The online symposium "STEAMing into the future" dedicated to STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), promoted by the cities of Aveiro, candidate to European Capital of Culture 2027, and Oulu (Finland), European Capital of Culture 2026, took place last 16 November.
Moderated by Tom Fleming, the symposium opened with welcome messages from the hosts of this educational event, the Mayor of Aveiro (CMA), Ribau Esteves, and the Mayor of Oulu, Mirja Vehkaperä, who were joined by nine speakers from five different countries and an audience of over 50 participants.
For José Ribau Esteves, Aveiro and Oulu have a common history in the way they adapt and progress in the face of the challenges presented by the territory. Both cities use technology to provide better services and quality of life to their citizens, and now both are starting this process "STEAMing into the Future". Aveiro aims to develop a knowledge-based society, so it is necessary to prepare the younger generations, teachers and educators with the relevant skills to succeed in this new digital era. For this reason, we have implemented an integrated educational strategy, based on the STEAM approach, in the 42 schools of the Aveiro municipality, from the 1st cycle to secondary education, and we already have more than 150 teachers with completed training in this scope, and STEAM activities taking place in our schools.
President Ribau Esteves challenged Mirja Vehkaperä of Aveiro and Oulu to move forward with the creation of a European STEAM Cities Network, where they can share and learn from their experiences. Mirja Vehkaperä, knowing the work developed by both cities and two ambitions, accepted the challenge.
This event presented and discussed emerging models, new learning and reflections on the future of education, through the contribution of professionals from Aveiro, Oulu, Brazil, Denmark and Berlin, who presented practical cases on the implementation of STEAM methodology in each of the countries. This presentation provided an insight into the best practices in mobilising this approach in each of the cities, revealed the guiding principles, highlighted the distinctive factors of each approach and identified the main challenges of STEAM implementation in the long term.
The last part of the symposium had a practical application by dividing participants into discussion groups, according to indicated interest and location, where topics such as policy and partnership - how to build a long-term approach to STEAM education, models and practice - innovative approaches to STEAM provision, cultural and creative economy - linking STEAM to long-term economic development and Innovation and impact - how STEAM can shape sustainable development were addressed. Participants had the opportunity to contribute their suggestions and answers to the questions presented.
After the presentation of the conclusions emerging from the discussions of each group, the symposium ended with the showing of videos of projects of students from Aveiro and Oulu, developed in the classroom.
Video Aveiro: https://youtu.be/MZyXL5NFnEU
Oulu video: https://youtu.be/sUhiz5-uoq8
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