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SSPC Impact Case Study: Education and Public Engagement

ARTIST: Research innovating science teaching

Project Lead:

Dr Sarah Hayes (lead), Dr Aimee Stapleton, Dr Martin McHugh, Dr Peter Childs

Areas of Impact:

Human Capacity, New Knowledge, Policy & Public Service, Professional Services

ARTIST the 3-year project funded by Erasmus+ Action Research To Innovate Science Teaching with partners: BT Ireland, Universität Bremen, Ilia State University, Alpen-Adria-Universität, University of Limerick, Gazi Universitesi, Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Oranim Academic College of Education, The Academic Arab College for Education, Ateneo de Manila University, De la Salle University.

Funded by Erasmus+, ARTIST (Action Research to Innovate Science Teaching) was a 3-year capacity building project providing continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers and teacher educators on the topics of action research; career orientation for STEM students; and building networks between schools, academia and industry. The project took an interpretation of action research that was accompanied, participatory, and teacher‐centred. Innovations were devised, implemented, researched, and reflected on by the practitioners under the direction of science education researchers from the higher education institutions (HEIs)  leading to the next step of the process.

ARTIST provided the framework for the development of appropriate training materials, courses and activities. The project will be the platform for the exchange and sustainable implementation of action research into science education within the participating HEIs. SSPC worked in close collaboration with HEIs in Germany, Turkey and Austria to develop and build capacity in these areas and with partners in the Philippines, Georgia and Israel. A unique feature of ARTIST was the development of networks of universities with schools and industry/SMEs to connect the idea of action research to science education innovation. This was with the aim of improving the career opportunities for young people in STEM.

In our work package SSPC established networks of schools, universities and local STEM industries in three countries. Each HEI within ARTIST worked with SSPC as WP lead to build a regional network around it, consisting of the HEI, secondary schools and representatives of industry/SMEs. The Philippines, Georgia and Israel each contain two ARTIST centres. In this project we shared our considerable expertise in industry collaboration as well as our experience delivering formal and informal science education, and implemented it at an international scale. A step-by-step guide was developed and shared, as well as examples of lesson plans co-created with industry.  The report compiled by SSPC on this work detailed the achievements and difficulties experienced by the partner countries in establishing their networks. This is hugely valuable, as much important learning comes from recognition of the challenges as well as the successes.

An important deliverable for ARTIST 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 share their perspectives. Alongside this we have contributed to the development of an action research toolkit and guidebook for teachers. SSPC has helped to establish six ARTIST centres; taken together these comprise 33 schools, 32 STEM industries, 8 educational centres, and 6 HEIs globally. Across the project partners 10 modules were reformed and 3 new modules developed to include ARTIST learnings, and these are run annually in 10 institutions across Georgia, the Philippines and Israel. Approximately 303 student teachers were trained, along with 87 academic staff members, 15 administrative staff and 1277 others across stakeholder groups (private sector, NGOs, civil servants etc.)

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.

Research References
Posters and presentations
The project has been funded with support from the European Commission. All posters reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Website: http://www.erasmus-artist.eu/index.html
ARTIST Guidebook:
The ARTIST project concluded in mid-October 2019. To summarize the learnings of ARTIST, SSPC participated in the ARTIST final conference in Batumi, Georgia in July 2019. To maximize the longevity of the project, CPD workshops were facilititated on the topic of Action Research and Networking for teachers in Ireland, working in collaboration with the ISTA. These learnings will have been incorporated into our SSPC EPE programme, and shared with colleagues in UL Campus Engage and School of Education.

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