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More exciting activities

For more exciting activities: Join the Teacher Community!

You can then participate in more communities of practice, online chats and many more inGenious events.

You will have access to the inGenious repository of practice that you can conduct in class.

Time to wrap up

This Community of Practice focused on the following main themes:

-       how to better setup collaboration between schools and industry (The inGenious Code);

-       how to better communicate the outcomes of STEM Education projects (proposing recommendations coming from the collaboration between inGenious and DESIRE Projects);

-       how to take part in the inGenious competition; and

-    looking for inspiration from researches, developments and outreaches in STEM education beyond the EU.

For six weeks teachers could share opinions and have suggestions from our experts, who collaborated to write the inGenious Code, the DESIRE Reach Out Toolkit and the inGenious Competition Guidelines.  As teachers, we also had the opportunity to have some input about some valuable STEM experiences which took place beyond the EU.

The InGenious Code:

InGenious Code provides a set of principles, guidelines and checklists that allows anyone involved in setting up a school-industry collaboration as safely, smoothly and securely as much as possible. In this section the usefulness of the code was discussed, as well as challenges on setting up the school-industry collaboration. Additionally some practical examples were also provided.

Teachers found the code useful and practical. The challenges that teachers find, when setting up such collaborations were:

- to implement a visit within a curriculum,

- location -  it is difficult to organize the visit due to transport organisation and the funds required to organise such vists.

- finding the industry that would collaborate was difficult and some industries have strict safety rules and that was the reason for the lack of collaboration.

Good examples by teachers were also provided, for example in Israel they have a special organization that organises school-industry visits, it seems that the across Europe the curriculum supports industry visits for secondary schools, in Slovakia primary schools visite industries and is organized by career counselors.

DESIRE – Disseminating Educational Science, Innovation and Research in Europe:

In this category teachers were asked to give their feedback and share their opinion on the recommendations gathered in the DESIRE Project Reach Out Toolkit, with the aim to ease the diffusion and exploitation of the results of STEM education projects to teachers.

This topic intrigued the attention of many teachers: more than 100 posts and 500 of views. This is evident that  teachers need suggestions on the best ways to disseminate the practices they run. Furthermore, this topic was also useful to understand which are the preferred way for teachers to receive informations about practices.

All the teachers who participated in the discussion said that they are used to share best practices, materials and methodologies they tried with colleagues; in some cases they organize workshops to disseminate at a wider level best experiences and outcomes. Some teachers identified some challeneges in dissemination between colleagues, related to language: there are still many colleagues (and many students) who cannot use materials that are not translated in their national languages.

Even if direct sharing is the preferred way of disseminating materials, some teachers prefer that they use dedicated repositories to share some materials, but also social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Edmodo, also Whatsapp…).

An interesting debate came also over the recognition of experiences about the importance for teachers to receive incentives to participate in initiatives related to STEM projects.

Most of the teachers consider as best incentives the possibility to take part in workshops, to travel and to meet colleagues from different countries. Another important element is the possibility to learn new methodologies, share ideas with colleagues and use tested resources. Teachers consider as important also the outcomes for students, in terms of increased participation and interest during activities, together with best performances and the chance to partcipate in chats like the inGenious chats to find inspiration from experts, that can be considered as role models.

Addtionally material incentives, like equipment or prizes can be an option, especially for teachers coming from those countries which receive less funds and municipalities.

InGenious competition:

In this category we discussed about the guidance and challenges. Everybody who took part during the discussion agreed that guidance was clear. Almost everyone was familiar with video making and also they had high expectations on pupils’ abilities as well. Some teachers gave great examples on work they had been doing with their pupils.

Other competitions are also being organized on a European level, for example the inGenious partner INDIRE in Italy has a national competition. Finland also has ongoing national competitions on STEM subjects mainly organized by LUMA, an umbrella organization for the collaboration of schools, universities and business sector, with the aim to promote and support life-long learning, studying and teaching of STEM subjects on all education levels.

Connecting inGenious beyond the EU:

Many researches and projects beyond EU were shared on this topic:

Our expert, Vera de Leon, who comes from Mexico, shared her experience of  teaching robotics and programming to preschooler and young children (from 4 years old), working with Scratch with a “progressive approach” from painting to the creation of animation.

She gave us some links from her lessons, as example, to give other teachers the chance to exploitate similar activities with their students. The discussion was really interesting because in many evidence, inside inGenious, it was said that students are more oriented towards STEM subjects when they are introduced to Project Based Learning practices since the first years of schooling.

Vera shared with the CoP several videos, that provide examples on how is it possible to create animations using Scratch cardsto create sprites with plasticine, paper, waste cans, toys, etc... to interact with their projects.

video 1 

video 2 

video 3 

Some teachers gave suggestions about the  Globe at night program related to measuring light pollution and other Globe program practices related to atmosphere measurements.

Other suggested resources were related to astronomy, such as:

World Space Week 2013: Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth;

Yuri’s night, to celebrate, once a year, the first spaceflight;

UNAWE, to use astronomy and space to inspire young children (ages 4-10), particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to develop an interest in science and technology;

International Astronomical Search Collaboration, a program to assist students looking for asteroides. 

Some suggestions came also about resources related to chemistry, physics, biology, such:

WISE, a web-based inquiry science environment 

- phET Interactive Simulations research-based simulations of physical phenomena 

Microsoft Partners in Learning website 

The general idea is that good resources can across from different cultural and social contexts, even though they need to be adapted to the specific class environment.