The STEAM Standard
Why is it important to attain STEAM Certification? The answer is that while the basic ideas undergirding the STEAM movement are fairly simple, implementing them is often anything but. Reams of research exists to test and reexamine the specific approaches to general concepts like project-based learning that data shows will yield optimal results. SIRI is dedicated to making sure that our teachers, member schools, and workshop leaders constantly keep up with the kind of cutting-edge research will allow them to consistently retool their routines.
The implementation of STEAM concepts can occasionally be counterintuitive. Take the utilization of technology in the classroom as an example. Contrary to popular belief, operating a STEAM classroom does not just mean handing out iPads to teenagers and digitizing worksheets; it calls for upending the way classroom time is allotted. Typically, the western classroom has been defined by a single activity: the lecture. The teacher presents the material as students take notes and attempt to absorb it; the experience is not interactive and leaves scant time for teacher interaction.
Practice has traditionally been relegated to unstructured homework time when students are often discouraged by the inability to overcome roadblocks that could be cleared up quickly with guidance. Instead, new best practices allow the leaders of academic disciplines to craft up-to-date lectures and put them in videos to watch at home, leaving the teacher to spend class time focusing on students’ information retention and practical skill set. 3-D printers have likewise revolutionized the possibilities of project-based instruction, allowing the children essentially to build plastic models of anything their minds can envision. The internet also offers the advantage of near instantaneous feedback, allowing teachers to know efficiently just where the student is going wrong. Using this system, teachers come to retain more time for the student interaction that is the reason so many entered the field in the first place. The need to keep up with technology also encourages teachers to constantly retool their curriculum, reducing the natural temptation to revert to a staid routine, and linking them to best practices developed by their peers around the world.