LINKS, Learning from Innovation and Networking in STEM

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The LINKS project (Learning from Innovation and Networking in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics) aims at improving inquiry-based STEM teaching through the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of teachers and their educators, both in primary and secondary education.

The LINKS project (Learning from Innovation and Networking in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics) brings together nine institutions in Austria, Finland, France, Italy and the United Kingdom that are all involved in the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of STEM teachers and their educators. They belong to, and some of them coordinate, national networks that altogether represent 120 local providers of CPD.

All the partners of the LINKS project consider CPD to be the most effective mechanism to enhance students’ achievements in STEM education. However, to make the most of the benefits of CPD, it is crucial to design and implement policies and programmes that effectively target teachers’ needs.

In relation to this, LINKS addresses several questions in the CPD of STEM teachers, including:

  • What type of knowledge and skills should be developed among teachers and educators?
  • What sort of innovations should be brought into CPD in terms of content, methods and tools, especially in the context of digitalisation?
  • Who should contribute to CPD apart from traditional CPD providers?
  • What should be the role of employers and the scientific community?

Additionally, the partners of the LINKS project take up another key challenge, which is the commitment of decision-makers to support the expansion and sustainability of a proposed CPD strategy. To raise a strong and long-lasting interest in the innovations and features developed by the project’s partners, their reinforced capacity to provide evidence of the positive impact of their CPD activities on teaching practices and learning outcomes is a pre-condition.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Finland, France, Italy, United Kingdom

Coordinator: Fondation La main à la pâte, France, https://www.fondation-lamap.org/

Programme: Erasmus+

Project Acronym:

Target groups: education authorities, industry, policy makers, researchers

Topic: Education, Other

Start year: 2016

End year: 2019

Url: https://www.fondation-lamap.org/en/links-project

Contact person: Laurence Constantini, Email laurence.constantini (at) fondation-lamap.org

The first step of the LINKS network’s work is to propose a common framework for CPD in STEM, which is based on the experience of the project’s five national networks and draws up some recommendations for its implementation. This takes the form of a capitalisation of best practices, which is the core content of this study, which analyses conditions for innovative and successful CPD, on the basis of activities and programmes that have been developed within qualification networks and that have proved beneficial in different European countries. Other publications include five guidance tools, designed to present the partners’ experiences in more depth, and related recommendations about the following cross-cutting issues, including:

  1. Work with schools.
  2. Work with the scientific community.
  3. Work with employers.
  4. Quality assurance and evidence-based impact evaluation.
  5. Building comprehensive partnerships and alliances for sustained CPD.

The LINKS project is not targeted at teachers as a priority, though they may find useful information about activities in CPD that are being developed in the project’s five partner countries.

 

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