MOST – Meaningful Open Schooling Connects Schools To Communities

$image_alt.data

The H2020 project MOST (Meaningful Open Schooling Connects Schools To Communities) opens up formal science education and establishes partnerships between schools and their communities (families, science education providers, citizens, businesses, etc.). Together, they work on environmental School-Community Projects (SCPs) with a thematic focus on waste management and energy saving.

The participatory MOST project directly responds to the needs and values of those involved, benefiting the community as a whole, and making schools agents of community well-being. MOST’s learning impact is boosted through an educational research-based approach that raises interest in science, scientific literacy and environmental responsibility.

To realise this powerful Open Schooling idea, the project consortium gathers 23 expert teams from 10 European countries, including science education research and science teaching staff from higher education institutes, schools, non-formal learning providers, educational authorities, civic organisations, municipalities and enterprises.

To initialise the school-community-projects the consortium provides support for schools in the form of preparatory workshops and potential partner search activities, and through the provision of operational and pedagogical instructions. Activities on the local, regional and European levels foster the sharing of knowledge, establishing further partnerships and mainstreaming MOST results across Europe.

The core of the project is the integration of diverse participants: science and research, formal and non-formal educational institutions, politics, economy and society – on a local level by cooperating within Open Schooling projects, as within the project consortium, which contains all the named institutions. The cooperation of diverse participants is the prerequisite to develop solution approaches, which take the needs of all concerned parties into consideration. At the same time, this is a driver for innovation, which will motivate all participants to commit in the long term.

The H2020 project MOST supports all school students and members of schools’ local communities – regardless of their gender, cultural/socio-economic background or achievement level – in developing scientific knowledge and interest in science. This enables them to pursue scientific careers which will, long-term, raise the numbers of scientists in Europe.

To this end, the project opens up school education with the purpose of creating learning spaces, which are accessible for all citizens to join, and which let social groups learn from, about and with each other. Research and practice have shown that engagement of citizens in open and participatory science education processes supports their scientific literacy and ability to make informed decisions. Plus, these School Community Projects (SCPs) will take place in the context of a research-based approach to didactically foster interest in science, and scientific and transversal skills.

Particular attention is paid to encouraging and enabling girls to tap their science potential. Research has shown that girls respond much better to science teaching with links to real life and authentic contexts, and with a focus on inquiry-based learning and cooperative ways of working. The project addresses this in various ways.

The project is evaluated using a mixed methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative methods. The evaluation concept has a twofold purpose: on the one hand it is intended to measure the project’s short-term impact in terms of the promotion of science literacy, perceived relevance and positive attitudes towards science and scientific careers, as well as increased sustainability awareness and individual capacity to act on environmental issues. On the other hand, it should provide a collection of multiple case studies from ten European countries, illustrating how School Community Projects (SCPs) may be articulated to adapt to different regional contexts, as well as barriers and supportive aspects for their successful and productive implementation.

The following research questions frame the evaluation of the MOST project:

  1. What are the characteristics of good SCPs and the main barriers to a successful implementation and networking?
  2. How do participants perceive and experience SCPs?
  3. How do SCPs affect students’ attitudes and beliefs about science, scientific careers and the relevance of science and science education for their lives? Are there gender differences?
  4. How do SCPs affect science literacy and participants’ awareness with regard to environmental challenges and their role in finding solutions? Are there any gender differences?

The collection of evaluation instruments includes a template for reporting on case studies, questionnaires for the main participants (students and teachers) used either as pre/post instruments (student questionnaire) or just post instruments (teacher questionnaire), along with guidelines and basic questions for the semi-structured interviews of a wide range of stakeholders using focus group discussions (teachers, students, school leaders, MOST advisors, family members as well as representatives from the scientific community, business or policy sectors).

A final report will draw on the evidence collected through two cycles of SCP implementation. It will discuss the impact of the project and provide a rich picture on how to contribute to a more interested and literate society through the development of SCPs. This will inform schools, policy makers and communities beyond the Consortium on how to run such projects. Stay up to date!

Teachers, watch out: Are you ready to open the doors of your classroom to society? Would you like your students to work on real-life challenges that affect your community? Then start a School-Community Project! The MOST project will support you.

A School-Community Project (SCP) is where a teacher and students join forces with citizens – parents, neighbours or committed people, but also professionals from local businesses, organisations or the community. Together they work on a project to address an environmental issue affecting their community.

This involves working at eye level and incorporating the experience and knowledge of all participants. The solutions developed are then presented to the public through short video clips, pictures, posters, flyers, newspaper articles, etc. There are no limits to creativity and the choice of medium! Finally, you will have the chance to present your project at the MOST fair which will connect all SCPs in its key region.

School-Community-Projects can be carried out in all grade levels (primary and secondary school). To support you, the MOST project offers a step-by-step manual for planning and performing SCP and pedagogical guidelines. This guide introduces co-creation processes and collaborative working methods as well as information on pedagogical concepts we recommend applying, especially for involving girls. Furthermore, it offers personal support in ten key regions – MOST workshops to introduce the materials and connect you with community stakeholders willing to cooperate with schools and answer open questions. For individual support, you can contact your National MOST advisor who will accompany the planning and implementation of your individual School-Community Project.

Not quite convinced yet? Get inspired by projects that have already been carried out, exchange ideas with teachers who have experience of SCP! The website of the European Open Schooling network provides you with more information on the concept of Open Schooling, the possibility of networking with open-minded teachers across Europe and a lot of inspiring voices! More information on the project, its key regions and contacts of the National MOST advisors can be found here: http://icse.eu/most.

 

If you know of European or national project in STEM education, please let us know. 

Submit project

 


Read more on what Scientix offers to science education projects


For project managers:

connect with Scientix!


For project managers:

Request support for your project from Scientix Teacher Ambassadors!