Previous research has indicated the need for instructional change to help cease the decline for Australian tertiary students enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas. Several studies have suggested that using a blended learning framework to improve the development of STEM curriculum plays a critical role for such change.
Rachael has used a design experiment methodology alongside a self-report method to co-develop a faculty-wide blended learning model for STEM at Deakin University. Her research and practice in this area focused on acquiring new professional knowledge for future practices in this area. She used a mix of self-report data gathering process to inform practices such as (1) reflective notes from journal entries and field notes, (2) reflections on key literature findings on blended learning in STEM education, and (3) feedback received from a community of inquiry. The findings indicated a number of challenges such as discovering new ways to support STEM academics due to their requirement to successfully produce "discipline-specific" research outputs when teaching outcomes are viewed as secondary.
Rachael anticipated that the blended learning model would help advance the field of academic development in STEM education as well as other discipline areas in the higher education sector. For example, the model was also relevant to other areas of study; where alternative approaches to instructional change in higher education are of a focus.
The model explained (2015)
Rachael has also completed the STARTS4STEM research project with her colleagues. The below examples illustrating some of the project's outcomes.
A good practice resource for laboratory and prac learning that uses a blended learning approach
But, WHAT about STEAM?
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics and can be used as a teaching and learning framework that underlines an interdisciplinary approach to research and practice for learning that engages students and enhances their employability skill development areas. A STEAM framework can aid in designing curriculum that supports self-directed, hands-on learning, exploration and experimentation, connecting to broader ideas around design experiment and design thinking. A STEAM framework can provide an opportunity for students to engage in critical and creative thinking such as mathematics students working with performing arts students to design and produce a Theatre-in-Education program for primary schools that has real-world relevance and thus importance.
What could a scientist possibly have to do in a museum of art and culture? Quite a lot, it turns out. In fact, I could be kept busy for decades with the projects I’ve envisioned. More on that later (click here for more- a blog article by Lisa Delissio on STEAM in higher education).
It starts early... How do High Schools view STEAM?