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Full STEAM Ahead

Dr. Noa Ragonis will lead a groundbreaking national task force on STEAM education – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

Dr. Ragonis, a computer scientist, is the head of the M.Teach for Secondary Education program at Beit Berl and leads the College's development of an innovative M.Ed. track in Integrative STEM Education. She will head the task force on behalf of the Mofet Institute, a consortium of Israeli colleges of education specializing in research and program development for educators. The task force was convened in order to better prepare educators and students at all levels, from kindergarten to academia, to face the challenges of the future, such as learning skills to solve problems holistically using an interdisciplinary approach.

"Whether dealing with pandemic, climate change or human intelligence, life does not consist of only one field at a time," Dr. Ragonis elaborates. "Students need to study in an interdisciplinary, active, and effective way that will prepare them for the future."

The task force will analyze interdisciplinary models, especially those that include various forms of art. They will first document existing STEAM initiatives for different age groups and determine what enables their success. The team will then define criteria and best practices for developing potential new projects. Finally, they will set guidelines for implementing STEAM projects in the Israeli educational system. The team also plans to build an interactive website to serve as a national platform for sharing information about STEAM education.  

"In Israel, there are many interdisciplinary STEAM activities in both formal and informal education, but they have not been studied systematically," Dr. Ragonis explains. "Our task force intends to document the existing projects, analyze them and create guidelines that will serve the entire education community."

The 30-member task force will be active for a three-year period. Dr. Ragonis heads the task force together with Prof. Atara Shriki of the Kibbutzim College of Education. On March 22, it held its first workshop, via Zoom: "The Delights of Interdisciplinary STEAM Education." In addition to lectures on subjects such as "The Ecosystem of Excellence," "The Interdisciplinary Approach in STEAM: Varied Perspectives," and "Teaching Interdisciplinary Science – Is There Such a Thing?," the workshop also included separate breakout sessions addressing different groups: preschool education, elementary school education, higher education, young museum goers, citizen scientists, etc.

The project will serve educators throughout Israel, and globally. It will provide valuable resources to catalyze the development of cutting-edge interdisciplinary education to young people in Israel and around the world. 

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