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Dept of Education award tender to MIC academics to research STEM and Arts (STEAM) education

Primary school student participating in science experiment

The Department of STEM Education at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has been awarded a tender by the Department of Education to fund research into effectively incorporating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) in early years, primary and post-primary education settings further strengthening MIC’s role as a lead educator in STEM education.

The research will identify effective approaches that contribute to all learners having access to high quality STEAM education and will draw on the expertise of leading STEM Education researchers at MIC who have demonstrated experience and have an established track record of working together to implement and disseminate STEM-related research.

The systematic literature review of the existing research on the topic which will help outline a set of effective interventions for addressing STEAM Education centre-stage. It will also glean insights into barriers and challenges, enablers, and opportunities alongside the role played by additional contributing factors such as context (formal and informal), key players (including parents, schools and communities), and policy development. It is intended the systematic review of the literature will provide a crucial evidence base to inform policy development and the direction of STEAM Education in Ireland.

Welcoming the awarding of the tender was the Head of the Department of STEM Education at MIC, Dr Aisling Leavy, who said: “A key priority in education internationally is to increase knowledge and competence in STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects, thereby fostering and creativity, disciplinary knowledge and innovation. Faculty at the Department of STEM Education have a considerable track record in research and innovation in STEM education. This tender provides us with the opportunity to investigate authentic and meaningful collaborations across the Arts and STEM education through identification and analysis of international best practices in STEAM education”

The research team consists of Claire Carroll, Dr Ed Corry, Michelle Fitzpatrick, Dr Miriam Hamilton, Dr Mairéad Hourigan, Dr Aisling Leavy, Rory McGann, Dr Anne O’Dwyer from the Department of STEM Education and Gary LaCumber at MIC Library. The research group are supported by an advisory team of experts in Arts Education and research efficacy and measurement – including Anne Marie Morrin, Dr Gwen Moore (both from MIC), Dr Sercan Sahin (TÚS) and Dr Finbarr Sloane (National Science Foundation, USA).

Members of the Department of STEM Education have been partners in funded research projects exploring STEAM Education in Ireland and Europe. Their current work as part of an Erasmus+ STEAMing research project focusing on STEAM Education and learning, combined with recently completed research and scholarship in STEM-related areas, has resulted in a range of multi-authored publications across the STEM and STEAM Education spectrum. Members of the department also contribute to a wide variety of outreach STEM outreach initiatives. Further information on these activities may be viewed here.