How TEAM Model Supports Teachers and Schools in Carrying Out STEAM
The Call for STEAM
The evolution of education has never been news. Even if the presidents have changed, the United States still values education so much in order to improve the competitiveness of the United States and nurture professionals. Since the former president Bush passed the America COMPETES Act in 2007, followed by the former president Obama called for the attention of STEM education from an early age in 2011 State of the Union Address, and the Executive Office of the President of the U.S.
in president Trump’s office led the 2018 White House State-Federal STEM Education Summit, the United States has stressed the importance of education in promoting working opportunities and qualities. In recent years, STEM has spread very quickly with millions of dollars invested and all levels of schools and governments followed the trend. On February 2, 2016, the former president of Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda largely championed the necessity of Arts in STEM education at Concordia’s fifth annual Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership for Education Awards and his speech officially brought the movement toward STEAM up to the forefront of educational policymakers.
Since then, STEAM grew like an internet celebrity, gone viral overnight. Not only that educational policies have been made in different countries, but also the U.S. celebrates National STEM/STEAM Day on November 8 to encourage kids to cultivate the interests in lifelong exploration of and pursuit for diverse knowledge. However, STEAM isn’t just a craze. Many teachers that advocate promoting STEAM have made every endeavor to develop its curricula and strived for excellence in it.
What is STEAM
STEAM is an integrated educational framework whose spirits lie highly in student inquiry, dialogue, critical thinking, and problem-based learning (some defined as ‘process-based learning’). A learning experience designed within this framework is meaningful to the students, can stimulate thinking, can inspire learning, has clear context, and implies interdisciplinary integration. Because of its highlight on problem-based learning, the first step is to trigger students’ interests. Their wonders should come from their experiences and background knowledge so that they are truly meaningful. In the end of each STEAM learning experience, they should have built a fundamental idea of how different divisions of studies and their lives work together.
The following are critical features of implementing STEAM: －Meaningful The design must be related to the students’ lives or backgrounds. －Problem-based The “problem” is to pique students’ interests and inquiries. －Clearly contextual The context is clear and all parts are closely connected. －Interdisciplinary At least two of the standards from Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts are integrated in the curriculum. While each curricular area’s own right is not left behind, they are also taught with integrity. －Humanity involved The Arts is a hook to address the students’ attention, a delicate string that weaves all content area knowledge into a beautifully designed tapestry, and a natural medium for humanity to root in peoples’ hearts. －Intentional Build an intentional and thoughtful connection between standards, assessments, and content design according to the goals. －Lifelong Encourage students to take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process (Education Closet) in order to develop the lifelong curiosity and inquiry about life.
Four Aspects of TEAM Model’s Support for STEAM
In education, STEAM serves as initiatives for students to experience the process of creativity and innovation. In the end, they are able to solve problems find solutions in their lives. As STEAM emphasizes project-based learning, it also relies a lot on student-centered learning and the collaboration and cooperation among the students (sometimes students and teachers). The following will elaborate on how TEAM Model Based Smarter Learning under TEAM Model supportive system can support carrying out STEAM. 1. Student-centered/Guidance With deliberate planning, a good reality-based lesson can keep the students busy all the time and their eagerness to know more will never stop. Data driven decision embedded in TEAM Model’s TEAM Model Based Smarter Learning allows the teachers to bring purposeful, interesting, and relevant learning experiences to life. The vigorous and enjoyable learning experiences can be duplicated and spread easily and quickly and they are possible to be executed every day and everywhere with TEAM Model. In addition to that the learning experiences are based on the students, because of the frequent interactions between the students and the teacher and the instant feedback of the interactive data, teachers can grasp an idea of individual student’s learning, adjust the guidance in accordance to their individual learning conditions, and accomplish the idea of “student-centered” in delicate ways. Take the STEAM class, “The Deep Sea Fishing Boat, Giant” taught by Mr. Tien from Yingdu Ziteng Primary School, Chengdu, Sichuan for example. At 10’50” of the class, Mr. Tien allows the students to decide which group to present the results first with Buzz-in. This not only gives the power to make a decision to the students, but also arouses their motivation. Right after the first student’s talk, Mr. Tien invites another volunteer to provide further ideas based on the previous one. This way, the students can give different opinions while extending their thoughts. At 14’36”, each group conducts the experiment they designed and at 22’18” they compare the results among the groups on their own. At 39’12”, the students vote for the best work using pop-quiz according to the principles they conclude. In a STEAM classroom, the experiments and conclusions are not led by the teachers. Whether a work is good or not is not decided by the teacher, either. The students have the initiative of learning in their hands. Everyone can have their own opinions. And TEAM Model Based Smarter Learning under TEAM Model supportive system allows the concept “student-centered” to be rooted and implemented efficiently. It also allows the teachers to moderate their classes based on the students’ will, interest, and ability. 2. Observation/Interaction TEAM Model integrates all the technological needs a teacher may have so that the teacher can interact with and observe the students with ease. First of all, HiTA frees the teachers from the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). The teachers can walk around the classroom to manipulate the class and observe individual student at the same time. The student end devices, such as IRS (Interactive Response System) or pads, allow the teacher and the students to communicate easily. Because every student has to answer questions with their own IRS, the teacher can see their understanding through the instantaneous statistics in no time. Based on the statistics, the teacher can make instant teaching decisions right away and understand individual learning status after class with the data collected from the class. Asking questions and giving feedback can enhance the quality and the quantity of interactions and allow the interactive learning patterns between the teacher and the students, and among the students to be employed. Mr. Tien surveys the understanding of the concept, “bearing capacity” with Pop-quiz at 5’0” to gain a quick grasp of their background knowledge. Then he makes a data-driven decision according to the statistics and randomly picks out a student from the slot of the option which most people selected (the paper bowl) to explain the reasons. Furthermore, in the process of the six-minute hands-on at the end, Mr. Tien checks each group’s discussion by walking around. He listens to the discussion, guide them when they need, and take pictures of the products of their discussion and paste the photos back to the IWB at 36’22” to share with the entire class. With TEAM Model, teachers can observe with more possibilities, manage the class, and improve the quality and quantity of the interaction, which shines the critical features of STEAM. 3. Cooperation/Sharing That STEAM framework emphasizes problem-based learning means that students should cooperate with each other or with the teacher to set up solutions. The design of TEAM Model’s team-based learning (TBL) aims at the importance of learning as a group and has always supported student-centered collaboration and cooperation. While each student has an IRS to represent their own thoughts, they are also grouped to solve problems or complete assigned tasks together. Everyone has his own challenges and advantages and they can lead the group where they are strong at while helping with the group what they find challenging. In a TEAM Model TBL smarter classroom, each team has at least one pad for them to brainstorm and produce their work or when they are done, they can take a picture of their work with their pad and Fast Deliver it to the teacher. Turning in group work can be done in many manners. It’s the teacher’s call to decide how the students are going to turn in their group works. More creative communicational forms are available for both ends in a TEAM Model Smarter Classroom to advance group learning and mold a vivid, active, and interactive class. In “The Deep Sea Fishing Boat, Giant,” Mr. Tien designs three discussions and asks each student to take over a job in their group and play their roles when discussing. While completing the task for their group, each member should do their job. At 7’12”, the students attempt to solve the problem. They talk about possible solutions to find out bearing capacity of the paper cup, the paper bowl, and the paper plate. They should also describe their experiment on a worksheet and Fast Deliver it to the teacher. Then the teacher will open the work comparison for further class discussion. At 14’36”, each group conducts their own experiment, the person in charge of recording the process keeps track of every step, and then the group concludes their results and then shares with the class by Fast Delivering the results to the IWB. The last learning activity happens at 33’5”, each group designs a boat and takes pictures of their ideas and designs, then Fast Delivers the pictures to share with the class. In each discussion, Mr. Tien orally encourages each group with their advantages, so that other groups can learn from them. With the support of TEAM Model, group interaction is more meaningful and sharing is prompter, which reflects the STEAM spirits. 4. Attention and Within STEAM, every student needs to cooperate with each other and contribute to the group as a certain role. Teachers are to guide the students when needed so that they can adaptively develop their abilities. The data-driven decision provided in TEAM Model empowers teachers to enlarge their attention, understand individual student’s learning, interests, or talents, and more efficiently and appropriately assign their duties in their learning group so that each student can contribute themselves to the fullest. In a TEAM Model One-on-One Smarter Classroom, more interactive manners are available and in this group learning environment, individual student will receive the attention as in a one-on-one learning setting. Just as the examples in the previous sections, because Mr. Tien is not limited to the IWB and the feedback from the students is more than writing on a piece of paper and passing around the classroom, he can effectively observe the students and know how they are learning and discussing at any time. In a TEAM Model Smarter Classroom, students can respond in various ways, such as answering with IRS, presenting the results of their thinking or discussion on their pads, meaningful random Pick-out, or expressing thoughts by Buzz-in. More aspects and evidences are available for teachers to watch for more feedback from the students so that they can grow and share at their own paces. TEAM Model Based Smarter Learning that was developed based on TEAM Model cares a lot about “student-centered,” “interactions,” “teaching in accordance to students’ aptitude,” “group learning,” and “one-on-one attention” to ensure all learning environments to be utilized to the fullest. TEAM Model Based Smarter Learning is further divided into three layers, “Student-Centered Highly Interactive Context,” “Synchronous Differentiation,” and “Autonomy under Group Learning,” and the latter is a level higher the former. From “Student-Centered Highly Interactive Context” to “Synchronous Differentiation” or from “Synchronous Differentiation” to “Autonomy under Group Learning,” the essence of the latter layer can achieve the essence of the former one. In a Synchronous Differentiation Smarter Classroom, student-centered highly interactive must exist. In an Autonomy under Group Learning Smarter Classroom, synchronous differentiation can be applied with no doubt. In a traditional classroom, it takes much more time and effort to achieve the STEAM spirits. In the past two years, I was once an elementary homeroom teacher and I taught Mandarin and Math. Because I was also an English teacher before that, I usually combined these three subjects with the humanity and the students’ experiences in my teaching in my homeroom to achieve the teaching objectives. For example, in a scheduled Mandarin class, my students and I tried to perform all kinds of situations in the text. Through acting out the sentences and the vocabularies, I led a discussion about the possibility of “laughing while crying.” We not only found lots of fun acting out the sentences, but also learned that the actions before and after the word “while” should be similar or not conflicting. Laughing and crying are conflicting ideas, so the possibility of happening is zero. In the process of making all kinds of sentences (again, in Mandarin), we also talked about how it would be better expressed in English or in what situation could an action possibly happen. In order to make sure that all of the students are learning, I had to remember who had answered and who hadn’t all the time. But any experienced teacher would know that no matter how careful you try to be, no one can guarantee that all students had equal chances. The observational data collected by teaching experience in a classroom cost time and effort. Even the most careful teacher would expect a more precise statistics. TEAM Model highlights data-driven decision and can achieve synchronous differentiation, so student-centered teaching and interactions can truly be put into practice. Moreover, TEAM Model Based Smarter Learning can practice STEAM fast and naturally, breaking the limits of traditional classes and achieving a deeper gradation of teaching and learning. TEAM Model (Sokrates) AI Analysis System Advocates Teacher Professional Development
“The Deep Sea Fishing Boat, Giant” by Tien from Chengdu, Sichuan for example.
Shifting to a STEAM curriculum very likely implies changing pedagogy and teaching habits. It takes many teachers from different content areas to collaborate and cooperate. Teachers adopting STEAM see themselves as collaborative learners and seek for collaboration and cooperation at grade level or cross grade level. They work as an instructional group to share ideas and plan out what’s best for the students. It would be more beneficial to the teachers if there are teacher professional learning opportunities where they can share experiences and observe exemplars. TEAM Model Sokrates AI Analysis System provides the teachers with a powerful tool to find good patterns of teaching. It also makes sharing and giving feedback more easily. Each Sokrates video and report represent one period of class time. A Sokrates video contains three indicators, an actual teaching clip, and interactive behavioral data collected from the class. The instructor or other feedback givers can add labels to the teaching clip to a specific teaching moment. Not only can the teacher review the teaching process very easily with slices of the video clip, but also can any teacher growth groups that the teacher belongs to share thoughts on providing better learning experiences. Since the spirit of STEAM is a living structure, the teachers and the curricula they create should be tolerant to all possibilities and changes in their lives. Sokrates can assist the teachers to adjust and improve under a structural guide and at a faster pace. School Administrators’ STEAM + TEAM Model STEAM isn’t just about teachers or students. It has to do with the entire school and even the community the school resides in. STEAM’s vision is to get everyone in a community involved. Schools have the powers and abilities to bind the STEAM curricula, the STEAM teachers, students and the community together. If STEAM is to connect students’ learning to their real-life experiences, not only teachers should put efforts in designing reality-based thematic lessons, but also schools should play the role in backing them up. Schools must support teachers with sufficient and satisfactory basic constructions and facilities, and build an atmosphere where people are ready and happy to share. This way teachers can teach in creative ways, collaborate with each other in positive attitudes, and be treated as “professionals,” which is so important nowadays. TEAM Model provides an integrated solution to serve schools and teachers with effortless integrity of all aspects of teaching, including e-Teaching, e-assEssment, e-diAgnosing, and e-reMediation. More are designed based on educational needs to carry out educational theories and frameworks. TEAM Model’s ultimate goal is to empower teaching and inspire learning. We look forward to teachers being successful in implementing the STEAM framework. We believe that with the empowerment and respect they get from the school, they will have better and better performance, which of course will benefit the students and eventually the schools. As described above, the ultimate goal of TEAM Model is to ‘”Empower teaching, Inspire Learning,” which matches the core mission of STEAM. Both aim at igniting students’ passion for or interest in learning and being life-long learners. We all know that there’s no shortcut to success, but what if there is one? As educators at the frontline, teachers should put deeper thoughts in how to effectively carry out the STEAM framework and TEAM Model is the key to fulfill it.