STE(A)M approach: Distinguishing and discussing meanings

Citation:
Teixieira, P., C. Martins, and H. Rocha STE(A)M approach: Distinguishing and discussing meanings. EduLearn. Spain: IATED, 2022.

Abstract:

The STE(A)M approach has been recognized by several authors for its potential in assisting teaching and learning, and several curriculum standards already value its application in the classroom. This approach is based on the articulation between different areas, the clarification, and the deepening of the concepts being studied. Although there are different approaches, according to the fields involved, STEM and STEAM are two among the most often mentioned in the literature. STEM is based on learning that integrates the following areas of knowledge: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The conceptualization of the STE(A)M approach is not consensual and uniform. There are different models focusing on problem-solving based learning, project-based-learning, design-based learning, and engineering models. Still, different authors present different conceptualizations of this approach. In this paper, we relied on the existing literature to discuss the different understandings of the STE(A)M approach. We will also pay attention to mathematics and how different authors see the disciplines’ role within a STE(A)M approach and discuss the evolution of the mentioned authors’ positions throughout time. Thus, methodologically, we undertook the following steps: (i) literature search based on the selected keywords; (ii) selection of the texts, considering the authors and time gap, in order to analyze the evolution of the research and (iii) collection and organization of the relevant topics for the study. This study aims to present the meanings, conceptualizations, and possible influences present in different models and for understand the evolution of the STEM and STEAM approaches over time. The main findings suggest a focus on the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach as opposed to the primeval years of investigations in STEM and STEAM when many authors advocated a multidisciplinary approach. This change in thinking is due to the need to train students in an integral and holistic manner, developing citizens with transversal knowledge and skills prepared for the current societal challenges.

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