Launch of ATS STEM

This week saw the kick-off meeting for H2 Learning’s new Key Action 3 Project, ATS STEM. The new project focuses on the area of STEM education and builds on two previously successful Key Action 3 Projects, EUFOLIO and ATS 2020. Over 12 months ago now H2 led the development of a preproposal submission with support from our partner organisations, and this week we all came together in Dublin City University to start working on the project. There is widespread agreement that STEM education is important in our lives, but many are asking how can we promote and develop STEM competences among society in general.

The project consortium is led by Dublin City University and includes H2 Learning, the Tampere University, University of Santiago de Compostela, Danube University Krems in Austria, the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the National Education Institute Slovenia, Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, Municipality of Haninge Sweden, Galician Department of Education,, University and Vocational Training, GO! Flemish Community Education and Kildare Education Centre.

ATS STEM Project partners at the kick-off meeting in DCU this week

Erasmus+ Key Action 3 projects focus on policy experimentation and one of the call areas focuses on the field of digital education and specifically digital assessment. The consortium decided to focus on digital assessment within the confines of STEM education, as they see a wide range of opportunities to use digital technologies to support student learning.

The project will unpack a number of key issues around STEM education and digital assessment so that teachers and students have more clarity around questions such as:

  • What is STEM education?
  • How can digital technology support formative assessment within STEM education?

STEM education is a relatively new term and it is contested, so the project will develop a framework to address this issue. Often STEM education is overly associated with Science but many see it as far more than this and ultimately involving cross-curricular learning activities as captured in the DES STEM Education Policy Statement.

Here is another similar view of STEM education from the US

STEM Education Overview

Having defined what STEM education is, the project will then develop a number of interdisciplinary learning tasks for trialling in over 100 schools across the partner countries. Digital technology will be used in trialling the tasks with students in upper primary and lower secondary schools in 8 European countries. We will focus on gathering formative assessment data in relation to these tasks, so that teachers and students can deepen their understanding of STEM in the process.

The kick-off meeting was opened by DCU President Professor Brian MacCraith who stated that:

The close cooperation of researchers, teachers and Education Ministries in each participating country should ensure that the outcomes of this project are practical, scalable and deliverable. In addition, the scale of the initiative across eight EU member states has the potential to develop new solutions that will significantly impact on the future of STEM Education in Europe”

The project is addressing a number of key issues that are relevant to ministries of education across Europe and work has already commenced on the ambitious work programme. There will be a major focus on supporting teachers to introduce STEM education across the 8 countries and the project will develop a blended learning course to support participants. The project website will be launched in the coming weeks and interested observers can follow the project over the next two years via the Web and a range of social media challenges. More on this once they are up and running.

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