The learning activity was held in Bulgaria in June 2017. The main objective was to further develop the collection of ready-to-use STEM professional development (PD) materials for PD providers. A unique aspect of this collection is also that each material will be evaluated regarding the level on which the material fulfils the quality criteria of successful PD.
Setting up these quality criteria is also part of the project. In this way, the emphasis of the learning activity was mainly put on sessions discussing and developing the material collection, for example by carefully evaluate metadata of assigned STEM PD materials.
The meeting days also offered various activities, sessions and workshops that one the one hand highly supported the development of the materials collection and on the other hand also contributed sustainably to the professional development of the participants.
By visiting the Astronomical Observatory in Varna, the Air-Space Kamchia Complex and the Archaeological Museum the participants gained various insights into educational (teacher and PD) activities and on the numerous possibilities to support such activities with well-developed materials. In order to experience outcomes of inquiry based learning in out-of-class settings, the participants also attended the Science Fair organised in the Varna Mathematical School.
In all these activities, the participants received different resources and ideas for educational activities integrating e.g. engineering, biology, cosmology and IT, analysed the PD settings as well as experimented with ideas for educational STEM scenarios in untypical PD settings.
The international participants were from Austria, Lithuania, Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria as the host.
This week been a very fruitful, both professionally and personally. The most essential feature of the PD courses for STEM teachers? They must respond to the needs of teachers and make them see that the problems that their students will face are global and therefore have to work in interdisciplinary projects.
Professional Development and Technology Institute of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Spain
Thank you for the STEM PD Net activity in Varna, fantastic city. I greatly appreciated the coordination of the meeting as well as the opportunity to exchange information and discuss shared the experiences and knowledge. With all participants (Spain, Austria, Lithuania, Turkey, and Bulgaria), we created a good synergy and we leave with good memories, big smiles and once in a lifetime experiences. I really value the knowledge and insight you all have, and your willingness to share it with each other.
Hacettepe STEM & Maker Centre at Hacettepe University, Turkey
In our opinion, the most essential feature of STEM PD courses is the opportunity for teachers to experience personal learning in out of school learning spaces. The institutions visited during LTT activity proved that Bulgarian teacher PD provision has a solid cooperation background and bright collaborative future between PD providers and other stakeholders like museums, unique schools, planetariums, etc. The experience the teachers gain in such learning spaces is of fundamental importance for innovative teaching. The teachers themselves get valuable insights how to strengthen institutional cooperation.
Rūta Mazgelytė and Alvida Lozdienė
Education Development Centre, Lithuania