STEAM Education Endorsement: An Opportunity for Connected Learning for K-12 Educators
Early research findings suggest student interest in STEM fields increased when students have exposed STEAM approaches to teaching and learning. This has generated a growing interest among practitioners and researchers in STEAM. However, the lack of formal, professional learning and training experiences to prepare teachers for working in this area still remains. Through this endorsement, the School of Education aims to provide K-12 teachers, educational technologists, artists, and museum educators with a STEAM Education micro-credential and add-on endorsement (with an opportunity to roll the courses into a master). It is comprised of four sequential courses, which, when combined, will capture the essential aspects of STEAM education: STEAM Instructional Design, Transdisciplinary Teaching (with a lab section), STEAM Enacted (with a lab section), and STEAM Assessment. Professionalizing STEAM teaching practices will ultimately produce better outcomes for educational programs, systems, and students. STEAM teaching requires teachers to develop content knowledge within a discipline but also, across other disciplines. In this way, teachers must be able to see the connections between their content and others and be able to translate these connections to students using appropriate instructional approaches. Currently, few, if any, teacher preparation programs focus on transdisciplinary learning, making it less likely that schools will have teachers who are confident and able to teach with using STEAM pedagogy. Thus, the goal of this endorsement is to provide a pathway for teachers to effectively increase and legitimize STEAM teaching while increasing the number of students engaged in STEAM learning. Specifically, this endorsement will train teachers in practical ways to integrate content, teach productive collaboration skills, and use inquiry-based approaches to solve problems (Grossman, Wineburg, & Woolworth, 2001).