ICSE collaborates with the ICSE consortium and other partners to implement various activities. Amongst these activities are conferences, like the successful conference series “Educating the Educators”, the participation in international competitions (“B-Day”) and issuing an international newsletter.
Involving research, practice and policy is key to promoting innovation in STEM education. Too often, ideas and innovative practices exist only in enclaves because of a lack of links and collaboration between research, practice and policy. This insight arose during our most recent international events and conferences – and is motivating us to strengthen ties between these spheres.
In recent years, we have organised policy-oriented international events in Brussels and Freiburg which informed policy about existing barriers in Europe to a broader take-up of innovative approaches such as inquiry-based teaching and learning. Implementation barriers which we experienced in the roll-out of PD programmes in European-wide projects (such as assessment practices, lack of cooperative structures at many schools, ineffective PD structures) were directly discussed with policy makers.
- Brussels, 2011: Towards Europe 2020: Inquiring minds – innovative pedagogies in mathematics and science education
- Brussels, 2013: Learning for the future: Changing mathematics and science classes
- Freiburg, 2016: Scaling-up STEM teacher professional development. Overcoming challenges through a research-policy-practice dialogue
Following up on a core barrier to a broader take-up of innovation in STEM education, a conference series entitled Educating the Educators has been established. Educating the Educators focuses on approaches to scaling-up STEM teacher professional development and has, though a research-based conference, from the outset been designed to enhance exchange between research, policy and practice. To date three conferences were held.
- Essen, 2014: The first Educating the Educators Conference on international approaches to scaling-up professional development in maths and science education takes place in Essen.
- Freiburg, 2016: Educating the Educators II boasts a highly innovative concept combining a classical research conference with interactive formats such as a Policy Seminar, a Materials Market and a Company Visit.
- Freiburg, 2019: Following the first two conferences, ETE III continues to provide a space for an exciting exchange of knowledge on approaches to and concrete materials for scaling up professional development in STEM education.
Educating the Educators IV is already planned and will take place in Utrecht, Netherlands. We will provide information, as the event approaches.
The Mathematics B-day is a mathematics assignment for teams of three or four students from upper secondary education on which they can work during one day. The assignment is developed annually by the Freudenthal Institute in the Netherlands. The teams work on an assignment – a very open ended problem situation – in which creative and higher order thinking skills and collaboration are required to solve the problem. The emphasis is on mathematical problem solving, conjecturing and proving. The result of the assignment is a written report.
As in the whole of Europe, we continue to encounter challenges to develop and sustain STEM education of the highest quality in Germany. The latest PISA results show that pupils lack to see STEM subjects’ relevance to their future life and careers-despite the ubiquitous role of science and technology in our daily lives now. One focus of our activities in Germany thus lies on promoting STEM education that first, promotes science literacy among all students (including migrants and students from other disadvantaged backgrounds) and second, lets pupils experience the role and usefulness of science knowledge as well as its possible role in their future jobs.
- Cooperation with regional industry and technology companies, and company visits for STEM teachers and students
- Professional development courses on teaching approaches such as inquiry-based learning, connections to real-life contexts and the world of work, as well as on dealing with cultural, achievement-related and gender-related heterogeneity and diversity in STEM classrooms, including a new ICSE certificate program ‘MINT teaching and the world of work’
- Meet and MINT – joint international mini-projects for German schools to work on a small task in parallel to other schools from abroad and thereafter exchange their thoughts and solutions to a problem
- Selection of and advise on high-quality tasks and classroom materials in German, developed and tested in cooperation with teachers, for all school types and age ranges in STEM education
- Quarterly publication of a selected STEM problem to work at for pupils
- Cooperation at events such as pupils’ days and competitions, teacher conferences and the like (e.g. Science Days) to provide easy-accessible information to enticing applications and uses of maths and science, and to our programs and materials in general