Saddiqui, S & Marcus, M 2017, 'STEAMpunk girls co-design: Exploring a more integrated approach to STEM engagement for young women', Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, AAEE, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1175-1184.
Context: The call to increase the capacity of Australia's STEM workforce has resulted in a spotlight on the comparably fewer number of women working in STEM. One strategy to address this lack of representation is an integrated, 'STEAM' approach to teaching and learning STEM. STEAM education recognises the role of arts/humanities and the potential utility of a more creative mindset, applied to learning and teaching STEM. Whilst STEAM is still a relatively new pedagogical approach, research suggests positive outcomes whereby young people can develop innovative and transdisciplinary skillsets that can enhance their employment prospects in disciplines such as engineering.
Purpose: The STEAMpunk Girls Co-Design program aims to determine if an integrated approach to education across the science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) fields, can promote stronger engagement and a sense of empowerment, confidence and agency among young women in terms of their willingness to pursue STEM study and careers.
Approach: A 10-day program was conducted in November 2016, involved 26 girls (aged 15-16 years) from three Sydney high schools. Students were enlisted to design a STEAM-based educational pilot for their peers. Longitudinal data was collected from online pre- and postprogram surveys.
Results: Findings reveal a unique, female perspective that can utilised to improve STEM engagement programs for their peers (particularly if such programs seek to integrate the arts, humanities and social sciences as a means of increasing interest, engagement and retention in STEM). Students reported improvements in their understanding of the types of work people undertake in science, technology, engineering, and arts industries, as well as the variety of cross-disciplinary skills needed to work in STEM industries. Co-design proved to be a fitting methodological framework for the participants to experience a safe and supportive environment to experiment and trial their ideas. P...