Heat Up The Steam!

Heat Up The Steam!

Heat Up The Steam!


Dr. Kristóf Fenyvesi (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Dr. Zsolt Lavicza (Johannes Kepler University, Austria) & Ho Gul Park (4Dframe, Korea)

The school that is built upon the dogmatic segmentation of knowledge and the pedagogy of highly hierarchical and strictly fixed roles is less effective today. By now, multimodal flexibility that integrates several variables of the learning process has become an indispensable precondition for meeting the ever-increasing and wide-ranging demands that education has to face today. Traditional models of accumulating knowledge through direct teaching are being replaced by networked models of learning. The development of collaborative problem-solving skills and enabling students to discover unexpected connections between different aspects of various phenomena are not only effective tools, but also ambitious goals of today’s education.

In the Experience Workshop International Math-Art Movement ( all these developments prompt us to enlarge the set of pedagogical approaches, tools and materials. In cooperation with global initiatives in the field, such as the world’s largest math-art-education community, the Bridges Organization ( and the International Symmetry Association (, we would like to complement the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning with creative, aesthetic and artistic aspects. Our goal is to move from STEM to STE-A-M (by the inclusion of Arts) and make the most of the successful models of cooperation among science and art education.

In mathematics education, there is a growing need to design activities, which focus on the creative process, instead of emphasizing a product, which was created by following a certain plan. Art as a context for mathematical problem solving can be a
fruitful starting point, as art is usually thought to include creative thinking and finding one’s own way. Creative activities may support the students to recognize that doing ”real” mathematics is creative thinking; and creative thinking in mathematics means, that you do your own mathematics. These kind of activities can underline the process aspect of mathematics and if these activities require collaboration, then different students’ strengths in different areas are adding up on the group level. This supports both teachers and students in appreciating various kinds of creativities and in transforming their whole world – including the school – into a “possibility space” of learning.

The knowledge gained through blurring the boundaries of science, technology, design and art, became our common experience of heterogeneity, and this common experience is also expressed in the transformation of our socio-cultural practices. Phenomenon-based learning opens schools to become multi- and transdisciplinary, experience-oriented and collaborative educational environments offering new opportunities for both mathematics and art learning in parallel. As technology is transforming learning environments and becoming part of learning in the 21st century, it is also important to experiment with connecting hands-on and digital modeling in the learning process.

Recognizing significant new trends in the currently transforming creative practices in globalized societies, we see the children and youth not only as a diverse target group of STEAM awareness raising projects, but also as the most active and as most potential promoter of successful examples of emerging STEAM careers. Experience Workshop would like to bring the learners and their unique creativities into the spotlight by breaking up with the simplifying and hierarchical top-down model of “adults are trying to convince students on the importance of something”.

We approach youth not only as mere end-recipients or “consumers” of STEAM-based knowledge, but as active or potential future participants of STEAM-related Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Open-Source (OS) and Citizen Scientist (CS) communities.

Connected to their special interests, students have unique perspective and own views on the social importance of STEAM awareness, and they are also the main beneficial of the increasing social support and educational development of STEAM collaborations across globalized societies. Accordingly, we would like to facilitate creative processes which help students to (1) discover the importance of STEAM fields in their own life and social environment; (2) help to identify individual and social opportunities that STEAM-based education can provide to them; (3) facilitate students in the process of recognizing themselves as successful members of emerging STEAM communities; and (4) support them to form small multi- and trans-disciplinary and intercultural STEAM teams, which are operating like “small-scale models” of real-world DIY, OS and CS communities with the goal of STEAM awareness raising in order to involve their own peers into STEAM activities. We see youth as potential inventors of new forms of intercultural and multi- and trans-disciplinary STEAM collaborations, creators of original thoughts and technological inventions and developers of independent, non-traditional ways of using existing technological tools and special trans-disciplinary knowledge and future managers and co-workers in successful start-ups rooted in the STEAM integration.