A European education platform for STEM teachers
Over the past years there have been many discussions about the fact that Europe faces both a marked decrease in the interest of young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM] subjects and a decline in the uptake of STEM careers. It is widely acknowledged that the key to address this problem is to re-imagine science education in order to make it more appealing and fit the needs of all students.
In 2013 several science education stakeholders agreed on the importance of developing more effective science teaching techniques, including Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE), as a basis for improving the way science is taught in schools. As a result, the European education platform European Science Education Academy (ESEA) was created, as a common effort of the European Physical Society, Ellinogermaniki Agogi, Núcleo Interactivo de Astronomia, the University of Bayreuth and the Cardiff University to support the modernisation and continuous development of STEM education and training.
Successfully supporting teachers
ESEA supports educators in their professional development to introduce in classrooms around the world the necessary changes to improve the uptake of science careers. By modernising science education and by providing the necessary professional development support, it is possible to prepare students better for their future careers, with the necessary skills and competence for future generations.
ESEA website: http://esea.ea.gr
Strong interest by teachers from all over Europe in the workshops and summer schools offered by ESEA partners was shown in 2015. Over 100 teachers became familiar with a unique collection of open digital educational resources. Numerous workshops have been offered to train teachers to link these resources with innovative pedagogical practices, in particular Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) and how to design educational scenarios by repurposing existing eLearning tools. They learned about online learning resources (e.g. Open Discovery Space), how to use and integrate virtual and remote labs and how to create, find and share new engaging lesson plans and educational scenarios for all school levels and distributed in all science subject domains.
Through these and many more activities, workshops and seminars organised by ESEA partners in 2014/2015, over 1000 teachers have been directly involved, trained and supported in modernising their science teaching. The positive feedback and the strong interest in the training offered, but also in the possibility to connect and network with teachers from all over the world, has been overwhelming. We are encouraged and excited to see that ESEA’s vision and objectives are being shared by so many enthusiastic teachers. In only 8 weeks after publishing the ESEA training workshops for 2016/2017 (see list below), we have already received over 250 registrations!
Creating a Competence Framework for IBSE education
The ESEA teachers professional development programme is at the core of the academy’s activities. This is why in the latest ESEA meeting in January 2016 in Athens it was decided to develop and offer a common competence framework for science education. The goal is to create a structure that clearly defines the necessary skills and competence needed by science teachers in order to implement modern science education. By introducing a standard-based approach to teaching science by inquiry, ESEA will be able to develop, improve and target its training even more specifically to the needs and competence of teachers.
Building a European Community
Based on this overwhelming interest, ESEA is expanding its activities throughout Europe, including new dates and destinations (e.g. Canary Islands, UK, Austria), in order to build a European community of practice, providingscience teachers with even more training opportunities, information and resources:
- Inspiring Science Education Academy – http://esea.ea.gr/content/ise-academy-2016
10-15 July 2016, Marathon, Greece
- Astronomy Adventures in Canary Islands – http://esea.ea.gr/content/astronomy-adventures-canary-islands
25-29 July – Canary Islands, Spain
- ESA – GTTP Space Awareness Workshop – http://esea.ea.gr/content/esa-gttp-space-awareness-workshop
10-14 October 2016 – Netherlands
- Beyond Earth Orbit: Solar System Exploration and Spacesuits – http://esea.ea.gr/content/beyond-earth-orbit-solar-system-exploration-and-spacesuits
09-14 January 2017, Innsbruck, Austria
- Science Through Space and Time – http://esea.ea.gr/content/science-through-space-and-time
09-14 April 2017, United Kingdom
ESEA is committed to support teachers throughout the journey of change. The path together starts or continues in the training session and is perpetuated by the strong network of support that ensures educators an ongoing support.