The STEAM-Active (Project Number: 2021-1-ES01-KA220-HED-000032107) project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

A Theoretical Framework for Developing an Intercultural STEAM Program for Australian and Korean Students to Enhance Science Teaching and Learning

Partners' Institution
University of Peloponnese
Year of publication
Educational stage
Secondary Level
Journal name
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education (2019) 17:1251–1266
Thematic Area
STEAM intervention (teaching strategies, evaluation...)
Recently, pedagogical approaches have focused on creating arts-integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or STEAM classes, which have drawn attention to the importance of the arts in science education. Despite increasing development and implementation of STEAM initiatives in science, there is limited discussion on the theoretical foundations, which could provide sound guidelines for science educators and teachers in planning and teaching STEAM curricula. In this paper, we set out the theoretical framework that explains and justifies integration of the arts and socio-cultural interaction into science teaching and learning. We explain in some detail the component theoretical elements and describe how these elements translate into teaching/learning practices in STEAM lessons. We conclude by re-emphasising the application of theoretical frameworks for the design of teaching/learning practices in an inter- cultural STEAM program.
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
The major theory underpinning the STEAM program in this paper is social constructivism, which views learning as cognitive development and collective knowledge construction resulting from collaboration and interaction between learners and between learners and their environment.
The 5E instructional model is a learning cycle approach that guides students through these learning activities: engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.
The 5E instructional model helps to facilitate inquiry practices in inquiry-based teaching, ‘because learning cycles focus on constructivist principles and emphasize the explanation and investigation of phenomena, and the use of evidence to back up conclusions.
The STEAM project employed digital tech- nology to facilitate the sharing of students’ socially constructed knowledge (constructed through discussion with peers and teacher) and their conceptual understanding of the science they were learning. Two applications, Voice Thread and Padlet, were used to create a digital space for collaborative learning and to further joint knowledge construction.
Point of Strength
The significance of presenting the theoretical framework in this paper is to provide a possible point of reference for other science educators who wish to design a STEAM curriculum. The difference between the theoretical framework in this paper and that in other works described above is that while other frameworks for STEAM tend to be broad with limited direction for teachers, this paper explains in some detail the component theoretical elements and describes how these elements translate into teaching/learning practices in STEAM lessons.
Arts-integratedSTEM, STEAMeducation, Conceptualunderstanding, Intercultural STEAM program
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