Returning to my office this morning after a ten-day writing holiday, I found a delightful package waiting for me—several complementary copies of the new book, The Search for Method in STEAM Education by Jaime (Jim) E. Martinez. I’m sure I would have gotten one copy since I’m a close colleague of Jim’s, but because his book is in my Palgrave Macmillan series, Studies in Play, Performance, Learning and Development, I get more! I’ll be bringing two copies to Japan next week to give as gifts to my academic hosts in Tokyo.
The Search for Method in STEAM Education is a good and important read. The book is a lot like Jim. Concerned and passionate about making education—especially of those marginalized—rigorously and enjoyably developmental. Adept at the academic performance, but never overdetermined by its rules and roles. Smart as a whip in an “end of knowing” way. Generous in giving credit where credit is due to mentors, theorists, peers, students and communities. Jim has something creative and important to say and, in this book, he and those he dialogues with in its pages, say it well.
From the Introduction…
This book is about creating new kinds of developmental interdisciplinary learning environments that will be necessary if STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education reforms are going to amount to more than just another educational fad. The title is a “shout out” to Lev Vygotsky, a developmental psychologist whose ideas I will be referencing throughout the book. Vygotsky contributed important and transformative theories of learning to the education research field and used the phrase “search for method” to describe his efforts to discover a new psychology, one that would be helpful to people during a revolutionary moment in Soviet history in the 1920s and ‘30s (Vygotsky, 1978 p. 65).
At a time when educators, educational researchers, and policymakers are trying to figure out how to use traditional knowledge acquisition methods of education to create STEAM education, I am concerned with transforming learning environments into ones that are developmental and interdisciplinary. In writing this book, my approach has been more creative than academic, and the data I offer is in the dialogues and stories. The voices of educational innovators who are creating and collaborating beyond the disciplinary boundaries of the institutions they work for will be prominent. I find that conversations and stories are a great way to learn developmentally.
If you’re a STEM or STEAM educator, buy this book (also available in a Kindle edition). And pass the info along to others.
Dr. Jaime E. (Jim) Martinez is an associate professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at New York Institute of Technology. His research interests include experiential learning and performatory approaches to human learning and development. Dr. Martinez earned his Ph.D. in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY). His prior careers include teaching in public schools, a partnership in an entrepreneurial startup company and sixteen years as an information technology professional.