School education is going through a paradigm shift with STEAM education
The Indian education system, catering to the largest population of youth in the world, is currently at the most significant stage of development, with a vast potential and a crucial task at hand.
The Indian education system, catering to the largest population of youth in the world, is currently at the most significant stage of development, with a vast potential and a crucial task at hand. This is also the time when Education sector became most funded industry as per the recent survey, where startups are bringing in new age education for the ‘Gen-Z’ in form of app-based learning, smart classes, introduction of robotics, AI, IOT, VR, AR, Laser and 3D printing and various other forms of learning.
But one void which still remains is the pedagogy to teach/educate this content to our new generation, who’s attention span is in seconds. We are still ignoring the fact that our existing classrooms are not equipped to handle millennials, where they spending most of their active time. The introduction of various tech platforms resulted in creating a parallel ecosystem which provides personalised, on-demand, self-assisted learning to our kids, making our classrooms redundant.
Schools are finding it challenging to keep up with the expectations of our ‘Gen-Z’ and already started drifting towards their need of a fresh, intuitive, discovery based, challenging education environment which has created inroads for STEAM education or experiential learning to our new age classrooms.
STEAM education is basically an experiential form of learning which is focused towards building skills in children and provide deep concept understanding. STEAM is an amalgamation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – where two or more (all) subjects taught together which leads to a concept understanding.
Focus on skill-based education
STEAM education build skills but also challenge students in every form of life. Students learn to build things which they can relate with real life and hence its gaining tractions. STEAM covers life-skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving as core and helps in overall development of child.
STEAM based concepts are supported with an activity which works with natural curiosity of child and help them create their personalised learning curve. STEAM doesn’t focus on building knowledge only but also on skills which remains for lifetime. These skills prepare children for future which we can’t predict today.
Interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary
Most popular misconception with STEAM or experiential learning is, only IB or Cambridge curriculum supports it and doesn’t fit with Indian education boards. Though Indian boards are well knit with traditional curriculum but STEAM methodologies can be well integrated with any Indian board.
STEAM educations work on inter and trans disciplinary and can be applied as an umbrella methodology over (on top of) any board. i.e., any subject can be integrated with a respective topic and outcomes can be plugged as input to another subject resulting inquiry-based learning, which leads to interdisciplinary approach. In similar way, any curriculum can be set as nucleus and learning outcomes are created across the program for trans-disciplinary approach.
Schools today are looking at in-classroom innovations in form of STEAM lab setups or AI based curriculum integrated with STEAM education as in-curriculum program to enhance classroom experience.
Teachers Vs Educators
Most important role in STEAM education is of educators as they become architects of experiential learning in classroom. In STEAM education, educator join hands with students and enable them rather becoming source of knowledge. Educators work together to build critical thinking towards a problem and define learning outcomes.
Unlike teachers, educators are alleviating themselves by moving away from traditional education trap and focusing on informal, open, creative learning approach with experiential learning in classrooms. Young teachers are the real flag bearers especially when it comes to bringing innovation inside classroom.
Innovation as evaluation parameter
Biggest advantage of adopting STEAM or experiential learning methodology is that evaluation process becomes transparent and it takes child into process of self-discovery. STEAM enables children to build solutions with tangible outcomes. Robotics, artificial intelligence, coding, laser and 3D printers and various other tech solutions are at disposal of children which help them create, innovate and implement. Hence, students learn from their own innovations rather than set of instructions.
STEAM education is putting foundation to strong innovation culture in India which will lead us to become an innovation hub and put forth our offerings to world as creators than followers.
In essence, the future will belong to the ones who are ready to accept change and adapt technology like new rules of the game. It is estimated that the future of global economy will be led by the Industrial 4.0 revolution, which will be driven by more than 20% new job opportunities in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 3D printing, Digital marketing, Cyber Security Specialists so on and so forth. These careers were not heard by most of the 19th Century and 20th Century educators. Hence, there is a dire need for quick change in the education sector with a curriculum revamping from Elementary Education to Higher Education. The introduction of STEAM education domain will be a beginning of new era making all of us look at learning and exploring things a distinct way.
(Author Amit Verma is Director and CEO, Makebot. Views expressed here are personal.)