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Farewell, STEM PD Net!

By November 2019 December 9th, 2019 No Comments

An innovative project comes to an end. New ready-to-use STEM PD guides are now available

Laura Wanckel

How time flies! The innovative Erasmus+ project STEM PD Net (2016-2019) ended successfully in August of 2019. The aim of the project was to strengthen European collaboration and exchange among STEM Professional Development Centres in Europe. We found solutions to supporting teachers, who nowadays have to deal with complex classroom realities, by adopting new integrative methods in professional development (PD) activities. The work of the STEM PD Net project created the foundation of methods and materials that will increase the quality in STEM education and STEM teacher professional development.

A group of experts from 12 different STEM PD centres and 2 schools in teacher PD from across Europe has put together a set of guidelines and conceptual materials to improve the quality of professional development in STEM education by strengthening the position, work and knowledge base of STEM PD centres across Europe. Therefore, STEM PD Net developed guidelines to day-to-day implementation, which link the best practice and research in STEM PD and offer a solid basis for institutions to examine and further develop their own structures and processes. They inspire STEM PD providers to self-evaluate and improve their own courses. For this, we have considered several users:

1st STEM PD Net Meeting in Freiburg, December 2016. ©ICSE/STEM PD Net

2nd STEM PD Net Meeting in Gothenburg, May 2017. ©ICSE/STEM PD Net

3rd STEM PD Net Meeting in Madrid, November 2017. ©ICSE/STEM PD Net

(1) Government agencies can benefit from these guidelines for reforming and working with their professional development centres.

(2) STEM PD centres themselves may use the guidelines for reflection on their practice in order to maintain and achieve quality.

(3) STEM PD teacher educators will find stimulating material on STEM teacher PD that they can use and adapt, but can also familiarize themselves with quality assurance measures.

The guidelines are ready to use and applicable in day-to-day implementation:

(1) “Ready-to-use Guide for High Quality STEM Professional Development” presents concrete examples illustrating its theoretical content. It is easy to apply in a daily context and promotes the idea of challenging participants to reflect on their work.

(2) “How can we measure the impact of a PD activity? Ready-to-use guidelines” gives pragmatic advice on the large variety of evaluation devices. It considers what they achieve and provides pros and cons for some of them. PD providers as well as authorities will find the guide useful for selecting and advising on how to obtain appropriate evaluative feedback.

(3) “Guide to reflecting on PD culture and diversity and equity in the classroom” is a catalogue of ways to exploit diversity and will be a valuable resource for government agencies for their own national adaptations and PD providers for their own needs.

(4) “Selection of PD materials with Comments” is a selection of ready-to-use STEM PD materials, which did not existed so far, and was collected from STEM PD Net project partners, designed in various STEM-related European projects. The expert group has provided comments on their educational approaches, applicability and compliance with the quality criteria for PD in guide 1.

(5) Within the guide of “PD centre models: context, mission, structure and activities” the participating centres from across Europe have examined their own national landscapes and internal structures, which shows how PD centres might be set up or developed within different contexts.

4th STEM PD Net Meeting in Vilnius, May 2018. ©ICSE/STEM PD Net

©ICSE/STEM PD Net

5th STEM PD Net Meeting in Sofia, November 2018. ©ICSE/STEM PD Net

6th STEM PD Net Meeting in Istanbul, Juni 2019. ©ICSE/STEM PD Net

In addition, STEM PD Net contributes information to policy makers through the development of a set of three policy briefings in order to establish and strengthen cooperation with policy makers. These policy briefings target policy makers’ needs and summarize key messages concerning professional development in the STEM area. Policy makers received important information on challenges and ways forward in STEM PD provision, on the STEM PD network, and on effective models and possibilities to organize STEM PD centres.

Within the development of an interactive web portal all information about STEM PD Net, participating organisations and activities within the project and the wider European STEM PD centres network is easily available.

With linking the extensive European STEM PD centre network (30 participating centres) as an umbrella for the project, we strengthened the PD providers’ leadership role in education. The guidelines and conceptual materials are available for everyone persistently.

The project STEM PD Net has received co-funding by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

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