The Let's STEAM project has been launched in September 2019 with the ambition of creating a whole training programme dedicated to teachers and educators enabling them to acquire the needed skills to create engaging, creative and inclusive learning activities based on programming boards. To achieve this goal, a first outcome running from September 2019 to June 2020 has been dedicated to understanding the needs of the teachers and translating them into pedagogical choices for our training programme. The results of this first phase are already available on our project website here and have been presented in our previous yearly newsletter available here.
From this pre-assessment, the partners have been able to make clear choices on the training programme objectives and structuring resulting nowadays in the publication of our complete coursebook. This coursebook forms part of the Intellectual Output #2 "Dedicated raw learning contents for implementation on diverse learning tools & assessment". The main goal of the training materials is to raise the interest and understanding of all the teachers, independently from their background and technical expertise and appetence, regarding the creation of new content and activities using programming boards and coding practices in a creative way.
Discover hereunder the different contents you can find in our coursebook:
GET FAMILIAR WITH THE LET'S STEAM CONCEPTS AND APPROACHES
The first part of the coursebook developed by the partners aims at providing the readers/teachers with the needed basic knowledge enabling them to understand, replicate and transfer the Let's STEAM approach in the classroom. This approach is based on the following triptych addressing concepts being highly interconnected:
How to create inquiry-based activities for bringing meaningful and interdisciplinary content in technology-enhanced education to the students? A dedicated chapter "Deepening your knowledge and use of the inquiry-based approach" is focusing on pedagogical choices and the integration of programming learning platforms and boards in STEAM topics learning activities. The objective behind this chapter is to enable the teachers to understand the steps of the inquiry approach to replicate it in the framework of technology-enhanced activities. This chapter will be completed by a set of additional resources, enabling the teachers to develop their own teaching materials related to implementing programming-based activities in the classroom and to inspire them in the construction of these contents thanks to a set of exampled projects.
How to create inclusive activities to ensure the motivation and interest of all students and promote content that is beyond stereotypes? The second chapter "Reflecting on inclusiveness and equity while conceiving a technology-enhanced activity" will enable the teachers to reflect on the teaching materials designed and adapt them to their students’ needs to encourage thoughts and insights on inclusion, ethics and security issues.
How to develop the feeling of mastering programming practices both for teachers - feeling more comfortable in launching larger scale and interdisciplinary projects using coding as a powerful tool - and for their students - understanding better how programming is actually a great mean to approach societal challenges in a more advanced way? Eventually, a whole chapter "Basics of programming - Software and Hardware" will focus on introducing the teachers to the MakeCode editor and the STM32 board. It aims at familiarising the trainees with programming learning platforms specifically on MakeCode, being an interesting platform as it enables to approach both block programming and other languages such as Python, and to the board STM32 Discovery, which has been chosen for its high capacity and embedded set of sensors, enabling to bring the inquiry projects to the next level of interest, creativity and complexity.
KNOWLEDGE APPLICATION - ACTIVITY SHEETS & TEMPLATES
Once the teachers will be familiarised with the three concepts that are forming the core of the Let's STEAM approach, two sets of activity sheets have been developed that can be used for training purposes and can be directly implemented within the classrooms:
The first set of activity sheets "Documentary resources: programming easily thanks to Let's STEAM activity sheets" will enable the teachers and students to get familiarised with programming and sensors' usages. Through 15 different small projects, they can approach various functions and board components (e.g. sensors) to discover their potential based on practical and very specific practices (such as breadboarding, making a LED blink, creating a readable thermometer with the embedded sensor and a basic screen). Discover our 15 activity sheets hereunder and click on them to learn more:
The second set of activity sheets "Documentary resources: inclusiveness and equity" will enable the teachers to work on transforming their technology-enhanced activities into inclusive projects. Today’s technologies, apart from having many educational and learning benefits, present some new security and ethical challenges, which might be necessary to consider. As Let’s STEAM activities will be implemented in very different educational contexts, it becomes necessary to appropriately reflect on how these implementations will be carried out. We argue that this reflection should be done in terms of promoting the engagement of all students and, therefore, ensuring inclusive STEAM teaching and learning practices, tailored to trainees' educational contexts and needs. Discover our 4 activity sheets hereunder and click on them to learn more:
To implement the activity sheets presented hereunder, you will be able to find at the end of the coursebook a list of 8 projects' ideas that you can get inspired from, use, develop or modify with your students or for yourself. Each project is rapidly presented following the proposed steps in the inquiry-based methodology. In addition, a full project is proposed, available in this newsletter as inspiration. Discover our 8 project ideas and click on them to learn more:
Idea #1: How to make the invisible visible? Reproduce the natural environment of frogs and ensure their survival.
Idea #2: Preserving Biodiversity. Can you monitor the number of plant species in your neighbourhood? Explore the streets and parks in your local area to learn more about the ecosystem and use technology to facilitate this process! Use the STM32 to register the plants found!
Idea #3: Climate control in the classroom. It's too warm in the classroom. When students are in, they know they have to close the blinds but during the break, the classroom gets really warm.
Idea #4: Building a cosy classroom. Identify that we need a particular intensity of light for doing a particular activity not only to make us feel better doing the activity.
Idea #5 Your ideal (and sustainable) home. Dream about where do you would like to leave, how your ideal home would be and how this ideal home could be more sustainable.
Idea #6: Washing hands. We need to make sure kids are washing their hands when coming back from the schoolyard. While new routines have been implemented to make sure all kids wash their hands, we are not sure they are washing them well enough.
Idea #7: Reasonable heating consumption. Identifying the optimal usage time and position of the heating devices for electricity economising.
Idea #8: Music: Can you play what you hear? Have you ever wished you could play a piano song just by listening to it?
INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING - IBL - TEMPLATE
To implement all of the activities presented hereabove in the most effective way, the Let's STEAM partners have produced a final asset through the project through a replicable, open and directly usable template "Documentary resources: replicate IBL in your classroom thanks to the Let’s STEAM resources" enabling the teachers to construct their own training pathway, using the Let's STEAM resources. This template is divided into 3 parts i.e. how to collect data, how to show these data and how to analyse them to learn from the experimentation.
Our commitment behind the production of this template is to support our audience in a larger way than providing only hints on technical project implementation. We are fully aware that it is not always obvious to exemplify a pedagogical concept or topic based on programming practices, especially for beginners regarding the use of microcontrollers and boards. This should not block the users and readers from going further in the development of meaningful coding activities, and this is why we made a clear pedagogical commitment on our side to support the uptake of our project content.
In this newsletter, we propose you to discover our open template and the deployment of the "How to make visible the invisible" project.
REVIEW AND CONTRIBUTE
The Let's STEAM coursebook is nowadays available for every person that is interested in getting involved in the training programme. Discover it here and get involved with us through one of the Let's STEAM sessions to be organised physically in one of the partner countries: Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium or online through our e-learning platform.
This coursebook has been made with the best quality possible and a true will to participate in the emergence of amazing content in the field of programming. Though, we are only humans! Should you discover mistakes or corrections to be made, do not hesitate to get in touch with us! We will make sure you get rewarded and credited for your help!