ARTIST (Action Research to Innovate Science Teaching) is a 3-year project funded by Erasmus+. It is a capacity-building project, aiming to provide Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for teachers and teacher educators around the topics of Action Research, Career Orientation for STEM students and Building Networks. SSPC works in close collaboration with HEIs in Germany, Turkey and Austria to achieve its goals.
The SSPC are leading a work-package tasked with establishing networks of schools, universities and local STEM industries in three countries. There are two ARTIST centres in The Philippines, two in Georgia and two in Israel. Within this project, the SSPC shares its considerable expertise of collaborating with industry as well as its experience delivering formal and informal science education, on an international scale.
An important deliverable for the ARTIST project was the delivery of three workshops in each of the partner countries. The content for these workshops reflected feedback from a needs-analysis survey. At the workshops, SSPC presented lectures on the value of collaborating with industry in terms of career-orientation, case studies on involving industry in informal STEM education programmes, as well as workshops on low-cost materials for science education. We also invited local STEM industry representatives to attend the workshops and share their perspective. Alongside this, we have contributed to the development of an Action Research Toolkit and Guidebook for teachers. At present, SSPC has helped to establish six ARTIST centres; taken together these comprise 33 schools, 32 STEM industries, 8 educational centres, and 6 HEIs globally.
When participating in any international project, cultural differences present unique challenges and opportunities. We have found huge benefits in learning about formal and informal STEM education in other settings. Likewise, there have been challenges – for example, ensuring all partners have the same expectations about the project and negotiating language barriers. Overall, we would recommend others to embrace these cultural differences as they offer unique insights. Furthermore, we would encourage others to pursue European funding to support STEM education and outreach activities at an international level.
To ensure that our outputs are meeting the needs of the partner country representatives, we conducted two needs analysis surveys. The responses have allowed us to understand the individual requirements, expectations and challenges of each partner. Reflecting on these responses, allowed us to create bespoke workshop content, relevant to each cultural setting. It also allowed us to capture the status of the ARTIST networks in each of the locations.
The ARTIST project will conclude in mid-October 2019. To summarize the learnings of ARTIST, SSPC will participate in the ARTIST final conference in Batumi, Georgia in July 2019. To maximize the longevity of the project, we plan to facilitate CPD workshops on the topic of Action Research and Networking for teachers in Ireland, working in collaboration with the ISTA. These learnings will be incorporated into our planned Teacher CPD programme, specifically through our Teachers in Residence programme.