EDUCATION OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN NONFORMAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS: A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH OF STEAM EDUCATION IN A TECHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM IN GREECE

Charikleia Kanari, Anastasia Zoi Souliotou

Abstract


In recent years there is an increasing interest about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) model in education. STEAM is a cross-disciplinary approach which breaks down the barriers among disciplines, offers a dynamic character in teaching and sheds light on various aspects of the aforementioned parts of STEAM equation with multiple benefits for all children including those with disabilities. Furthermore, the increasing interest and the development of museum educational programs for school groups provide unique opportunities in STEAM education that are not available in schools. The museum as nonformal learning environment and its exhibits, the qualitative characteristics of learning and the wide range of the expected learning outcomes enrich the design and implementation of STEAM educational programs providing meaningful learning experiences for all children. The present paper refers to a cross-disciplinary approach which connects STEAM education, Museum Education and Special Education for the design and implementation of an educational program for a school group of children with disabilities. The educational program “Making mosaics with bricks and colors” was based on a. the STEAM approach, b. the characteristics of learning in the museum, c. the principles of Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and d. the unique characteristics of a thematic technological museum for the industrial heritage in Greece where the educational program took place. Based on the experience of the implementation of the educational program and the qualitative data of the evaluation of the program, it is argued that STEAM education as well as collaborations between different specialists and between schools and museums provides meaningful learning experiences to all children including those with disabilities.

 

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STEAM education, museum education, special education, nonformal learning environments, visual arts

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