Why PBL & STEAM Education Must Go Together


Why PBL & STEAM Education Must Go Together

“Tell Me And I Forget. Teach Me And I Remember. Involve Me And I Learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

If you are an avid reader and religiously follow edtech blogs you must have come across this quote a lot of times. This famous quote by the American Enlightenment Figure goes in sync with the education scenarios. Educators and students agree that involvement proceeds to excellence. Students who are involved in their academics and learn with hands on practices experience their education and the real learning happens when we experience. PBL commonly known as Project Based Learning or Problem Based Learning focuses on this important aspect of learning that emphasizes on the approach of teaching students by giving them the real life experience. PBL inculcates the following features which makes it a must go to approach for the STEAM education. 

- Focuses on open ended questions or task.

- Provides authentic applications of content and skills.

- Build 21st century competencies known as 4Cs.

- Are longer and more multifaceted than traditional lessons or assignments.

STEAM Education that covers Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics is a natural fit for the pedagogy of Project Based Learning as per to the nature of these disciplines. To acquire the best knowledge and understanding of these subjects it is important that students experience these subjects with hands on training. STEAM education is not just limited to the content but extends to the process of being scientists, mathematicians, engineers, artists, and technological entrepreneurs.

Here are some points that I took from my research that would help you understand this perfect combination:

1. The emphasize of PBL is to how-to-do and not to just know. PBL and STEAM education both are process based as their standards are problem, inquiry and process based. The idea is that if a student can find the answer to a particular problem over web it is not PBL. The approach of project based learning requires the creative and design processes which are naturally used in the arts. PBL seems to be just a step away from teaching to the test.  

2. Let standards be your guide. Just as in arts integration, where standards must be naturally and authentically aligned to focus learning, standards drive the problem in PBL. While process is part of the “big problem,” content is what provides a specific focus. PBL should be assessed on both process and content.

3. One thing that is important when talking of PBL and STEAM together is the role of an educator. It is important for students to take ownership of their learning as the more educators will resolve the problem for student the more lack of interest would be reflected from the students. This means that teachers have to be willing to teach outside of their content specialization when needed. STEAM teachers don’t have to be artists to infuse the arts into an engineering PBL.  

4. Intersecting the arts and PBL can be a natural fit. Whether it’s implementing a PBL scenario in the arts classroom or using the arts in a general education classroom, integrating PBL doesn’t have to be a challenge. The connections should be natural. Arts integration strategies can be utilized in a classroom operating on PBL strategies. However, the arts themselves might be at the heart of the problem.

This video below would clear the hues for the educators:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sJxxdQox7n0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Additional Resources:

PBL + STEM = A Winning Combination

PBL and STEAM Education: A Natural Fit

STEM, STEAM, Makers: Connecting Project Based Learning (PBL)

STEAM + Project-Based Learning: Real Solutions From Driving Questions

Share your perspectives on the same with us in the comment section below. 

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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