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: 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.