University of Jaén (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 9954-9959
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.2496
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Education has been gaining attention in the last years as an intent to promote a more meaningful, interdisciplinary, functional and transferable knowledge by linking learning to the solution of problems in rich and authentic contexts. This approach supports the development of transversal skills and competences and provides good opportunities to apprehend the ways of thinking and doing of scientists and engineers, better preparing students to face challenges in a highly technological and rapidly changing world.

In this work we support a STEM education model that builds on previous widely accepted approaches such as inquiry-based learning, situated learning and context-based education to better respond to 21 century educational demands.

The use of realistic contexts brings a sense of meaning and purpose to the learning taking place, increasing students’ motivation and engagement. This feature along with the use of open-ended tasks allow multiple strategies and solutions, better adapting to different learning styles and attainment levels. Subsequently, this model offers powerful opportunities to address diversity in the classroom.

After the implementation of a specific teacher professional development course intended at supporting teachers in the enactment of the model, we looked at how participant teachers used the key features of the model to address diversity in the classroom.

A multiple case study methodology involving a purposeful sample of three teachers (two males and a female) was used to address the research question. Data came from the analysis of lesson studies, classroom observations, students’ questionnaires and teachers’ interviews. The validity and reliability of the study was supported by the triangulation of information and the involvement of different researchers in the interpretation of results.

Results showed three rich pictures of how teachers may design, articulate and modulate learning environments based on the use of relevant contexts for STEM education. The scenarios developed by teachers engaged students in inquiry about various topics (robots, bees and geometry and how to make a playful slime).

Differences in the way teachers enact the model and understand students’ centred tasks came up after the discussion of the three case studies, supporting interesting reflections on the use of STEM education contexts and the role of the teacher in an inquiry classroom.
STEM Education, Context-Based Education, Inquiry-Based Education, Case Studies, Teacher Professional Development.