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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana

indireinforma

15 maggio 2017

Scientix, the European community for the promotion of STEM subjects

Translation by Giulia Lombardo

Scientix is the European community which promotes and sustains the collaboration among teachers, researchers, decision-makers and professionals engaged in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

The programme is coordinated by European Schoolnet with the financial support of the EU framework programme Horizon 2020 for research and innovation. It was started in 2009 to stimulate students’ interest and engagement in the study of scientific subjects with a view to inspiring the new generation of researchers. The project aims to enhance the teacher role and disseminate new teaching methods, by connecting teachers on the entire European territory and investing in their training.

Thanks to the Scientix community, teachers can share new pedagogical approaches, take inspiration from good practices and participate in European projects, to improve their students’ performances in scientific subjects, and encourage their interest in a professional career in this key sector for EU’s future investments. An online repository, collecting class didactic resources and European projects dedicated to the STEM subjects, was also created within Scientix.

From 2013, a network of national contact centres, operating at national and local level, was created to disseminate the project and guarantee the inclusion of the promoted activities in the political strategies of each country. For what concerns Italy, this role was entrusted to Indire which is engaged in the promotion of the Scientix network with its related activities, and their integration and coordination at national level. The Institute is also in charge of the selection of the didactic resources and Italian projects, to be published on the web portal.

Another important linking role for the community is played by the national ambassadors. They are innovative teachers of the scientific disciplines selected by European Schoolnet, and play the role of national and local reference points: they give information on Scientix to their colleagues, advise them on how to start collaborations and evaluate materials and tools published on the portal.

The confrontation among members of the community is not only carried out on the portal: in these 5 years of activities, more than 20 national conferences have been organised, and also two international conferences, which attracted more than 5,000 people. These events have a strategic function for the project, not only because they allow teachers to discuss and reflect with other STEM sector professionals (such as researchers, educators, and policy makers), but also because they play a key role in starting partnerships and collaborations.

STEM dissemination – Scientix uses several channels to disseminate ideas, materials and other teaching resources, including:

  • the portal, a repository with over 4,700 resources available, which also gives its users the possibility to get in touch directly, through forums and chats, and to follow webinars on scientific education;
  • the matching tool that allows researchers and project managers to contact the members of the Scientix community and invite them to collaborate on STEM education projects and initiatives;
  • the blog, which sees the collaboration of several teachers throughout Europe and reports events, news and opinions on current science topics;
  • the newsletter, with more than 2,300 subscribers, provides information on planned initiatives and topics related to education and research;
  • dedicated YouTube channel with video interviews with experts and community members.

The dissemination activity makes also use of the communication potentials of social media: since 2010, there has been a Twitter account which now has about 4,000 followers, and the Facebook group where registered teachers can exchange ideas and opinions.

To ensure the full use of all contents and materials, Scientix ensures that all its members have access to a translation service.

On January 25, 2017, Scientix received an international recognition from the HundrED project, the world-wide organisation created in Finland, that deals with identifying and experimenting best practices in education and spreads them internationally. The project was selected as one of the top 10 best innovations in the world.

For information about the activities promoted by Indire within Scientix: Maria Guida (m.guida@indire.it) e Serena Goracci (s.goracci@indire.it)

 

The Scientix portal