G.A.STEM - Enhancing STEM skills through arts and mini-games

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A framework, policy recommendations and an ART and Mini-Games Course are developed as part of the G.A.STEM project to support the integration of games and arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Students within the European Union often lack mathematical competences and key basic competences in science and technology, according to the findings of various international surveys. Although Estonia and Finland rank highest in term of students’ performance, the results of the PISA survey in 2015 indicate an average drop in scientific skills among Finnish students. On the other hand, thanks to digital development and education quality, Estonian students achieved both high levels of performance and greater equity in their educational outcomes. Instead, the most critical problems of the Estonian education system are related to teachers. In 2016, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a review of educational policies in order to improve the effectiveness of the Estonian school system. This review recommended structuring consolidated school networks, promoting teachers’ and school leaders’ professionalism and making vocational education a more attractive option.

With regard to Belgium and Italy, both countries measure above or in line with the OECD’s average for students’ performance. Although their scores are generally improving, the change is very slow and difficult. In this context, the G.A.STEM project, which is primarily targeted at secondary school teachers and students from the ages of thirteen to sixteen, aims at:

  1. improving motivation towards scientific studies by using “Art-works” to support students’ development of creativity and increase their awareness of their applications in everyday life;
  2. making use of the attractiveness of art and technology, in terms of mini-game design and game assets, to improve social inclusion and gender equality;
  3. supporting vertical and horizontal skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that are useful for professional careers for both teachers and students;
  4. improving the collaborative sense among teachers and schools by exchanging experiences and best practices, focusing on the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach;
  5. enhancing the sense of community and citizenship awareness through discoveries of European cultural heritage, constituted of artworks that are produced in countries of the project’s partners.

Basic information

Country: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Italy

Coordinator: University of Turku, Finland, https://www.utu.fi/

Programme: Erasmus+

Project Acronym:

Target groups: secondary school students, teachers

Topic: Gender in STEM, Maths, Physics, Technology, Education

Start year: 2018

End year: 2021

Url: https://gastem.pixel-online.org

Contact person: Michela Tramonti, Email m.tramonti (at) eu-track.eu

Following a first analysis, the project’s partners identified several common national needs in relation to the project’s aims among the partnering countries. These common goals are the following:

  1. emphasising the attractiveness and joy of learning;
  2. improving social inclusion and gender equity in education;
  3. developing schools as learning communities that favour more interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and learning in European schools, which will lead to a better collaboration among teachers from different subjects;
  4. reinforcing school and teacher networks to share resources and best practices.

With these common national needs in mind, the project’s partners produce the following outputs:

  • O1 – A framework to integrate Art in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) through digital games;
  • O2 - ART and Mini-Games Course;
  • O3 - Outputs and recommendations on arts and mini-games in STEM education.

The project has three main outputs, as follows:

  • O1 – The project’s framework, which is meant to integrate Art in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through digital games, provides an overview of schools and what they have at their disposal to integrate Arts in STEM education through digital games.
  • O2 – The project’s ART and Mini-Games Course are composed of an educational learning environment, learning content formed as modules, e-learning objects for teacher training and an e-course produced on the basis of the results achieved from O1.
  • O3 – The project’s outputs and recommendations on arts and mini-games in STEM education include all the materials produced by students who are involved in the project and best practices developed during the project’s piloting phase. In addition, they contain the final recommendations on how to integrate Arts in STEM education by using mini-games and game settings.

The envisaged impact of this project on its two main target groups, namely secondary school teachers and students aged thirteen to sixteen, is as follows:

  • Students’ STEM skills are improved through the use of the Arts and mini-game design and development; by discovering the attractiveness of STEM and a new interest derived from the discovery of “challenges and connections” between STEM and reality through the artworks and by learning more about STEM through the valorisation of cultural heritage through promotion of art-works in each country of the project.
  • Teachers are provided with necessary skills for integrating the use of the Arts and digital games in STEM education, through multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary pedagogical tools for the development of students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, and teaching processes are improved through the valorisation of cultural heritage.

 

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