STEP is an Erasmus + Strategic Partnership for higher education project carried out by Austrumlatvijas Tehnologiju vidusskola (Latvia), Asociatia Edulifelong (Romania), Eskisehir Il Milli Egitim Mudurlugu and SEHIT MEHMET SENGUL FEN LISESI (Turkey), Institute Perspectives (Bulgaria) and Osrodek Badawczo Edukacyjny w Zielonowie (Poland) Taking small STEPs to solve the problems in the immediate environment will be a big STEP in finding solutions to the global environmental problems. STEP, the name of the project, was chosen as a metaphor to reflect this approach. The project will also contribute to creating a strong network in the sense of finding a global solution.
Environmental problems are among the main challenges that concern the whole world. Unfortunately, many of the different institutions' work on this issue is only about raising awareness of it. Providing a solution to this problem with engineering-based disciplines will provide mutual benefits. It will draw attention to realistic solutions to environmental problems and engineering approaches, which is a field that students generally do not prefer. Within this context, the STEP project aims to produce engineering-oriented solutions with STEM understanding to real environmental problems.
The objectives of the STEP project are to establish a theoretical framework, and to ensure that different countries cooperate with one another in order to solve environmental problems and to develop solutions to global problems by acting on close environmental problems. In other words, to provide solutions to solve big problems with small STEPs.
To achieve this, the STEP project is conceived as a strategic partnership consisting of five different countries, with four students and two teachers from each, who will participate in the project activities. Besides, two project experts will participate in the activities to ensure project management. All of the participants have been involved in STEM studies and are able to speak English.
The main actitivy of the project is to visit every partner country, to determine the environmental problem affecting that region and to produce solutions by using the STEM approach. The implementation of the solution will be done by the host country itself after the visit is over. They will share the report on it with the others on the next visit. Infrastructure studies of the dissemination and sustainability plan will be carried out during these activities. The dissemination plan is to create STEM school clubs. In sustainability, these clubs will be transformed into an international network clubs.
The methodology behind the STEP project is the context-based method. In the project that started with the understanding of STEM, different solutions will be developed according to specific contexts. The main activity of the project, which started with theoretical frameworks, will then be transformed into practice and contribute to the development of creative solutions.
At the end of the project, STEM-focused solutions will be developed for each country's environmental problem. Participants will develop the ability to produce engineering-based solutions to environmental problems and they will develop basic skills, creating a culture of collaborative work. Cooperation between regions will increase, theoretical frameworks will be established, and they will be more sensitive to environmental problems. Besides, all work will be collected in a booklet. The book’s name will be "Story of Small STEPs". All activities will be shared with stakeholders through project Web page and social media tools . A project brochure will be prepared. STEM social club instructions will be prepared.
In terms of impact, it is planned to share the project results through the project booklet, social media tools, the project Web page, at regional and international level. The effects will also be spread over a wide area. Local collaboration will increase, the interest in engineering disciplines will increase, and they will develop different teaching and learning methods. Developing engineering-based solutions to environmental problems will increase the knowledge, skills and awareness of students towards this field. It will be used as a reference for future projects that will be implemented for environmental problems. In addition, school STEM social clubs will enable schools to use project outputs.
Finally, project outputs will continue to be used after the end of the project thanks to the international STEM club to be founded. In addition, project work will continue to be used in school festivals and related school exhibitions.
Country: Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Turkey
Coordinator: Austrumlatvijas Tehnoloģiju vidusskola, https://atv.rta.lv/
Target groups: college students, education authorities, secondary school students, teachers, youth clubs
Topic: Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Engineering, Environmental sciences, Forestry science, Maths, Physics, Technology, Education
Start year: 2018
End year: 2021
Contact person: Iohana Udrescu, firstname.lastname@example.org
During the STEP project, participants will recognize the environmental problems in the immediate area, then they will describe that problem and will work on how they can solve that problem by using STEM approaches. Besides, they will cooperate with different countries, they will also have experience in different working cultures.
Students will develop basic skills and knowledge on STEM literacy which is related to recognizing environmental problems, prioritizing, formulating solution proposals and implementing them. An ambience for sharing experiences related to the solution of environmental problems will be created.
The target group will become more sensitive to environmental problems and this will raise awareness of this topic among youth. The arget group’s interest in engineering and issues related to it will increase.
Social dialogues from different cultures and networks will be established. Different people from different regions will come together and create a common mind to solve problems. Participants and similar organizations will establish the network where they will gain knowledge and support on STEM application and school social clubs which will be based on environmental problems.