild, das Text, Klebezettel, Handschrift, Papierprodukt enthält.