Shape Your STEAM Career With Morphological Synthesis

The purpose of Shape Your STEAM Career With Morphological Synthesis is to enable students aged 14-18 to recognize their STEAM career opportunities with morphological synthesis method and to shape their own career paths. Morphological synthesis; It is a creative thinking technique used to reveal a product, problem or situation in an original way by blending acquired information with new information in an extraordinary way. At least two objects are required in order to apply the technique that brings innovations together by combining the blended elements by losing their characteristics. Within the scope of morphological synthesis, first the product, situation or problem is determined. Later, objects, ideas and tools are determined, choices are made by determining the items, and the selected items are brought together. With this combination, original productions emerge.

The implementation context: 60 students attended the first phase of the event and 20 students attended the workshops phase. Through a Google Form shared with the students, their wishes to participate in the career-related workshop to be held were asked. Almost all of the students wanted to attend the workshops. The 20 students with the highest motivation were determined for the workshops to be carried out more efficiently. The records of the workshops were shared with other students and they were also included in the process. All of the students are students in the computer science department. Due to the pandemic, all activities were held online. Students who are digitally literate are between 14 and 17 years old. They have taken basic coding training. Their participation and motivation to such events is extremely high.

The narrative: The activity consists of four steps.

First step: Our school signed a protocol with Prof. Dr. Serçin Karataş, a STEM Professional. Prof. Karataş, who has been involved in numerous STEM projects in Turkey and manages doctoral dissertations on STEM education, will also conduct an online webinar and workshop series for STEM Career with our students. In this step, the steps in The STEM Alliance Guide for Schools document have been implemented. Brief information about the career of STEM Professional Professor Karataş is available under this blog.

Third step: The first workshop was held with 20 students on 20 April 2021. In this workshop, Prof Karataş applied the “Enhance your teaching to tackle career guidance related learning goals” activity, which is one of the proposed activities in The STE (A) M IT Guidelines on how to present STEM jobs in classroom document, with morphological synthesis method. The event lasted 120 minutes.

Prof Karataş gave time to the students by saying a concept, and the students drew pictures for this concept and shared it with the group. Professor Karataş then gave information about the creative thinking dimensions of elaboration, originality, flexibility and fluency and asked students to draw a new drawing. Students paid attention to these 4 dimensions in their new drawings and developed different perspectives. At this stage, Prof Karataş completed the Guess Who section of the “Enhance your teaching to tackle career guidance related learning goals” activity, which is one of the proposed activities in The STE (A) M IT Guidelines on how to present STEM jobs in classroom document.

Prof Karataş used the SCAMPER technique, one of the creative thinking techniques, in the “SWOT my profession” section. In this technique, people are asked questions about the steps that make up the name of the technique, and individuals in the answering position are expected to change an idea and / or object. The students imagined hippos and deer, respectively, by observing and closing. Meanwhile, Prof Karataş asked the students questions and made them think deeply. In the last stage, what would it be like if deer and hippo were one animal? ,he asked the students to draw by asking the question. In this way, the students performed the SWOT analysis steps on animals implicitly.

With this workshop, students gained creative thinking skills and prepared for the next workshop. In the next workshop, it aims to enable students to choose a STEM profession by blending different skills and competencies. At the end of the workshop, computer science teacher Selçuk Arslan made a presentation to the students about The STEM Alliance / STE (A) M IT Career Sheets and asked each student to examine a profession in depth and present it to the group in the next workshop.

Fourth step: In the workshop held on April 27, 2021, the students examined and presented the professions on The STEM Alliance / STE (A) M IT Career Sheets site to the group. After the presentation, Prof Karatas made applications for morphological synthesis with students and also talked about another creative thinking technique, SCAMPER. In the last part of the workshop, it was moved to the section Introduction to job searching in the source of* The STE (A) M IT Guidelines on how to present STEM jobs in classroom. In this context, the students were asked to choose a profession by using The STEM Alliance / STE (A) M IT Career Sheets with morphological synthesis method and design an imaginary LinkedIn profile for this profession. Students’ questions were answered and 1 day was given.

This study will be evaluated as the learning outcomes of the workshop. With the feedback form prepared, the session was ended by receiving the feedback of the students regarding the process. The activity lasted 120 minutes.

Learning outcomes: The learning outcome of this activity is that students identify a STEM profession with morphological synthesis method and imagine this profession with a LinkedIn profile design. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the profession they have chosen by reflecting the knowledge of the profession they have chosen or imagined, the required skills and competencies, the certificate programs they need to complete, etc. on their profiles. Some examples of learning outcomes are presented below.

Student Comments: Atilla, who wants to be an Astro Game Producer, wants to introduce the recently popular space field to the people with his games. That’s why he combined game design with space. He dreamed of taking Gamification, Basic Space Training, Unity and Unreal Engine and Game Design, and Mobile Programming with Flutter. He completed the profile of his dream profession by adding that he is competent in game design, coding skills and the awards he received.

Teaching outcomes: My purpose of doing this activity is to introduce career opportunities to students through cooperation in STEM education. We conducted a long-term study with Prof Serçin KARATAS, one of the leading professionals in the STEM field in Turkey. We have achieved invaluable learning outcomes. My advice to other educators who will do this kind of work is to establish the right cooperation first. While establishing these collaborations, using the STEM Alliance and STE (A) M IT documents mentioned in this blog will make their work easier. These documents, which guided us while designing this study with Prof Karataş, attracted the attention of our students. Apart from these documents, sources for morphological synthesis, which is Prof Karataş’s area of expertise, were also used. Although all activities were online, they were carried out practically in abundance. Documents for morphological synthesis used by Prof Karataş are listed below:

I would like to thank STEM Professional Prof. Dr. Serçin Karataş for this work, which I believe to be both unique and beneficial for my students, and STEM Alliance and STEAM (IT) for the documents we injured during the event. I wish that more students prefer STEAM fields …

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