The concept of integrated STE(A)M education

In education, interdisciplinary teaching refers to teaching in various subjects, based on the development of knowledge and skills, in order to enrich the entire educational experience. There are many benefits of an interdisciplinary approach, such as: helping students to think critically, developing lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, increasing the desire to learn, and developing communication and creativity. Although the word STEM can be interpreted as an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, it can also be treated as a whole, representing interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the natural sciences.

STE(A)M

Although STEM subjects are included in the curricula in all European countries, the teaching of STEM subjects mainly refers to time dedicated to only one subject, and mostly according to studies, teachers do not work together. Consequently, students may not be able to combine and link knowledge acquired in more than one STEM or other subject. In this regard, it is necessary to address the lack of integrated STEM teaching by creating and testing a conceptual frame of reference for integrated STE (A) M education.

Teaching STEM refers to using practical experiences, providing students with tools for discovery and increasing their potential to influence the future. The objectives of STEM teaching must be adjusted and updated in order to improve STEM education and initiate problem solving through science. Prospective STEM students will be guided from an early age to understand and use technology. Teacher challenges in the classroom teach students that technology is a tool for developing problem-solving skills, both in a team and during independent learning. Teachers can, for example, use project-based learning to identify tasks that will improve students’ interpersonal skills and abstract thinking.

Integrating STEM subjects will enable students to apply the knowledge acquired in each subject and connect it with real challenges or STEM professions. For example, if we want to introduce students to the importance of this topic, we will examine it from different angles. Accordingly, in Technology, students will learn how to search for relevant information, in Mathematics they will learn how to collect and present data, and in Biology or Economics they will learn about ecosystems or design sustainability projects. This is the first step that will ensure that students, even in primary school, are able to understand how this knowledge can help solve everyday problems.

In order to properly implement the integration of STEM and non-STEM subjects, it is necessary to conduct project teaching (Project Base Learning – PBL). It is a modern model of education that is based on collaborative learning and solving real, life tasks. Through their engagement, knowledge and application of what they have learned, students achieve enviable results in solving real situations or project simulations.

Also, Inquiry-Based Learning is a pedagogical approach that encourages students to explore scientific content by asking, researching, and answering questions.
Students take an active role in the realization of teaching content, and research skills contribute to better adoption and understanding of scientific content and understanding of real-world problems. A research-based approach can be applied in all scientific disciplines and at different ages of students.

Lecture and discussion with participants, students and teachers from Serbia and the region, was led by Milijana Petrović, computer science teacher and Scientix Ambassador from Serbia, as well as the National Ambassador of Science on Stage Serbia network and a member of the Institute for Modern Education.

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