:sync: New, Used and Remixed: Assembling Interdisciplinary High School (Secondary) STEAM OER

Authors: Constance Blomgren, Stella George, James Greenwood-Lee, Brad Skeet
Institution: Athabasca University
Country: Canada

Topic: Connecting Open Education to Primary and Secondary (K-12) Education
Sector: K-12
UNESCO Area of Focus: Building capacity
Session Format: Panel


In this panel, we will describe our interdisciplinary STEAM OER project and highlight the challenges faced so far. The Form and Function(s): A Sustainable Design meets Computation OER Sprint project brings together insights from high school Biology, Math, Art, and Computing. Using an integrated STEAM approach, the OER materials will introduce students to the notion of form and function in sustainable design from different perspectives. The final resources will have flexibility as mini-lessons or could be all taught as a short interdisciplinary unit. We ultimately aim for students to recognize that computational thinking does not necessarily equate to mathematics and computing; rather, mathematics and computing are tools that facilitate computational thinking. When Architecture, the Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing intermingle something beautiful and purposeful occurs. Students are challenged to think computationally by considering the notion of “design” through three perspectives on form and function. Through the first perspective, we challenge students to consider a structure’s architectural form in the context of its function within the ecology in which it belongs. A second perspective on form and function is provided by way of the natural sciences, where students explore nature’s designs, which are created through natural selection. Finally, form and function is further abstracted through a mathematical and computational perspective that focuses on how natural selection can be emulated through modelling and coding. The journey comes full circle, and the three perspectives coalesce, when students engage in a hack-a-thon in which they model and code evolutionary algorithms to design a better building. Our interdisciplinary team’s draft OER will be co-designed by high school teachers, asynchronously and online, in tandem with disciplinary content from Athabasca University faculty. These materials will be provided to participants of an OER Sprint, who are then challenged to refine and further co-design learning materials to teach computational thinking through three perspectives on “design”. Pre-service and in-service high school teachers are invited to participate in the online and synchronous OER Sprint. The Sprint provides professional learning: (1) through innovative, experiential understanding of both STEAM principles and the pedagogical aspects of collaborating to apply the 5Rs of OER; and (2) around Design Inquiries and Hack-a-thon activities. In addition to supporting the Alberta curriculum, these open resources support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 11 ( Sustainable cities and communities), and Goal 13 ( Climate Action). By using the platform of OER Commons, an OER digital library, the ability to share with other educators beyond Alberta becomes possible. The panel members represent the interdisciplinary perspectives of this project. In addition to describing the co-design processes, we will discuss the various challenges faced by applying reuse, revisions, and remixing. References Hegarty, B. (2015). Attributes of open pedagogy: A model for using open educational resources. Educational Technology, 3-13. Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Broadway Business.


STEAM, interdisciplinary pedagogy, open educational practices, K-12, Higher education

Hello Connie, Stella, James, & Brad,

My name is Kristina Ishmael and I’ll be your session facilitator.

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Hello all - thank you for your interest in our presentation. This powerpoint is CC BY so you may reuse/revise/remix as you see fit. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1c8K3xsTMM0kN8EttnJLPva4-1Vwr78llWFW1cOGA17A/edit?usp=sharing

Here is a short description of the project: http://bolt.athabascau.ca/index.php/oer-projects/sustainable_computation/

And a link to our funder Callysto https://callysto.ca/

If you have any questions, please send us an email - the contact information for the 5 of us are on slides 4 and 5.

Thanks for your interest!
James, Stella, Lilianna, Brad, and Connie

I am currently attending your session - great (re)thinking (mindset shift?) related to math learning and teaching - lovely!

Session recording: