BRITEC - Bringing Research into the Classroom
The BRITEC (Bringing Research Into the Classroom) project proposes introducing research into classrooms through Citizen Science activities, co-designed between schools and research institutions, initially in the four partner countries (Belgium, Greece, Poland and Spain), and with a long-term aim of massive uptake in Europe and beyond.
Europe’s shortage of STEM-skilled labour force is well documented, and the lack of STEM-skilled labour is predicted to be “one of the main obstacles to economic growth in the coming years”. There is a real need for innovative approaches to increasing pupils’ motivation towards STEM subjects and to offering teacher training in new ways of introducing science into classroom. In addition, a lot of work has to be done in improving the image of scientists at the societal level.
In this context, BRITEC proposes introducing research into classrooms through Citizen Science activities, co-designed between schools and research institutions, initially in the partner countries and with the long-term aim of massive uptake in Europe and beyond. Citizen Science is a relatively new way of conducting scientific research, by enlisting the support of ordinary citizens in the collection and interpretation of large amounts of data. BRITEC aims to offer teachers and researchers throughout Europe the tools and training to bring research into the classroom by engaging pupils in the processes of scientific research and supports exchanges between research institutions and schools.
Country: Belgium, Greece, Poland, Spain
Coordinator: Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland https://www.igf.edu.pl/home.php
Target groups: education authorities, general public, industry, parents, policy makers, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers
Start year: 2018
End year: 2021
Contact person: Adina Nistor, adina.nistor (at) eun.org
BRITEC offers schools and research institutions a multi-stakeholder collaboration model, easy to replicate, to support the promotion and uptake of STEM studies and careers. To build this model, BRITEC suggests a bottom-up approach, including three complementary blocks of activities, which build on one another to develop a set of exemplary practices and guidelines for the implementation of Citizen Science in the classroom and to ensure their large-scale dissemination and uptake:
- A foundational phase, including desk research into existing national and international Citizen Science initiatives and the development of a set of guidelines for introducing research into schools
The main outputs of this foundational phase are:
- O1. BRITEC report on bringing research into the classroom
The report will include an analysis of Citizen Science initiatives and pilots within the four project countries (Belgium, Spain, Poland and Greece), complemented by initiatives at the international level. Possible entry points for Citizen Science initiatives in the educational curriculum at the level of the partner countries will also be investigated. The report will thus provide a baseline understanding of the key characteristics of implementing successfully Citizen Science in schools and will inform the development of the subsequent project actions.
- O2. Bringing Research into the Classroom: guidelines for schools and researchers
Citizen Science research highlights the need to strengthen dialogue between researchers and schools and so make possible the successful introduction of Citizen Science in schools. O2 will produce two sets of guidelines: one addressed to teachers, meant to lay the groundwork for introducing scientific processes into the classroom, and one addressed to researchers, including recommendations on how to address students in schools.
- A Piloting Phase, during which six teachers and two researchers from each of the four participating countries (Belgium, Greece, Poland and Spain) will co-define and run a number of Citizen Science projects in the countries.
The main outputs of the piloting phase are:
- O3.BRITEC case studies and researchers’ science pills
Under the guidance of the project team, pilot teachers will draw up lesson plans in English, detailing pedagogical approaches to introducing Citizen Science into classrooms. To complement these pedagogical scenarios, researchers will produce “science pill” videos – short, max. 5 minutes long videos in English in which they talk about their work and/or the effects of bringing research into classrooms and their experiences during this piloting phase.
O4. BRITEC Citizen Science Toolkit
The purpose of the BRITEC Citizen Science Toolkit is to offer schools, teachers and universities/research institutions a set of resources, guidelines and tools which can be used to bring research into the classroom by establishing meaningful dialogue – first between schools and institutions involved in research, then expanding to the engagement of other stakeholders, such as parents, industry representatives, policy-makers, and representatives of civil society.
The large-scale deployment phase, including the development and running of a Massive Open Online Course and a set of recommendations for policy makers, meant to ensure that the good practices resulting from the project will spread from the initial set of participants to other schools and universities/research institutions interested in bringing innovation to STEM teaching.
The main outputs of the piloting phase are:
- O5. The Citizen Science training programme
The programme will be presented as a Massive Open Online Course offered free of charge to everyone interested, via the European Schoolnet Academy and will include four different one-week modules, each with a set of course activities with continuity, cohesion and progression through the modules.
- O6. Citizen Science in schools: Recommendations for decision makers
To capitalise on the activities carried out and the feedback received from partners and participants throughout the implementation of the project, a Citizen Science in Schools set of recommendations for decision makers will be produced at the end of the project.
The overall objective of the Bringing Research into the Classroom (BRITEC) project is to increase young Europeans’ interest in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) education and careers and to provide teachers with the appropriate pedagogical tools to enable them to teach STEM topics in a contextualised manner, linking research processes and results with everyday teaching practice.
To support teachers in achieving these aims, BRITEC will produce:
- A set of guidelines, specifically targeting teachers, meant to lay the groundwork for introducing scientific processes into the classroom (as part of O2)
- A set of lesson plans detailing pedagogical approaches for introducing Citizen Science into classrooms (as part of O3)
- A Citizen Science Toolkit, aiming to offer schools, teachers and universities/research institutions a set of resources, guidelines and tools which can be used to bring research into the classroom (O4)
- A Massive Open Online Course for teachers and researchers on bringing research into the classroom through Citizen Science approaches (O5)