designing STEAM ECOSYSTEMS
By Christi Wilkins, Collaborative member and Executive Director of Dramatic Results
The Collaborative’s spring, 2020 newsletter included information about the Dramatic Results™ panel presentation at the Arts Education Partnership’s Annual Convening (fall, 2019) titled Systemically STEAM: Tips for Forming a STEAM Ecosystems. Dramatic Results also presented at the 2020 SLECoP Virtual Convening (October, 2020). In this session, titled Resilience and Resolve – The Power of Thriving STEAM Learning Ecosystems, presenters shared their successes and failures in integrating the arts with STEM through a cultural/psycho-social framework.
The session documented Dramatic Results’™ work when its own resilience and resolve were put to the test this past spring. As schools across the world adjusted to the current global health crisis, the agency swiftly pivoted its in-person operations within four weeks, replacing all in-person programs with live, virtual STEAM programs using Zoom. As a direct result of their investment in cross-sector dissemination and community-building efforts, they have expanded their original 7-member local STEAM Ecosystem (including: U.S. Sailing Center; Long Beach Public Library; Historical Society of Long Beach; Growing Experience; an urban farm located on the grounds of a housing project; engineers from Boeing and Northrop Grumman; a Bravo TV chef; and The Social Justice Sewing Academy) into a regional and national collaboration with Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design, a digital artist from Fab Labs, a neuroscientist from Duke University’s TIP Program, Start Science, and ReDiscover.
By leveraging its growing STEAM Ecosystem, Dramatic Results™ has been able to offer engaging online classes on topics that include cyborg prototyping, genetics of “dragon breeding,” design thinking in healthcare, video game design, photography, movie-making, and mixed media art. Students responded to the new format almost immediately, with consistent levels of engagement, especially through the site’s chat.
Dramatic Results™ is further expanding its STEAM Ecosystem reach to serve Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) in Maryland, a rural community with few resources. This fall, CCPS will serve its first virtual STEAM cohort, which will provide under-resourced gifted girls across six middle schools an after-school “hands-on” live virtual STEAM program.
You can learn more about Dramatic Results™ and how to start building a STEAM Ecosystem in your community. Download a FREE copy of the Dramatic Results™ STEAM Mapping Tool™ here.
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