As more aspects of daily life are tied to technology, the need to improve and expand STEAM education across the curriculum will only get more pressing. Without enough STEAM educators, students can’t get access to the types of STEAM opportunities that are likely to encourage long-term interest and passion in these fields and beyond. As more aspects of daily life are tied to technology-based sySTEAMs, the need to improve and expand STEAM education is considered key to maintain a competitive edge in the 21st century. With more emphasis on STEAM education, a meaningful STEAM curriculum is often introduced to the youngest students, beginning at the preschool level. Research confirms that exposing students to STEAM experiences at a young age encourages critical thinking skills, increases science literacy, and fosters creative problem solving.
These experiences can help establish a long-term passion for STEAM subjects, as well as general academic success across all disciplines. Unfortunately, due to the rapid developments experienced, the vast majority of teachers and especially pre-primary teachers feel illiterate in modern science and technology because they cannot keep up with the current trends of ICT. Research made shows that STEM support should start early: children in disadvantaged circumstances, especially, start elementary school lacking the foundation for that success.
The project idea derived following a small-scale needs assessment was carried out in the form of a survey (link to Google form) where a number of teachers in primary education participated. The study investigated the needs of the target groups with regards to skills development and innovative solutions in their field. The analysis revealed the challenges teachers are facing in introducing STEAM or Robotics in their lessons due to the lack of knowledge and technological fear of the new technologies in education. In addition, respondents revealed their interest in being introduced to STEAM teaching and how they can apply educational robotics in their lessons, obtain expertise on the topic and enhance their educational methodologies since they recognised the importance of lifelong learning and constant professional development.
In this framework, the project aims at the Development of Knowledge, Skills and Key Competences of STEAM and Educational Robotics of Teachers in PrePrimary Education (STEAMERs). Through the project teachers will develop the skills and competences required in carrying out STEM-related tasks which include cognitive, manipulative, technological skills and collaboration and communication skills.