Mascil (2013-2016) was a FP7 project which was funded as part of the Science with and for Society programme. In mascil, 18 partners from 13 countries collaborated to develop classroom and PD materials. A major mascil innovation is connecting IBL in school with the world of work and thus, to make science more meaningful for young European students and motivate their interest in careers in related fields. mascil has won a Scientix award for materials and reached approximately 75.000 persons (e.g., teachers through professional training courses). A multi-level dissemination plan involved policy, research, industry and practice and led to major successes: amongst others the establishment of the conference series Educating-the-Educators and the foundation of the first European Network of STEM Professional Development Centres.
PRIMAS (2010-2013) is officially completed, but the work and impact of this successful project continues. In addition to its success story status and Scientix award for its dissemination guide, PRIMAS is being promoted as a best practice example in the Public Engagement Innovations catalogue. PRIMAS promotes inquiry-based learning approaches and has successfully implemented a multi-level and multi-stakeholder dissemination plan. During its project lifetime, PRIMAS reached over 7000 teachers in training activities.
The name PRIMAS stands for ‘Promoting inquiry-based learning (IBL) in mathematics and science across Europe’. IBL has the potential to raise students’ intrinsic interest in mathematics and science and it supports the attainment of important competencies like problem-solving skills or self-directed learning and exploring new knowledge areas.
Teachers are the key players in implementing IBL pedagogies in mathematics and science classrooms and in transforming the potential benefits of IBL into real effects. This is why PRIMAS predominately aimed to supports teachers by combining three elements: providing teaching materials along with professional development courses and a continuous support system within ‘communities of IBL-practice’. Each singular element provided benefits for the teachers, combined, however, they added the biggest benefit.
A close cooperation with national school authorities, teacher training providers, curriculum designers, etc. ensured that the best possible conditions were provided in every country. Furthermore, cooperation with parents and students was another dimension in the project´s support structures for teachers.
PRIMAS was funded under the EU´s 7th Framework Programme for Research, within the ‘Science in Society’ strand. The project ran in 12 European countries: Cyprus, Denmark, Germany (coordinating institution: University of Education Freiburg), Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
Instem (2012-2015) is an LLP network that grew out of the informal Network of Project Coordinators (ProCoNet). It is an initiative to promote innovation in STEM education, provides networking opportunities and synthesizes innovation in the field. Some of the project’s conclusions were taken up in the European Commission’s 2015 Science Education Report.
Compass (2009 – 2011) is an LLP project completed in 2011 which focused on the development of teaching materials combining STEM disciplines in an interdisciplinary way. Authentic real life problems engage students in inquiry combining different STEM subjects and show young people the relevance of the school subjects. Due to its distinguished impact, in 2016 COMPASS has been selected as a success story by European experts. We are proud that our innovative results and creative approaches are a source of inspiration for others. The project’s resources are available on the project’s website in multiple languages and can be obtained as a DVD or on USB.
Lema (2006 – 2009) is an LLP project completed in 2009, which developed professional development materials for mathematical modelling. The materials offer insight into what modelling is and offer guidance on how to select appropriate modelling tasks and teaching pedagogies, and on how to assess modelling activities. Its resources are available on the project’s website.