To gain insight into the journal’s mission, selection process, and impact, we had the opportunity to speak with Şahin İDİL, the director of the Journal of STEAM Education. In this interview, we explore the journal’s unique contribution to the field, the challenges facing STEAM education, and the role of the journal in shaping the future of this important field.
EASE: Can you tell us about the STEAM Education Research Association and how the Journal of STEAM Education fits into its mission?
We established the STEAM Education Research Association with 6 of my friends in Kocaeli in 2017. Our association aims to provide free training to teachers and teacher candidates working in this field, and to develop activities and applications that students can use, by emphasizing the STEAM Education approach in general. In this context, besides the founding team of seven people, expert educators, teacher candidates, engineers and engineer candidates were also included in our team. The common goal of the whole team is to make STEAM Education widespread in our country and to equip our students with 21st century skills in this context. It is an international academic journal published by our journal of STEAM education. We completed the foundation stages of our magazine in 2018 and published the first issue of our magazine in June 2018. In general, we are trying to publish original and original in-class and out-of-school applications in the field of STEAM in our journal. In this context, we take care to publish scientific studies carried out by teachers and faculty members who are actively working in the STEAM field, teacher candidates and other professional professionals in the field. When our journal is considered from this point of view, it tries to include particularly successful applications with STEAM Education. We are trying to give priority to current studies and recently completed applied studies related to STEAM Education.
EASE: What inspired the creation of the Journal of STEAM Education, and what unique contribution does it make to the field of educational research?
After establishing our association, we have studied the academic journals on STEAM Education serving nationally and internationally for a long time. As a result of our research, we have determined that there are a limited number of academic journals in the field and that the majority of the articles in these journals are studies with heavy academic aspects by academicians. Although these academic studies are very valuable, we thought that they did not fully reach the main target audience (teachers and students). Therefore, we can say that our first motivation in establishing this journal was this thought. In addition, the dissemination of the work of teachers working in the field and thus guiding other teachers in the country and around the world was another issue that motivated us. With the help of this magazine, many teachers working in the field will be able to implement these practices/activities in their classrooms and schools, and the idea that students will make progress depending on their professional development has an important place in our establishment of this magazine.
EASE: What criteria do you use when selecting articles for publication in the journal, and how do you ensure the quality of the research being published?
The Journal of STEAM Education (J-STEAM) is an open-access, free, international peer-reviewed journal published online. The journal publishes scientific articles from a wide range of disciplines of educational research and related disciplines, with particular emphasis on integration of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics throughout educational research. Journal of STEAM Education is a multidisciplinary journal; To increase the quality of STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Art) and to present the findings of STEAM Education teachers, researchers, school administrators and education policy makers in the light of the articles published in the journal. The main criteria in the examination and selection process relate to the importance of contribution to the field of learning and teaching. Original qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods for individuals of all ages from preschool education to adult education are published. In line with this criteria, candidate manuscripts are sent to two reviewers independently and based on their views editor-in-chief decides for the manuscript whether it is published. Besides, all detailed explanations can be found at “https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/steam/page/14049”.
EASE: Can you describe some of the most interesting or impactful articles that have been published in the Journal of STEAM Education in recent years?
In fact, there are quite a few articles that I can answer for this question. While answering this question, I believe that it is necessary to focus more on the issues published in our journal, rather than a single specific article. For example, after being published in our journal, various researches carried out for gifted students and considering real-world problems were met with great interest, especially by educators who are active in the
field. Various articles that bring together the environmental education and STEAM approach have also been published in our journal. They aimed to show students the environmental problems they discussed in the articles in this research group in a practical way. Teaching the life cycle of the butterfly with mobile devices in out-of-school environments can be said to be a good example for the articles published in our journal.
EASE: How do you see the field of STEAM education evolving in the coming years, and what role do you think the journal can play in shaping that evolution?
Considering the concept of STEAM as a concept that has been used since the second half of the 1990s, it would not be wrong to state that there is an evolution from STEM education to STEAM education today. In this context, we see that STEAM education feeds itself with the researches made continuously after the 2000s and various researches are carried out with various education-teaching approaches. For example, we see that scientific research on design thinking and STEAM education, computational thinking and STEAM approach has been at the forefront especially in academic journals recently. In this context, with the support of the editorial board and referees, the Journal of STEAM Education will continue to contribute to the field by including scientific studies that examine what kind of studies are at the forefront in the international community and
the deficiencies in the field.
6. What challenges do you see facing educators and researchers in the STEAM fields, and how can the journal help to address those challenges?
We see that theoretical studies in the field of STEAM are intensively studied both at the academic level and at the level of education ministries. We can also say that there have been many publications on this subject in recent years. One of the biggest challenges in the STEAM space is that there aren’t many app-based events. In other words, we see that the studies based on STEAM and conducted in a school or out-of-school environment are limited. In this context, our journal tries to give more space to the activities of all international researchers, especially for practical applications. Thus, our journal plays an important role in terms of being a resource for academics and teachers who have difficulties in accessing exemplary applied studies in the field of STEAM.
7. In what ways do you see the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the field of STEAM education, and how is the journal responding to those effects?
The Covid-19 pandemic has unfortunately affected the whole world negatively. During the pandemic process, the examples of applied work sent to our magazine in the STEAM field have decreased a lot. Since the student-teacher interaction was very limited, we could not give much space to the studies containing application examples in our journal during this period. In this period, we were able to include the studies sent to our journal before the pandemic. During the pandemic period, we observed that joint studies in the field of STEAM approach and distance education were sent to our journal. In this process, we have observed that although distance education provides a learning environment that we need/will need, face-to-face education alone will not replace it. In addition, we determined that after the pandemic, research based on face-to-face and distance learning within the framework of hybrid learning models was sent to our journal. I am of the opinion that more studies of this kind for the development of the field will eliminate this deficiency in the field.
8. What advice do you have for researchers and educators who are interested in publishing their work in the Journal of STEAM Education?
I would like to state that we are happy to state that our journal is open to all researchers doing research in the field of STEAM Education. For this reason, researchers who want to make academic publications in our journal should first follow the current developments in the field. In this context, the themes and topics in international conferences, project studies and workshops can be used. In addition, we are trying to give more space to applied studies within the scope of STEAM education, studies where students are at the center, studies where out-of-school applications and technology are presented in an integrated way with STEAM Education. I would like to state that we intend to give an important place in our journal to research carried out by blending approaches such as design thinking and computational thinking with the STEAM Approach. On behalf of our entire team, I would like to state that we would be very happy for researchers to submit their practical studies to our journal within the framework of the above-mentioned topics and research approaches.