In order to help the development and dissemination of different science education projects and document good practices in various aspects of STEM education, Scientix has set up the Scientix observatory. This observatory provides short synthesising articles, focused on one or several related themes or initiatives, or the state of play of different topics related to science education.
Published Science Observatory papers:
Abstract: Sustainability emerged as a way to address global challenges “without leaving anyone behind” Nevertheless, sustainability is hard to implement. At the individual level, education can help, as recognised at the international level. This paper looks at sustainability for education, and vice versa to decipher why the two benefit from each other. Education fosters literacy, forming the citizens of tomorrow: it can thus support sustainability, promoting a positive understanding of nature among students. Thanks to its interdisciplinary nature, sustainability can foster collaboration among different subjects and offer new practices helping education to prepare students for a complex future. This interplay can exist without intervening in the national curricula, by focussing on student-centred pedagogies, and the role of teachers. Three projects show how, through learning scenarios, massive online open courses and competitions, teachers can support sustainability education. Hence, this paper shows that the integration of sustainability in education is recommendable and achievable.
Carroll, S., Grenon, M., Nistor, A., James, V., McGuinness, S., Ben shitrit Haimi, L., Cahill, G., Caner, F., Curtin, S., Dean, K., Fleming, J.V., Garcia Cabellos, G. M., Garcia Terceño, E. M., Germaine, K., Gilleran Stephens, C., Hayes, M., Hihi, M. M., Kirmaci, H., Mangina, E., Moline, F. M. M., Moujdi-Menauge, F., O'Grady, A., Pastor Pina, F., Peleg, R., Prior, S., Santos Antunes, I. M, Siotou, E. (2019), The Sustainability of STEM education projects, Scientix Observatory, October 2019
Abstract: As many STEM education projects rely on short-term funding periods, achieving sustainability can be a challenging aim for project coordinators. Sustainability of a STEM education project can be described as the project’s ability to maintain all or some activity once funding has ended. Scientix, the community for science education in Europe, organised the 15th Science Projects Networking Event (SPNE15) in collaboration with Cell EXPLORERS and the National University of Ireland Galway. At this event, 26 experts in STEM education came together to discuss the sustainability of projects and to propose recommendations for best practice. This observatory report outlines the key discussion points raised by the attending experts and identifies six key aspects relating to sustainability and their related challenges: continuation of activities, sustaining impact, community engagement and collaboration, leadership, planning and evaluation, and finances. The paper concludes by proposing concrete actions that coordinators could undertake to maximise the sustainability of their projects.
Abstract: STEM education has become one of the main priorities ar European level closely connected to countries global score related to competitivness.The present document reflects the principles and conclusions of the methodology and the research report on Teachers’ Perspective On The Premises And Priorities Of STEM Education, as outputs of the research activity undertaken in Romania between 2017-2019 within the Horizon 2020 Scientix3 project.
Nistor, A., Angelopoulos, P., Gras-Velazquez, A., Grenon, M., Mc Guinness, S., Mitropoulou, D., Ahmadi, M., Coelho, M. J., Greca, I. M., Kalambokis, E., Korra, A., Lazoudis, A., Lefkos, I., Michetti, T., Njegovanovic, G., Otten, H., Palazi, C.; Tran, H., Tsaknia, T., Tsochatzidis N. (2019), STEM in primary education, Scientix Observatory, August 2019
Abstract: There is general agreement among practitioners that the manner by which science is taught at the level of primary schools influences students’ perceptions and attitudes towards science, and their uptake of STEM subjects and careers later on. Primary school teachers can play a central role, but they often feel insufficiently prepared to approach STEM subjects in their classes. Their challenges have been discussed between 20 STEM education stakeholders and 22 primary school teachers participating in the 13th Scientix Projects Networking Event. As a result, three key strategies were proposed to tackle the most challenging aspects of delivering effective STEM teaching in primary classrooms: raising the quality of teacher training, increasing easy access to high quality teaching resources and raising the STEM culture in primary education. This observatory presents a set of actionable recommendations for projects/organisations looking to address these challenges.
Abstract: The way science is approached in the classroom can be instrumental in dispelling negative stereotypes about science and scientific research in future generations. The present report looks at the Citizen Science approach as an opportunity to connect schools with the world of research to foster a better command of scientific processes in the young, raise their awareness of current issues faced in certain sectors and geographical regions, and help them make sense of the surrounding world. The purpose of this report is to provide a baseline for understanding the key conditions of successfully implementing citizen science activities in schools.
Nistor, A., Gras-Velazquez, A., Billon, N. & Mihai, G. (2018). Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Practices in Europe. Scientix Observatory report., December 2018, European Schoolnet, Brussels
Abstract: To complete the findings of the STEM Education Policies report, Scientix launched, with the support of Texas Instruments, the STEM Education Practices Survey, looking to collect information about how STEM teachers throughout Europe organise their teaching practices. The present STEM Education Practices in Europe report draws on the analysis of 3,780 responses (representing over 4,500 classes) to the STEM Education Practices Survey, answered by educators in 38 European countries. Its aim is to provide a grassroots, European-wide perspective on how STEM teachers organise their teaching, in terms of resources and pedagogical approaches used, on the current state of teachers’ professional development and support, and on their opinions and attitudes, particularly in relation to their school environment and their openness to cooperation with STEM industries.
European Schoolnet (2018). Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Policies in Europe. Scientix Observatory report. Education Policies in Europe, October 2018, European Schoolnet, Brussels
Abstract: This report is based on data gathered from sector experts. A survey was sent to STEM representatives from 14 European countries with questions on the place of STEM in the education system, the reform projects linked to STEM education, the situation regarding the professional capacity-building of STEM teachers and the development of specific pedagogical and learning resources. The structure of the report reflects that of the survey. The data collected was enriched with interviews with industry and university representatives to obtain feedback and points of view from the field.
M. Jiménez Iglesias, J. Müller, I. Ruiz-Mallén, E. Kim, E. Cripps, M. Heras, S. Filipecki Martins, M. van Laar, M. Tramonti, A. Valenzuela-Zapata, À. Gras-Velázquez, A. Akue Da Silva, A. Alexopoulos, R. Baldursson, M. Bes, Z. Benameur, Prof. Franz X. Bogner, V. Cala, E. Ceuleers, D. Daras, A. Dochshanov, D., Giampaoli, H. Kırmacı, K. Kolenberg, I. Martev, S. Ronsijn, E. Siotou, M. Tortosa, C. Vizzini. (2018), Gender and innovation in STE(A)M education, Scientix Observatory, June 2018
Abstract: Gender aspects continue to play an important role in science education, conditioning study choices or shaping beliefs about one's own capacities and those of others. Performing arts based initiatives are on the forefront of innovative science education approaches and have participatory, dialogic and dialectic qualities to engage students in democratic, inclusive and reflective ways of learning. Both these dimensions can be brought together in order to explore how arts-based science education can contribute to address gender bias and stereotypes in educational and team-collaborative settings.
Abstract: The 2015 report "Efforts to increase students' interest in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics studies and careers" by Kearney, C., devoted a short chapter to initiatives identified in 30 countries surveyed across Europe related to the recruitment of STEM teachers. It found that 37% of countries (BG, CH, DK, FR, HU, IL, LV, NL, SK, SE, and UK) report that initiatives are planned or in place to address the issue of recruiting more STEM teachers in schools, particularly at secondary level. Are the countries which reported national initiatives in this area, the only ones facing a shortage of STEM teachers? What are the main reasons behind this shortage and are these reasons similar across countries? Why are other countries not facing a shortage? These are the additional questions that this present article addresses, to complement the first analysis provided in the aforementioned report, and to probe the issue further.
Jiménez-Iglesias, M., Nistor, A., Gras-Velázquez, À., Balta, G., Caeiro Rodriguez, M., Caine, M., Cevik, O., Crouch, F., Cunha, C., Farkas, B., Godinho, A., Gomez, S., Idin, S., Jimenez Gonzalez, A., Mayordomo Reales, R., Mihai, G., Munoz Vidal, J., Ozkaynak, H., Rubic, M., Silvestre, M., Tomaz, F. and Valero, A.(2016), Multi-stakeholder partnerships in STEM education, Scientix Observatory, March 2016
Abstract: Expertise in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is becoming an increasingly important part in modern education systems. High quality STEM education is fundamental for the future of our society and, in order to ensure it, several international initiatives have been carried out, in Europe, during the last few years. This article describes a number of stakeholders with a strong presence in the STEM education scene while analysing how strategic cooperation, built in the form of multi-stakeholder partnerships, has the ability to influence the current state of STEM education. The article will also provide with a number of specific examples of multi-stakeholder partnerships that have been running during the last years and will point out on the benefits and weaknesses of this particular approach.
Nistor, A., Jiménez-Iglesias, M., Gras-Velázquez, À., Berbenni-Rehm, C., Cantó, J., Cunha, C., Daumur, I., Debono, F., Diaz Marcos, J., Gil Docampo, M., Idin, S., Ioan, T., Janes, M., Jochemczyk, W., Kerkhoven, A., Lambrechts, P., Lammer, L., Laporta Grau, M., Lefkos, I., Lepuschitz, W., Muñoz, A., Oledzka, K., Olivotto, C., Ortiz, J., Owen, L., Palavitsinis, N., Perez-Rubio, V. J., Pinzi, V., Rogers, M. W., Roszkowska-Lech, B., Souza, G., Vuk, B. & Wasaznik, A. (2016), Introducing new STEM topics in the curriculum, Scientix Observatory, March 2016
Abstract: Fast-advancing societal changes require flexible educational systems, ready to equip students with the skills and competencies needed to respond to them. Projects in science education tend to be quick in picking up these trends and are already producing materials and activities aimed at introducing new scientific thought in the classrooms. But curriculum change in many countries is often a lengthy process, involving complex decision-making mechanisms. This paper draws from the discussions between managers and representatives of over 20 projects in science education, which took place during the 10th Scientix Projects Networking Event and attempts to shed an overview on potential ways of introducing new STEM topics in educational curricula across Europe and beyond.
Jiménez-Iglesias, M., Nistor, A., Gras-Velázquez, À., Angelov, A., Barciela, P., de Jong, T., Fernandez, A., Korczynska, A., Lozano-Romaguera, C., Loziak, D., Matthews, B., McOwan , P., Olivotto, C., Pascucci, A., Pastor-Pina, F., Reutlinger, M., Slusarczyk, A., and Verdaguer-Codina, J. (2015), Materials created in projects: hands-on, online portals, papers..., Scientix Observatory
Abstract: This article provides an overview of the most commonly produced materials in international Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) projects as well as the benefits and difficulties of using them, their purpose and suitability, while providing with several examples. In the first part, a distinction is made between  networking platforms, that allow participants to meet, face to face or online to exchange ideas and good practices;  training materials, particularly targeted at teacher formation,  reports, which provide an insight into the project's development, and  portals and repositories, where project resources are being stored for user access. The article moves to evaluate the main strengths and weaknesses of each type of material. The objectives of the article are to determine why projects issue certain materials and to define to which project stakeholder is each type of material best suited.
Nistor, A., Jiménez-Iglesias, M., Gras-Velázquez, À., Arbues Sanguesa, A., Babicz, Z., Chehlarova, T., Cirovic, V., Cosma, I.M., Evagorou, M., Fischer, N., Gaist, O., Herrero, A., Jovanov, M., Lepre, A., Makris, N., Marino, L., Markovic, M., McNicol, S., Mihai, G., Muciaccia, M., Nanou, A., Niv, G., Palomo, J., Queralt, T., Rovira, J., Scorza, C., Suba, G. F., Toza, S. and Voukloutzi, E. (2015), Involving third parties, organizations and advisers in European projects– The Project Managers’ Position, Scientix Observatory
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the discussions between project managers and organization representatives operating in the field of Science Education on the topic of “involving third parties, organizations and advisors in European projects.” The discussions followed the characteristics of a focus group. The data was collected through detailed minutes taken over the duration of the event. Those present at the event answered four questions: (1) what organization types could provide support to their projects? (2) why would other organizations wish to get involved in their projects, (3) what type of partnerships can be established, and (4) what are the difficulties (and solutions to overcome them) that can be posed by working in partnerships? Following their discussion, it was found that project representatives (1) tend to lean more towards establishing partnerships with public institutions than with private ones, (2) tend to see the “sharing of knowledge” as an important and desirable practice amongst projects and organization, (3) are happy to involve different actors in their projects and, most importantly, (4) think that the benefits of collaboration outweigh the potential difficulties of partnerships.
Abstract: Whether the use of ICT tools can enhance learning outcomes has been a hotly debated issue for quite some time however, evidence in favor or against of the use of ICT tools is still rare. In our study we compare two groups of students studying Physics. One group used the Webcam Laboratory software in their studies the other did not. According to the test taken by the two groups the use of the ICT tool helped in deepening their understanding in some fields.
Abstract: In this study, we checked the views of 70 teachers and interviewed 10 teachers about their views about networking events and their contribution to the success of European projects. Most of the teachers have positive views about networking events and claim that this kind of events contribute not only to their personal interest in teaching STEM subjects, but also to their professional development. Also, teachers mentioned contribution to their personal skills such as self-confidence and communication. However, face to face networking events were considered by teachers as more effective than web-based events. We found that networking events contribute to success of European projects, because teachers who participate in this kind of events fill more involved in the project. They meet colleagues from different European countries, share ideas and practices one with others and build a common platform that is based on the common wish to succeed in a process of a special project with their students.
Velek, P. & Perez Rubio, V. J. (2013), Sharing Open Educational Resources in Multilanguage Repositories - the Learning Resource Exchange and Scientix, Christian M. Stacke (Ed.), Learning Innovation and Quality: The future of Digital Resources, Proceedings of the European and International Conference LINQ 2013, Rome, Italy, 19-17 May 2013, p. 43-51
Abstract: The article presents and compares two ways to stimulate sharing and exchange of online educational resources across different languages and educational settings: the Travel Well criteria for learning materials and the Scientix Translation on demand service. Special attention is paid to the general features of online resources in science and maths education and their practical implications for their successful re-use in various contexts. The conclusion outlines the conditions under which those two approaches yield the expected results.
Gras-Velázquez, À., Schwarzenbacher, B., Tasiopoulou, E., Debry, M., Bargoin, M., Kudenko, I. & Hernández, M. (2013), The Scientix Observatory: Online Communication Channels with Teachers and Students – Benefits, Problems and Recommendations, Morten F. Paulsen - András Szucs, 2013 (Ed.), The Joy of Learning: Enhancing Learning Experience, Improving Learning Quality, Proceedings of the EDEN Annual Conference 2013, Oslo, Norway, 12-15 June 2013, p. 457-466 (ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7)
Abstract: This paper concentrates on the format, benefits and problems encountered in communities of practice (CoP) and chats carried out by four projects: inGenious, Xperimania V, DESIRE and FuturEnergia. While inGenious’ CoP last six weeks, DESIRE’s CoP are only three days long. When looking for answers to specific questions, the DESIRE format works better but requires the information to be completed by shorter events or face to face workshops. When tackling general topics, longer CoP open all the time and facilitated by teachers, ensure the participation of teachers. inGenious and Xperimania V chats have experts replying via audio, while the FuturEnergia answers from the experts provided in writing, are better for schools with older technical equipment. The most efficient chats are carried out with a maximum of two experts, address up to 20 classes (400 pupils) and the chats have associated either an additional activity (like a competition) or the transcript which furthermore serves as an additional teaching resource.