EDF5774 Building STEM Learning Communities in Early Childhood

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Three case studies: Please choose ONE for AT1 response.

Case study 1: Planning for STEAM in a suburban setting

Mary, a kindergarten teacher works in a suburban preschool that is affiliated with a neighbouring primary school. She is very excited by the prospect of working in a kindergarten but is somewhat daunted to find that she is expected to teach STEAM to young children.

What are the implications for planning for STEAM education in a kindergarten setting? Think about this in terms of teacher STEAM attitudes, beliefs and confidence for implementing STEAM education. Where would you begin the planning process?

Case study 2: STEAM and teacher self-efficacy

Self-efficacy beliefs that relate to teachers’ motivation and performance have been an important area of concern for STEAM teacher education. Research suggests high-quality STEAM coursework has the potential to shape teachers’ STEAM self-efficacy beliefs. However, there are few studies examining the relationship between teachers’ STEAM self-efficacy beliefs and the interdisciplinary content knowledge in STEAM teaching/learning. Joanna, a recently graduated kindergarten teacher struggles with shifting her ‘new’ STEAM teacher self-image and seeks new sources to develop her new levels of confidence to teach STEAM.

What are the implications for her to build on her STEAM teaching/learning practices in her role as a kindergarten teacher? Think about this in terms of teacher self-efficacy and confidence in interdisciplinary STEAM content knowledge for implementing STEAM education.

Case study 3: Dilemmas around using digital tools in STEAM education

The use of digital tools in early childhood practices will probably continue to be a topic of concern in the years to come. While digital tools have potential in their use for STEAM conceptual development in early childhood, it is not evident that they are the prime resource for learning in preschools. They are nonetheless tools amongst others to use with children’s developing knowledge in a contemporary preschool. Jane, an early career kindergarten teacher struggles to create meaningful STEAM activities that involve the development of children’s digital competency.

Reflect upon this dilemma and frame your response to this case example. How can STEAM learning might be organised in a preschool context encompassing both physical and digital tools? Examine the complexities of using digital tools to support STEAM learning in the early education environment.

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