DECISION MAKING PROCESSES OF THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIONS IN OPENING MAKERS’ SPACES, LABS, AND STUDIOS
Istanbul University (TURKEY)
Most of the schools administrations have tried to adopt their curricula and their extracurricular activities to adapt the technology and innovation based developments. Therefore, while the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Education are becoming very popular, the school administration have tried to find proper spaces to make teach and learn. It is no doubt that proper makers’ spaces can create perfect ecosystems where active teaching and learning can be accelerated perfectly. However, most of the school administrations do not know clearly how they can open these places. Since opening such places is expensive and needs intensive and well-rounded knowledge, the decision-making processes of the school administrations are becoming important to invest strategically.
In this research, the decision-making processes of the school administrations in three different high schools had critically analyzed by conducting an ethnographic research. The participants (n=31) were the principals (n=3), the vice principals (n=2), the science teachers (n=17), the arts teachers (n=4), the head of the curriculum developers (n=2), and the teachers (n=3) who are responsible about the extracurricular activities. By attending meetings, observing the decisions related to the makers’ spaces and by asking 12 open-ended questions, the data collected, selected, clustered and, analyzed by using Atlas.ti 7.
As the results had critically showed that the participants’ decision-making processes were really low (%28) in opening makers’ spaces. More importantly, most of the participants (97%) agreed that they could not find enough deep knowledge related to these spaces. They (89%) clearly mentioned that these spaces were different than the spaces that they had. Only few of them (12%) had seen similar spaces. They (78%) had huge weaknesses in the development of the curricula and extracurricular activities to accelerate and explore STEAM education. As some of them (46%) clarified that their students knew much better than them.
The participants (100%) clearly mentioned their needs in opening makers’ spaces, labs, and studios. First of all, they needed governmental policies to support them educationally and financially. They asked the optimum tools, machines, and other devices and gadgets together with the layout. They needed the advanced level curricula and extracurricular activities first to sustain and then to accelerate the STEAM education. They needed to cooperate with local governments, NGOs related to these fields, and the parents to empower their decision-making processes.
As the 80% of workforce would be in STEAM fields after 2020s, the schools administration should play important roles in accelerating the STEAM education. For STEAM education, the correct and proper spaces, labs, arts studios are needed. Therefore, the school administrations’ roles should be improved in those aspects to invest properly in terms of spaces and even human capital.