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ARCHI - STEAM: Greening the Skills of Architecture Students via STEAM Education

11 - Sustainable cities and communities; Teaching Projects; 2016; 2017; 2018

lndividuals of 21st century experiences two extremes at the same time: exponentially increasing use of ICT and rapidly changing technologies, and exponentially increasing social, economic and environmental problems. Hence in order to survive in this new era, people should be furnished with new skills and education systems should be revised to help people to cope with all these changes.

This project aims to develop a core curriculum based on STEAM education in architectural design schools to foster the students with digital and green skills. In the age of ICT, digital skills, which are closely related with being digital-literate, are accepted as the must for everyone. These skills should be broadening up to enhance the learning and problem solving skills of the individuals. In relation with digital skills, green skills, which are described as the skills for green economies, sustainable environments and to help individuals to sustain their professions enable them to cope with new challenges of their practices should be the subject matter of the curricula. ln that sense, schools of architecture and architecture design education in its nature explicitly but mostly implicitly based on STEAM approach. Since architecture as a practice is usually carried on rather individually than as a corporate, and thus to sustain such a profession requires adaptation, self-learning, self-problem-solving in order to sustain the practice.

Both digital and green skills require a holistic way of education. In this context STEAM is a very promising education approach. STEM and STEAM are mostly discussed in K-12 education and several projects have been proposed, but STEAM approach in architectural design education will be a new and inspiring example. Another important aspect of the project is the STEAM approach targeting higher education will have a direct impact on the practice, since skills gained in this level will be remembered by the learners more easily and the knowledge gained will be more up to date compared with K-12 education. lt is also important to point out that the age group of university students (above 16) requires andragogic approach for which learning by problem  solving is one of the core concepts. Hence, integration of STEAM in higher education in general will contribute to enhance learning and problem solving skills of these students as well as aimed in the present project.

This project targets STEAM education in schools of architecture. However, the core STEAM approach and digital and green skills should be generic for all the learners since ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable green societies for which individuals can aIso be able to sustain their life and their profession. Therefore, in developing the STEAM curriculum for architectural schools, understanding the differences/similarities among educational backgrounds and approaches in different countries is crucial. This understanding  will aIso help to develop a generic framework of STEAM in higher education level. Thus, the partners of the present project; architectural schools of Middle East Technical University, University of Aalborg, University of Bologna; represents such diversity both in education and society. The proposed STEAM approach is to be developed in collaboration with all the partners and applied to core groups in these universities through workshops in order to assess the impact and the method.

In the course of the project, a curriculum based on STEAM approach in the schools of architecture is to be developed aiming to help learners enhancing their digital and green skills as well as to improve self-learning and problem solving capabilities which are essential individual skills in achieving the common goal of sustainable economies and societies.

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