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Developing a Digital Solution Framework through a Digital Community of Practice System to Support Teachers' Implementation of STEAM

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posted on 2024-06-17, 03:56 authored by Zihua Wu
This study examines the implementation of cross-disciplinary creative approaches in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education. It addresses the challenges faced by teachers in developing the necessary knowledge and skills for effective collaboration across disciplines. Inspired by the approach of knowledge management, also known as Community of Practice (CoP), and how industries facilitate tacit knowledge propagation across departments to promote creativity through digital support, the study investigates the potential of a digital technology solution to equip schools, teachers, and educators with the competence required for implementing the cross-disciplinary creative approach of STEAM education. The thesis is organised into eight chapters. Chapter One gives an introduction and background of the study. Chapter Two conducts a literature review to explore the conceptual development and significance of STEAM in creativity education and culture. It also investigates the challenges of implementing STEAM education from a global perspective and identifies the advantages and limitations of current teachers' professional development in STEAM. Chapter Three investigates how a Digital Community of Practice (DCoP) system holds immense potential for supporting teachers' cross-disciplinary collaboration. This investigation plays a pivotal role in building the conceptual framework of the system developed throughout this study. Chapter Four adopts a design-based research methodology to prototype a comprehensive digital technology solution framework. This includes proposing a digital Community of Practice (DCoP) system and designing a mixed methods approach to understand and support cross-disciplinary collaboration among teachers. Chapter Five focuses on the selection of specific parameters in the DCoP system, ensuring user comfort and ease of use. In Chapters Six and Seven, the thesis presents a comprehensive account of the data analyses conducted during two rounds of online engagement. Employing a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, the study reveals a significant barrier to STEAM implementation: the lack of tacit knowledge among teachers regarding cross-disciplinary collaboration. These findings shed light on the crucial role of the DCoP system in facilitating knowledge sharing and fostering collaboration among Arts and STEM teachers, as well as industry professionals. The final chapter, Chapter Eight, concludes the study by providing suggestions to various stakeholders involved in STEAM education implementation. Recommendations are offered to teachers, the education department, teacher educators, school principals, parents, and the community, based on the findings of the study. These suggestions aim to support and enhance the effectiveness of teachers’ cross-disciplinary collaboration. Additionally, a conceptual digital solution is proposed to facilitate and foster collaborative engagement among stakeholders in implementing STEAM education. This solution harnesses the power of technology to encourage meaningful collaboration and knowledge exchange, ultimately contributing to the advancement of STEAM education practices.


Degree Type

Doctorate by Research


© Zihua Wu 2023

School name

Education, RMIT University

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