Our society becomes ever more knowledge and innovation-intensive, thus rising new requirements for necessary competencies for people both in work and everyday life. The Fourth industrial revolution brings wide automatization in various fields, so people with low technological skills become less competitive in labour market (The EP resolution on creating a competitive EU labour market for the 21st century, 2015). Creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, basic technological literacy becomes a must for young person prosperous life. Future skills forecasts show that the greatest skill shortages could occur across STEM-related field.
Europe continues to face a low number of students interested in studying or pursuing a career in the STEAM field. No different are consortium partner countries (Education at a Glance, 2016). According to the OECD research, pupils see STEAM as boring, not related with real life and hard to study. As another piece of research shows teacher is the main factor, who influences choosing STEAM related profession (K–12 education in STEM for America’s future, 2011).
There is a lack of various guidelines for schools which would be based on real experience, practical knowledge and schools’ best know-how practices. According to the article, “teachers are highly effective when they feel supported. For example, if someone helps teachers identify areas of development, identify opportunities or paths for teachers to take on leadership roles, provide teachers with access to additional resources for the classroom, etc.“ (Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers, 2015). There must be a developed system for supporting teachers and helping them achieve better results, through trainings, guidelines and best practices sharing (Linking schools with science, 2011).
The Consortium is composed of 6 organisations from 3 different countries, which have different experience within STEAM and science education fields and institutional diversity. These schools have different experience and practice on education, moreover, methods and even the structure of education systems is quite diverse. The diversity for this project is very important because it aims to adapt the guidelines to any country school. Other 3 organisations are education stakeholders. At least 20 000 people will benefit from this project.
All partners will be involved in every activity to some extent because consortium has chosen iterative IO creation process. Every intellectual output will have a core team working with the product and leading organization from that team, other partners will have ‘friendly critic’ role. There will be 3 intellectual outputs developed IO1 – STEAM methodology (methodological framework for STEAM education, which will include STEAM manifestation models, state of the art analysis of existing modern technologies that are used or might be used in education (3D printing, robotics, virtual reality, etc.) and emerging trends (genetic engineering, augmented reality, etc.), STEAM readiness level model and self-check tool of STEAM implementation for schools), IO2 – STEAM implementation guidelines (will be practically-oriented deliverable, which will include guidelines for school-business-NGO-etc. partnership development, exemplary descriptions of using new technologies in education, a guide for integrating different school subjects, a template of STEAM implementation plan, etc.), IO3 – Best practices and open educational resources (will have the user-experience based template for gathering and sharing best practices and open educational resources).
The project management relies on the basis of internal procedures, which follows ISO 9001:2000 quality standard. This quality management system includes the following key processes of organization: Quality management system; The management’s responsibility; Efficient resources management; Product realisation; The measurement, judgmental analysis, improvement.
After the project education system as a whole, individual politicians or bureaucrats will have practical tools for implementing STEAM readiness level model nation-wide and also self-check tool for schools to understand at which point it stands at any given moment. Thus this might lead that created SRL would be adopted European-wide or nationally.
The Project will have a long lasting impact (because of ‘hands on’ approach, which will ensure deeper understanding) in various areas (main areas stated in Impact part). Furthermore, this impact will be increased by project continuity and usage of developed material.
The biggest impact is expected and wanted on a local level (schools and stakeholders). Continuing this position, consortium desires that all created material would serve not as ranking tool, top-down obligations, but as guidelines for school improvements, leaving for them to decide at which level of STEAM implementation they want or need to be.
Project sySTEAM – systematic approach for implementation of STEAM education in schools (2017-1-LT01-KA201-035288) is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Project is implemented by Virolai E.M.S.A., Kiviõli I High School, Vilnius Žemynos Gymnasium, Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation, Sihtasutus Omanäolise Kooli Arenduskeskus, Knowledge Economy Forum.