Insights from the implementation of the course “Development of an interdisciplinary STEM project via PBL approach” in an 'Integrative STEM Education' M.Ed. program
Keywords:STEM education, problem solving, PBL, Teacher Professional Development, Design thinking
The paper explores the implementation of the problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogical approach in an academic course titled "Development of an Interdisciplinary STEM Project via PBL Approach." This course is one of the key courses in the master's in education (M.Ed.) degree on integrative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education running at Beit Berl College, Israel. The M.Ed. program aimed to train educators to design and implement interdisciplinary STEM curricula in schools and other educational settings. The program's main goals are to expand and enrich the teachers' understanding of the different STEM-based fields, to introduce them to new integrative fields implemented in industry and academia, and to provide them with the necessary foundations for implementing integrative STEM education using cutting-edge teaching and learning methods. The course is 6 ECTS credits and runs for two semesters. The course objective is to provide students with hands-on experience in the development of a STEM project within the incubator environment of the curriculum. In the course, the students work in a multidisciplinary team, and identify a problem relevant to society with awareness of sustainability, for which they develop a solution as a product. The students plan their path to solving the problem, investigate and find information to support the process, plan their timetable, and determine the criteria for assessing the product and their learning process. The course is co-taught by three lecturers from three different disciplines: environmental sciences, computer science, and technology. Each lecturer contributes to the learning process from her specific field of knowledge, from their different educational backgrounds, and their vast academic experience. The paper analyses the course implementation through the lens of PBL via student and faculty reflections, aiming to evaluate the learning process and address the challenges to improve the course.
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