Developed by DRCLAS with the support of the US Embassy in Chile, ecosiSTEAM is an ecosystem that aims to transfer and adapt effective frameworks for STEAM, maker-centered learning, creativity, and innovation by translating a suite of scholarly articles and teacher resources developed by Harvard faculty and researchers for the Chilean context. The project aims to strengthen local capacity at different levels by hosting a series of seminars and workshops throughout Chile.
Launch of ecosiSTEAM
On May 29, 2019, ecosiSTEAM, designed and developed by the Regional Office of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Regional Office in Chile, was officially announced in the presence of authorities from the US Embassy, Harvard University, and leaders in education, culture, science and innovation.
ecosiSTEAM was conceived within the framework of the strategic recommendations that the Chile - United States Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation made to the Government of Chile during 2018-2019. This Council, made up of leaders from each area, was convened by the United States Embassy in order to identify specific areas of exchange between the two countries. From this work, 30 proposals emerged, from which 6 were prioritized and presented as a recommendation of effective collaboration to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation.
The proposal presented by Marcela Renterìa, Executive Director, DRCLAS Regional Office and Ana Marìa Raad, Expert in education and innovation, and selected by the Council, points directly to "Strengthening education through interactive methodologies for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) for the creation of skills in young people of the New Millennium".
This proposal included the main conclusions of the "Coalition for STEAM Education" promoted by CORFO and Fundación Chile (Educarchil) proposed in 2017. As well as the indications proposed by the CNID (Chile's National Council of Innovation for Development) and by the Ministry of Culture and the arts through its CECREA program that promotes creativity in Chile.
In this context the Embassy of the United States, initiated ecosiSTEAM, which aimed to demonstrate how the suggested strategies for creativity could be applied effectively in Chile thus making ecosiSTEAM a pioneering model of collaboration and articulation of the ecosystem of science, education and culture.
ecosiSTEAM seeks to disseminate powerful frameworks that transform learning, as well as a vision based in STEAM, that emphasizes the development of creativity and innovation in young people. It seeks to link proven models with promised results in the Chilean context, through a strategic alliance with leading organizations in innovation and creativity, such as the NUVU studio in Boston, led by members of Harvard and MIT. This initiative will also work on strengthening local capacities, starting with leaders, and those who are in active practice in the field such as teachers, mediators, managers, and directors.
The central idea of ecosiSTEAM is to promote a culture of collaboration, exchange, network, joint work and lifelong learning,which works as an articulated ecosystem. For this reason, leaders and key organizations with a common goal and commitment to transform learning, have been summoned from diverse fields. Throughout the process, these leaders and organizations are called to share their experiences, act together and learn from each other. The participation of leaders and organizations is constant and we seek to make their efforts articulated and jointly visible.
ecosiSTEAM is managed by a team based partly in Santiago and partly in Boston who are working on this first stage to efficiently transfer models and powerful theoretical frameworks to Chile.
In partnership with ecoSISTEAM, DRCLAS created www.aprendoencasa.org, a web platform that has been running since the school system was closed due to Covid-19 that seeks to support the educational communities of Latin America with quality digital content. In order to support teachers, students, and the educational community in general, the #AprendoEnCasa campaign in collaboration with more than 60 organizations in 7 countries of the region, recommends and permanently publishes the best websites, teaching tools, digital educational content. The platform hopes to become a good thermometer for testing homeschooling experience and a bank of good educational practices uploaded by educational experts for free with the aim to provide good content.
In January 2020, Richard Elmore, Gregory R. Anrig Research Professor of Educational Leadership at Harvard University and Saba Ghole, Co-Founder, NuVu Studio traveled to Chile for a week, with the aim of deepening the relationship between the US and Chile within the field of STEAM education, learning about the NuVu experience in innovation in education, and developing local and regional conferences to introduce these ideas with local experts. Elmore and Ghole led a two-day STEAM Education International Conference and Workshop, held in Santiago and Antofogasta, Chile. During their visit, they met with key stake holders and members of the US Embassy to continue future planning.
Launch Learning Round with Professor Richard Elmore
In May 2019, the "Learning Round" was held with the aim of linking leaders from the fields of education, culture, science and innovation, to reflect on the challenges of developing and designing transformative learning environments and experiences. In this initiative, the "Learning Round" methodology was used, which seeks to link diverse experiences and fields around a common theme.
In the "Learning Round", Elmore led discussions with leaders from education, culture, science, philanthropy, innovation and creativity, to address the challenges of transforming learning. In an intimate, relaxed, and very collaborative environment, he shared his most recent ideas and findings about current education and its challenges for the future.
During the session attended by educators, artists, astronomers, science disseminators, programmers, cultural managers, school leaders, academic scholars, and other important leaders, Elmore addressed key issues, such as contributions and reflections from the neurosciences for a better understanding of how apprenticeships occur today. "Teaching and learning are very different from what people believe," Elmore said. So the ideas and thinking around education must be deeply questioned and revised, constituting a real challenge for those who want to address a true transformation. Based on studies in neuroscience, Elmore tackled the importance of approaching learning as a process in which emotions, the body, and the context generate optimal conditions (or not) for better learning. In a nutshell, “Experience is process in context”. Hence, the importance of incorporating design strategies of experiences, both for schools and museums, libraries or virtual spaces.
Elmore also addressed the relevance and centrality of a STEAM approach, since it allows for the integration of different areas and disciplines. STEAM emphasizes active, practical learning, which develops projects, solves daily challenges, tackles technology and digitization with a creative sense and permanent creation, as well as designing the world. The STEAM approach also allows the development of deep, critical thought that investigates and constantly explores new answers. Elmore encourages the expansion of learning experiences beyond traditional spaces, extending their impact to the world of museums, laboratories, maker spaces, libraries, etc.
Elmore provided several examples that serve as visualizations of how these challenges to re-design learning are being addressed by organizations and innovators, in the United States, Mexico and Chile. The main characteristic of these models, according to him, is that they are based on very simple theories of learning that are easy to communicate to all the members of the organization. They can be described in a paragraph and are "transparent" and very clear to everyone,making it easy to access and use.
Referencing the models, he highlighted the experience of Tutorials carried out in Mexico, as well as the NUVU studio in Boston, which promotes active learning, prototype development and deep interactions during the learning process.
This first "Learning Round" with local leaders is part of the varied activities that the ecosiSTEAM program seek to develop throughout 2019.