first inGenious pilot: a revelation

First inGenious pilot was a revelation 

Between March and July 2012, a dedicated team of individuals was hard at work in the classroom, online and in face-to-face workshops. Their brief: to put the growing number of inGenious activities that have been provided by industry and associations through their paces in real-life classroom settings – with their own pupils. 

In fact, more than 170 teachers from 150 schools in 21 European countries participated in the first inGenious pilot. 

But it wasn’t just teachers and their pupils who got involved. As one female teacher from Turkey said about the practice implementation: “Teachers, students, parents and industry took a role in the experiments. It was a simple and effective activity which increased collaboration between many people.”

The pilot also provided teachers with a structured forum where they could discuss how collaboration between industry and schools could be enhanced with our industry partners.

A positive impact

Assessments varied a little from activity to activity, but the overwhelming message was resoundingly positive. 

“They enjoyed it. All of the students were eager to complete the practice,” commented a male Turkish teacher. And three-quarters of all participants thought participating in the pilot had a medium or highly positive impact on their classes. An even more impressive 95% thought the activities they trialled had proactively enhanced their teaching skills and practices. 

One Finish teacher said: “I got some good ideas and a lot of resources to carry the lessons in STEM subjects. Also a lot of freebies that you can use and which combine English and STEM education resources, because most of the programs in Finland are taught in English.”

Boosting pupil knowledge of STEM

“[My pupils] learned some new mathematical and physical rules that aren’t in their curriculum yet make them more aware of how STEM subjects are related to everyday life.” - Tiina Kähärä, a primary school teacher from Finland

Interest in and knowledge of STEM subjects has improved substantially due to participation in the pilot activities too, with over 90% of participants saying their pupils have a greater understanding of the roles of technology and science, as well as a more positive attitude to STEM subjects. As one put it: “[the activity] helped to make pupils aware of how science and technology are important in everyday life and in the development of societies.”

The best news of all, however, is that 80% of teachers acknowledge that pupils’ awareness of STEM careers has been boosted – a sure sign that we are all are doing something right! 

Real skills for real life 

Another finding of the evaluation was that teachers felt better equipped to dispense solid advice about careers and professional avenues open to their students. More than four-fifths felt more confident in advising pupils on careers in science, technology and industry; “I gained experience in using ICT tools to do mathematics. This is an aspect of the curriculum that is generally overlooked,” said one UK maths teacher. 

A Czech colleague noted that: “pupils have gained first-hand experience in how to link mathematics to ordinary real life. They have improved their maths and English skills.” 

Constructive criticism 

“The main advantage was that students were interested and eager to learn. The main drawback was that the activity was time-consuming… [but] I like the activity and I would recommend it.” - Vladimira Erhartova Stredni, Czech Republic 

One of the aims of the exercise was to capture constructive criticism and feedback to make improvements to the activities. Some teachers highlighted technical problems, such as connectivity, whilst trying activities online. And there was a request for more translations of activities into local languages. 

In addition, a minority of participants thought that some activities could be improved by adding a few more challenging tasks to them – useful information for our industry partners. 

A programme of continuous improvements 

The feedback we receive from teachers like you, your pupils and their families is invaluable; so we’d like to say a big “thank you” to everyone who joined in. The majority of those who did, found it was a great way to learn more about the activities on offer and how to use them effectively in the classroom. 

In fact, it was such a success that the second Pilot is already underway – and will run until July 2013.  

But you don’t need to be in a pilot to participate in trialling inGenious’s range of classroom activities. Simply join the inGenious extended network of practices and ensure your voice is heard by registering on the Teacher Community.