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The ICSE Consortium Introduced: Utrecht University

By June 2019 June 11th, 2019 No Comments

Our new blogseries “ICSE Consortium Introduced” starts in the Netherlands

Utrecht University is located in the center of the Netherlands and has a long history and is rich in tradition. The Dies Natalis, Utrecht University’s Anniversary Day, is celebrated on 26 March: the day in 1636 when the Illustrious School became an academic university. The Anniversary Day is celebrated in the Dom Church.

The university has 7 faculties, more than 6000 employees and 30.000 students and 12 Noble prizes were awarded to scientists attached to Utrecht University. The faculty of Science is the largest science faculty of the Netherlands and is home to over 6000 students and about 1300 employees. The Faculty offers research expertise and opportunities across all departments: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Information and Computing Sciences, and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Photo Credit: Utrecht University

The Freudenthal Institute (FI) is connected to the ICSE consortium and is part of the Faculty of Science. The FI consists of the research groups for the science subjects, the History and Philosophy of Science group (HPS) and U-Talent (circa 60 staff members). The institute aims to contribute to a better understanding of the learning and teaching of science and mathematics, in order to develop improved models of education. Scientific and mathematical literacy is one of the themes in its research program. This theme puts the focus on what, why and how should be learnt from the sciences. Aspects investigated are mathematical thinking, modelling, inquiry-based learning, scientific reasoning and socio-scientific issues.

The institute collaborates closely with other science and mathematics education institutes in the Netherlands, for example through national expertise networks such as Elwier-ECENT in which FI has a leading role. Schools are an important target group for collaboration. In the U-Talent network, the institute collaborates with more than 45 secondary schools on talent development, teacher training and research.

Internationally, the Freudenthal Institute collaborates with a variety of international institutes, European (e.g. the ICSE network) and worldwide. Apart from collaboration in funded international projects (mainly EU-funds), collaborations exist in the form of visiting professorships, committee memberships and guest researchers. Currently, we collaborate with the University of Education in Freiburg in two European projects on promoting inclusive science education, and in one PhD-trajectory on the use of contexts in mathematics education.

Being part of ICSE is important to us, as our collaboration offers unique opportunities to work together beyond the lifetime of a single project. We are looking forward to extent and scale up our joint findings in new projects. Furthermore, through guest lectures and the exchange of master and PhD students, we become better in valorizing emerging ideas for improving science and mathematics education practices on all levels.