In January 2017, I became a volunteer digital leader at my university for a project called DLaB (Digital Learning Across Boundaries). The purpose of this project is to promote digital learning across the boundaries of physical spaces, across curriculum subjects and across languages and cultures, to facilitate collaborative learning across national boundaries.
As part of the 3-year project, in the 2nd year of the project we focused on STEM to STEAM, adding the Arts to the integrated study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths creating challenge-based online learning resources. I wanted to be involved in this project as I wanted to encourage more girls to get involved in STEAM as well as encourage teachers, parents and children to get more involved in STEAM too.
I took an active role in helping promote new STEAM activities as well as helped run STEAM based activities. This included coming up with some new STEAM activities to be placed on the DLaB website as well as participating in some Skype calls involving those countries involved with the project to share our ideas.
As part of the England Team, I visited Bruges in October 2017, where we worked together with teachers, students and lecturers from Norway, Denmark and Belgium to help learn new ideas of STEAM based activities as well as help plan what activities we would complete on our international collaboration days at our partnership schools to help support the making of the MOOC. As part of the experiencing team, I helped plan the experiencing space lesson which we thoroughly enjoyed coming up with ideas and were looking forward to seeing them in action.
I helped with two of our international collaboration days. The first collaboration day focused on size where I helped with a Year 5 class, making large butterflies which the pupils thoroughly enjoyed doing.
In the second international collaboration day, it was based on space, which was based on my group’s planning from Bruges. The pupils focused on how they would transport items from Earth to the new planet. They then decorated their own planets and used VR headsets to feel like they were on their very own planet which the pupils thoroughly enjoyed and shared their experiences with pupils from Belgium through Skype.
Furthermore, I helped with a STEAM event where teachers from Northamptonshire came to the university to share their ideas based on STEM/ STEAM and learn some new activities to. I helped to teach some teachers how to use drones which was good fun.
In addition, with some teachers and students from my university course, we helped at the Big Bang Event at Silverstone. We carried out a marshmallow catapult challenge which was very popular. The children in groups constructed a small catapult using marshmallows and then tried to fire the Marshmallows from the catapult into the bucket. I also ran the activity at the Girlguiding Anglia Ready 4 Take Off STEM event on the 17th March 2018 where there were around 500 leaders trying out a range of STEM activities.
Evaluating my practical project, I now have a greater understanding of what STEAM is and what activities I could carry out. I have learnt a range of STEAM based activities from a range of people and as well collaborating with people to come up with shared ideas.
I have met my aims as I have been able to spread awareness about STEAM awareness especially from feedback too. For example, when carrying out marshmallow catapult at the Girl Guiding event I received comments such as that I will definitely try this with my unit and one unit leader said that this was the best activity they tried at the event which was great to hear. Furthermore, from carrying out the activity at the Big Bang event pupils were saying how much they were enjoying it. I would like to carry on learning new STEAM activities and trying them out with a range of people.