Teaching standard STEM topics with a key competence approach

STEMkey (2020-2023) stands for ‘Teaching standard STEM topics with a key competence approach’. The EU-funded project aims to transform future teachers’ grasp of teaching standard STEM topics.

To achieve that, STEMkey wants to rethink, reshape and redirect the delivery of fundamental STEM subject knowledge towards the indispensable development of key competence.

Thus, the project aims to encourage future teachers to refrain from teaching with the sole purpose of knowledge-transfer of a single STEM subject, isolated from other STEM subjects. This simply does not measure up to todays and tomorrows challenges and requirements anymore. Instead, STEMkey empowers future teachers to nurture their students’ key competences when delivering standard STEM content.

Higher Education experts and researchers from 12 European countries work closely together support this endeavor. Find out more!

STEMkey focus on key competences: knowledge, skills and attitudes

The focus of traditional STEM education at school is on the delivery of fundamental subject knowledge like functions, human anatomy and chemical reactions. Learners’ skills to apply gained knowledge and attitudes to set it in context with their life and societal decision-making processes have not been sufficiently nurtured likewise. Consequently, future STEM teachers have to be empowered to deliver knowledge on fundamental STEM topics without neglecting skills and attitudes of their future students at school. STEMkey has been launched to provide solutions to support the Commission’s key competence initiative in the scope of STEM education.

Project Aims

Our objective is to transform (future) STEM teachers’ grasp of teaching standard topics. To achieve that, we will reshape the delivery of fundamental STEM subject knowledge in the context of key competence development. Future teachers need to understand the relation between knowledge, skills and attitudes, how they affect each other and how they have an effect on their students’ learning experience and personal life. They also need to see that STEM subjects are relevant to our lives and our societies and that they are linked to each other.

To achieve this objective, we develop teaching modules to be used in HE programmes for future STEM teachers, covering all STEM disciplines and exemplarily dealing with topics from each discipline (e.g. light representing physics education, algorithms representing informatics or the periodic system representing chemistry). Each module applies various tested and proven innovative educational approaches, such as digital learning or real-life contextualisation.

A Strategic Partnership

As STEMkey places a strong focus on establishing and nourishing a strong strategic partnership, network options play an important role.

Although responsibility for Higher Education rests within the EU Member States, cooperation in this field is imperative. Fundamental STEM topics across Europe are alike: chemical reactions, functions, anatomy, etc. are taught in each country. Jointly rethinking traditional teaching contents is a challenging process, as decades of teaching tradition have to be examined with impartiality and new creativity but without losing sight of experience. Transnational cooperation adds value to the actual reshaping process as we can view the various STEM topics from many angles and consequently enrich each teaching module.

Naturally, cross-border collaboration during the output production process and evaluation results, stemming from a multi-country perspective, help us to design each module as universally applicable as possible (across different contexts, cultures and political systems).

Find out more about our team!

Target Groups

We address the following main target user groups:

  • Future STEM teachers (students in initial teacher education (ITE) programmes)
  • Higher education teaching staff involved in STEM ITE
  • Decision-makers and lead positions, e.g. rectors, deans, heads of STEM education departments at partner institutions
  • Staff responsible for curriculum design and course programs of partner institutions.

Our STEMkey consortium gathers higher education (HE) institutions from 12 European countries, covering all STEM disciplines and featuring strong expertise in competence-based and student-centred STEM education research and practice.

  • ICSE International Centre of STEM Education, University of Education Freiburg, Germany
  • University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • University of Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Charles University, Czech Republic
  • University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • University of Constantine the Philosopher, Slovakia
  • University of Maribor, Slovenia
  • Hacettepe University, Turkey

Find out more about the team soon!

STEMkey offers 13 modules for pre-service education of future teachers in the area of STEM education. The teaching modules are on exemplary fundamental STEM topics, covering all STEM disciplines and allowing key competence development.

Through a cross-disciplinary review cycle (carried out by expert of different disciplines), we ensure that our teaching modules are of the highest quality and cross-disciplinarily applicable.

We are currently in the process of developing the modules. The first modules will be available online in the beginning 2022!

STEMkey summer school 2023 at the University Lisboa

Are you an ITE (Initial Teacher Education) student interested in participate our STEM Summer School? Or do you know interested future teachers who would like to get engaged?

Join our STEMkey summer school at the University Lisboa in Summer 2023!

We invite engaged students from all over Europe in a variety of innovative activities and stimulate inter-cultural and social experiences.  Students and teaching staff will get the chance to develop a deep understanding of the EU’s key competence framework and resulting implications for teaching STEM standard topics as well as the possibility to gain confidence in using the STEMkey modules.

More information will be available in the future.

We will organise national and international multiplier events to promote the project among relevant educational stakeholders and initializing dialogue on the matters at hand.

You are welcome to join our events – more information soon!

The creation of these resources has been co-funded by the ERASMUS+ grant program of the European Union under grant no. 2O2O I-DEO1.KA2O3.OO5671. Neither the European Commission nor the project’s national funding agency DAAD are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.


Do you have any questions?