Process - Orchestrated by the teacher
Working in STEAM is not an end in itself, but an important means to reach purposefully selected content and beyond. The teacher needs to take into account the diversity between students and develop a clear idea of appropriate learning objectives to achieve.
During a STEAM-CT project the teacher acts as a coach who observes and guides students to orchestrate the students’ learning processes (Crawford, 2000). For example, the teacher’s questions should provoke deeper thinking and make new questions arise (Mant, 2007). On the other hand, he/she should avoid asking closed-end questions that might transform the work of the students into a search for the “right” answer (Dejonckheere, Vervaet, & Van De Keere, 2016). Important to stimulate the students to develop STEAM literacy and a variety of competences such as critical analysis, cooperation, creativity, initiative, communication, … is to be an adequate time manager. As a teacher you determine a flexible timeframe wherein students get the freedom to act and think creatively, innovatively, analytically, …
As STEAM-CT is all about problem-solving, students need to be triggered to persist throughout the process. Consequently, teachers need to adjust STEAM-CT projects to their particular group knowing what moves and challenges them. Moreover, a teacher should take into account the diversity of abilities, strengths … of different students. For example, as teamwork is key to STEAM-CT projects the composition of groups can be deliberately balanced based on different grouping criteria such as students’ familiarity with creativity, initiative, STEAM content, …
The integration of STEAM and CT demands a teacher who shows an inquisitive attitude towards the world in general and new technologies in specific. Creating real-world contexts as meaningful learning settings involves also getting the most of ICT regarding the students their learning processes.
All throughout a STEAM-CT process, both the teacher and the students need to keep in mind the importance of assessment (McMillan, 2010). Students should be aware of the objectives that are put forward and be stimulated to reflect on their own learning process. STEAM-CT emphasizes the promotion of self-management of students.
A variety of assessment methods can be applied within a STEAM-CT project: Firstly, the teacher should communicate clearly with the students in order to both evaluate and improve their understanding of the concepts they are acquiring, as well as the skills that they are developing. (Zemelman, Daniels, & Hyde, 2005) The teacher relies on observation to give the students feedback on their work, including the results as well as the process. Also self-evaluation, for example through rubrics, helps students to understand what they are learning and achieving. Thirdly, peer-evaluation allows students to reflect on their team’s work, but also on their own performance throughout the process.