Ten years of successful international collaboration have established the University of Education Freiburg as a significant research centre and disseminator of innovative practices in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. With the establishment of the International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE), the year 2017 marks another step forward in our work linking European research on STEM education with its transfer into practice and policy.
The rationale behind ICSE is to subsume and further enhance our institution’s successful activities in this field, and to sustainably link research-, policy- and practice-oriented key actors in STEM education from across Europe through the international centre. The establishment of ICSE at the University of Education Freiburg is therefore paralleled by the foundation of a Consortium for STEM Education, comprising leading research and development institutes from across Europe. The Consortium of institutes, all with a focus on STEM education research and its transfer, will serve to strengthen further collaboration and networking, such as through joint research and projects, a newsletter, staff and student exchanges, and other activities.
The ultimate aim of ICSE is to help improve STEM education across Europe, that is, to give students insights into authentic features of STEM subjects and their connection to real-life contexts, to raise achievement levels in STEM and to make science literacy accessible to all students no matter what their gender, their cultural background or their socioeconomic background, and to promote the interest of young people in STEM careers.
Our focus in STEM education research and its transfer into day-to-day practices is therefore on issues such as:
- The research on innovative teaching approaches such as inquiry-based learning, connections to real-life contexts, interdisciplinarity or to the diversity in classrooms
- The development, implementation and evaluation of feasible and impactful professional development concepts
- Research on concepts to scale up teacher professional development, also taking into account systemic barriers
- Development, in situ-evaluation and refinement of high-quality classroom materials and professional development materials, anchored in the field of design research
ICSE – International Centre for STEM Education: http://icse.eu/
STEM PD Net (2016-2019) is an innovative Erasmus+ project to strengthen European collaboration and exchange among STEM Professional Development Centres in Europe. The project’s core aims include providing selections of STEM Professional Development (PD) materials of the highest quality and to develop ready-to-use guidelines and reference materials for STEM PD providers which are suitable for use across Europe. Further STEM PD Net key targets are to reflect and promote the organisational development of the centres in each national context; and strengthen the voice of these centres throughout Europe.
In these ways, STEM PD Net is contributing to improving the quality and relevance of STEM teacher PD on a large scale. The project offers transnational exchange and mutual learning opportunities in a stable European network and links research with practice.
The STEM PD Net project is backed by the European STEM Professional Development Centre Network. Since its founding in 2014, this network is already comprised of 30 PD centres from 12 European countries – and is expanding continuously. The University of Education Freiburg serves as the network coordinator.
The STEM PD Net project has received funding from Erasmus+ KA2 (Key action for ‘Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices’) and is coordinated at the International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE) of the University of Education Freiburg, Germany.
STEM PD Net – European Network of STEM Professional Development Centres:
IncluSMe (2016-2019) is an Erasmus+ project focussing on intercultural learning in mathematics and science initial teacher education. IncluSMe (Intercultural learning in mathematics and science education) offers a constructive contribution for tackling one of Europe’s greatest challenges: education for an increasing number of refugee and immigrant youth, to integrate them into European educational systems and to provide for stable, socially cohesive societies. The project aims to increase the quality of higher education curricula for prospective maths and science teachers by linking maths and science education with intercultural learning – and thereby strengthening students’ social, civic and intercultural competences.
Core to IncluSMe is the design and implementation of open access teaching modules on intercultural learning for prospective maths and science teachers.
By offering international summer schools and multiplier events, IncluSMe will strengthen transnational cooperation between universities in establishing mobility programmes for maths and science students in initial teacher education.
The project brings together 11 teams of higher education institutions for initial teacher education from across Europe comprising experts in maths and science education, in inclusion and diversity, in mobility and intercultural learning, as well as people involved in pilot projects for refugees.
IncluSMe – Intercultural Learning in Mathematics and Science Education:
The Eurydice network supports and facilitates European cooperation in the field of lifelong learning by providing information on education systems and policies in 38 countries and by producing studies on issues common to European education systems.
It consists of:
- 42 national units based in 38 countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme (28 Member States, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey)
- a coordinating unit based in the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels
Eurydice is a network whose task is to explain how education systems are organised in Europe and how they work. We publish descriptions of national education systems, comparative studies devoted to specific topics, indicators and statistics in the field of education. Our reports show how countries tackle challenges at all education levels: early childhood education and care, primary and secondary education, higher education and adult learning.
Science on Stage Europe provides a European platform for science teachers to exchange teaching concepts and to share ideas. The ultimate goal is to improve science teaching by encouraging creativity in science teachers. Through this we will encourage more schoolchildren to consider a career in science or engineering by spreading good teaching concepts among Europe’s science teachers.
Since its launch in 2000, Science on Stage has reached about 100,000 teachers and teacher trainers in 30 countries (extrapolation by country representatives in 2011 and 2015). A network of National Steering Committees in these countries provides the interface to their national science teaching communities. Moreover non-European countries have the possibility to join the Science on Stage network as ‘Associate Members’, spreading best practice teaching ideas for STEM around the globe.
Science on Stage Europe is the umbrella organisation that supports the 30 member countries with the realisation of their activities and helps with coordination of the Science on Stage festivals. The broadening of the network, the acquisition of new members and various administrative tasks carried out by the Science on Stage Europe office in Berlin.
Since 2011, Science on Stage Europe e.V. is a registered non-profit association recognised by German law.
The aims of Science on Stage Europe are to improve the quality of teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by…
- …enabling science teachers to exchange teaching concepts and experience
- …inspiring and enthusing science teachers
- …informing teachers about wider scientific research
Science on Stage Europe: http://www.science-on-stage.eu/
European Schoolnet is the network of 34 European Ministries of Education, based in Brussels. As a not-for-profit organisation, we aim to bring innovation in teaching and learning to our key stakeholders: Ministries of Education, schools, teachers, researchers, and industry partners.
We are driven by our mission to support education stakeholders in Europe in the transformation of education processes for 21st century digitalized societies. We do this by identifying and testing promising innovative practices, sharing evidence about their impact, and supporting the mainstreaming of teaching and learning practices aligned with 21st century standards for inclusive education.
Since its founding in 1997, European Schoolnet has used its links with education ministries to help schools become effective in the pedagogical use of technology, equipping both teachers and pupils with the necessary skills to achieve in the digital society.
Our activities encompass three strategic areas:
- Providing concrete evidence and data in the area of innovation in education on which to base policy recommendations
- Supporting schools and teachers in their teaching practices
- Developing and sustaining a network of schools engaged in innovative teaching and learning approaches
Our main objectives are to:
- Support collaboration & cooperation among schools in Europe
- Support professional development of teachers & school heads
- Offer pedagogical & information services with European added value
- Disseminate good practice & investigate new models for schooling & learning
- Contribute to the development of technology-enhanced learning in schools
- Provide services, content & tools based on ICT to members & partner networks
European Schoolnet: http://www.eun.org/
Scientix promotes and supports a Europe-wide collaboration among STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) teachers, education researchers, policymakers and other STEM education professionals.
In its first stage (2009-2012), the project built an online portal to collect and present European STEM education projects and their results, and organised several teacher workshops. The main networking event was the Scientix conference, held in May 2011 in Brussels.
The goal of the second phase of the Scientix project (2013 – 2015) was to expand this community to the national level. Through a network of National Contact Points (NCPs), Scientix reached out to national teacher communities, and contributed to the development of national strategies for wider uptake of inquiry-based and other innovative approaches to science and maths education.
This activity is continued in the third stage of Scientix (2016-2019), which is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union for research and innovation. Scientix was originally born at the initiative of the European Commission and has, since its inception, been coordinated by European Schoolnet, a Brussels-based consortium of thirty ministries of education, which is a driving factor for innovation in teaching and learning and fosters pan-European collaboration of schools and teachers.