Newsletter #1 Latest update in open schooling initiatives
Welcome to the first OStogether newsletter.
We, the people behind this initiative represent 9 EU funded projects linked to science education innovation and are located in 33 different countries. Our projects are planting the seed for new education systems that foster the competencies that modern societies require, and that will help align research and innovation processes to societal values, needs and expectations.
It is with this in mind that we are promoting the concept of open schooling: a concrete new way to approach science education programs by cultivating partnerships between schools and their surrounding communities. Students, teachers, and other relevant local actors are invited to rethink together the way they work, develop new projects to address local challenges, contribute to community well-being, and promote an active global citizenship attitude.
These newsletters are intended at anybody who is genuinely interested in science education and curious about new approaches and methodologies to connect with learners. And if you want regular news and updates of our journeys, follow @OStogether on Facebook and Twitter.
For our first issue we have interviewed Karen Slavin. Ms Slavin is the European Commission’s policy officer behind the calls funding our Open Schooling initiatives. This interview will help you understand the context where all the open schooling and related projects fit. And you will also have the chance to understand a bit better how each project is approaching this Open Schooling concept.
Citizens engagement in science and new approaches to education
Karen Slavin DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
Karen Slavin works for the European Commission and one of her responsibilities is managing the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). She is a Computer Scientist and worked in energy research for 15 years before moving to the Directorate General for Research and Innovation in Brussels. She gained an interest in science competitions as a child growing up in Dublin where a visit to the Irish contest was an annual event. She is also responsible for Science Education projects and Science Education policy in DG RTD
Open Science Hub project engages schools and local stakeholders in using research and innovation as a tool to tackle local relevant challenges and contributing to sustainable community development. Importantly, OSHubs are being created in communities that traditionally do not engage with research and innovation due to various barriers - geographical location, socio-economic status, ethnic minority groups.
For that, OSHubs work as mediators in each local community – as school-driven Science Shops –, facilitating the bridge between the needs of the schools and their local context, and supporting them to become active agents for collaboration between families, universities, industry, local governments, civil and wider society, by engaging in real life projects that meet societal needs.
PHERECLOSbuilds upon the theory of science capital and the experience that Children’s Universities have made in the Third Mission of universities. They became intermediaries between various actors in the educational and social landscape – as incubators of change. Built around them, PHERECLOS develops innovative Open Schooling models of collaboration in six regional clusters, which serve as experimental testbeds for schools and affect the quality of STEM engagement opportunities in general. Their regional effectiveness will lead to the development of implementation guidelines and policy briefs to enhance the sustainability of the overall approach, which is continuously informed by findings from academic implementation research and a Mentoring Programme for further 40 organisations.
Coordinator: Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands
The OSHub project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 824581.
Coordinator: Vienna University Children’s Office, Austria
The PHERECLOS project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 824630.
PULCHRAaims to explore the open schooling concept through the theme “Cities as urban ecosystems” by facilitating participation of citizens of all ages in scientific discovery; by building a learning, exploring and activation network; by developing knowledgeable, innovative and participatory communities; and by exploring common issues related to the city as an urban ecosystem through specially designed City Challenges.
City Science Teams are being created in schools with the participation of stakeholders from the wider community. These City Science Teams will scientifically investigate local issues related to cities as urban ecosystems in collaboration with the local community, professionals and other key stakeholders. An online City Challenges Platform facilitates the exchange of information and ideas between participants and partners across the PULCHRA network, promoting the open-schooling participatory focus of the project.
SEAS - Science Education for Action and Engagement towards Sustainability - project aims to develop scientific literacies and agencies for solving complex and interdisciplinary sustainability challenges in their local communities. SEAS facilitates collaboration between schools and local communities facing sustainability challenges through open schooling designs and establishes a flexible and open-ended toolkit of concepts, tools (CChallenge, SenseMaker, LORET, etc) and methods (ChangeLab, Social Design Experiments, etc) designed to support the establishment and development of open-schooling networks where teachers and students can work together with out-of-school partners. Six open-schooling networks have been established in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Norway and Sweden.
Coordinator: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
The PULCHRA project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 824466.
Coordinator: University of Oslo, Norway
The SEAS (Science Education for Action and Engagement towards Sustainability project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 824522.
Open Schooling projects having started in 2020:
SALL - Schools As Living Labs - project proposes the living lab methodology as a technique for the development of open schooling activities linked to science learning in Europe’s schools. This is demonstrated through activities prioritizing a focus on the theme of the food system and its links to the Food 2030 research and innovation policy of the European Union.
The SALL team members come from diverse worlds: schools, universities and research organisations, science centres, NGOs, and business. They join forces with the stakeholder community in order to co-create, implement and evaluate new ways for schools to partner with their local communities and become agents of community well-being through their involvement in co-creative research and innovation in real-life settings.
Make it Open aims to develop a sustainable infrastructure of open schooling in Europe based on the approach of the maker movement. The project will introduce maker education, citizen science, and constructionism learning as transformative approaches to teach and learn STEAM in a more tangible, applicable, and appealing way. It is an approach that positions student self-efficacy, agency, and interest at the center, asking students to see themselves as people who can ask, develop, test, iterate and take part in shaping the world.
Make it Open will create open schooling hubs in 10 European countries where more than 150 schools will collaborate with families, private companies, and civil society organizations, using the maker movement approaches to solve real challenges in and with the community. A MOOC will be offered to teachers to encourage the uptake of the project's results. It will also contribute to establishing an online community of open schooling educators.
Coordinator: Ellinogermaniki Agogi, Greece
The ‘Schools as Living Labs’ (SALL) project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 871794.
Coordinator: Bloomfield Science Museum, Israel
The Make it Open project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 872106.
We all want more young people to aspire to a career in science, and to be able to think scientifically in their everyday life. Yet the traditional curriculum results in too many students thinking is that ‘science is not for me’. What can we do? According to recent research, these students lack ‘science capital’, especially those from disadvantaged groups. The solution is to add more opportunities into the curriculum for these students to see what scientists do, to talk science with their families, and to appreciate the impact of science on the world. CONNECT will provide these missing opportunities in the form of add-ons to existing units. that tick many curriculum boxes and are easy for teachers to use:
Future-oriented support from a scientist
Engaging family activities
Fun tasks to apply science ideas
Inclusive strategies for teaching skills
Coordinator: The Open University and EXUS, United Kingdom
The CONNECT project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 872814
Research projects linked to learning outside the classroom:
SySTEM 2020 is examining science learning outside the classroom in more than 19 countries across Europe and Israel to highlight the value that it can have in developing scientific literacy. SySTEM 2020 has done this at the organisational level by mapping over 2000 organisations across Europe that provide science learning outside the classroom, and at the learner level by surveying over 1400 young learners to explore STEAM learning ecologies, and what factors help to connect young learners to science.
The project brings together 22 different organisations involved in this field to produce new tools for teachers and educators that will support and cultivate the learner’s interest in science learning and help to design engaging and equitable programmes.
COMnPLAY SCIENCE is designed to support young people’s engagement with science and aims to help Europe better understand the new ways in which non-formal and informal science learning is taking place through various coding, making, and play activities. The project has conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative research involving over 4000 individuals. It has also created an online Inventory of Practices which contains data regarding informal and non-formal science learning practices (e.g., workshops, activities, events) from all over Europe and results stemming from 27 case studies conducted by the project. Additionally, the project developed the COMnPLAYer app which helps children discover and learn about science and enables them to have their say on what it actually means to them.
Coordinator: Science gallery at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
SySTEM 2020 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 788317
Coordinator: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
The COMnPLAY SCIENCE project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, through Grant Agreement No. 787476. Coordinator: The Open University and EXUS, United Kingdom
Open Schooling together is a joint initiative of 9 projects funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Programme. It aims to raise awareness on the opportunities of open schooling and on the different methodologies to implement this concept.