Multiplier Events

Discussing the perspectives and challenges for STEM PD implementation in Lithuania (EDC)

On April 12th 2018 the Education Development Centre in Vilnius organized a national multiplier event to discuss challenges PD Centres in Lithuania face when implementing STEM PD and to facilitate discussions among various partners on opportunities for closer cooperation.

The aims of this event were threefold:
(i) to introduce the STEM PD Net project and its major achievements;
(ii) to give a broad introduction on the work in progress;
(iii) to collect feedback from participants on the implications of the IOs for PD centres’ practice, particularly on possibilities to use collected materials for STEM teachers PD (IO4); on quality criteria for STEM PD centres (IO1) and the development of centres‘ activities (IO5); on possible initiatives of PD centres for leading to a closer cooperation with various partners.

The event attracted 30 participants from the Ministry of Education and Research, institutions providing teacher professional development services, STEM subject teacher associations’, STEM school network representatives and researchers from universities.
The hosts were highly satisfied with the event: by connecting Lithuanian key players in this field valuable exchange was evoked and new contacts were established.

Delivering high-quality STEM PD (INTEF)
On May 23rd and 24th 2018 the Multiplier Event took place at INTEF offices in Madrid, Spain. This national conference focused on the dissemination of PD materials (IO4) and PD center models (IO5) and to discuss them within the Spanish PD context. The event was of high importance in the context of Spain as external and internal assessment has shown that Spanish students ought to improve their results in STEM, particularly in Mathematics.

A wide range of activities and formats were implemented. The agenda included conferences about the importance of STEM education and stereotypes in STEM, a talk on the STEM PD project workshops on selected PD materials to analyze their usefulness and relevance, a round table on PD center models and educational policies in the STEM field, workshops about STEM in primary education, scientific dissemination and maker culture. Furthermore a materials market for commented STEM PD material took place, displaying a selection on innovative methods regarding diversity, disadvantaged minorities and multiple learning styles.

At a special policy seminar the relevance of the intellectual outputs (IO 04 and IO 05) was presented and discussed as well as possible measures to extend or replicate good results (legal issues, budget requirements, networking and partnerships and so forth). The congress received excellent feedback and was a priceless opportunity to disseminate STEM PD Net.

The event was attended by 85 participants: PD providers and facilitators, policy makers and PD centers throughout Spain, autonomous regions’ administrators for PD programs, education colleges and universities).

Providing and evaluating high-quality PD (NATDID)
NATDID (The Swedish National Centre for Communicating Science and Technology Educational Research) at Linköping University have put up an information webpage article for the upcoming Multiplier Event in September 2018:

Effectiveness of activities and resources for professional development:
a national multiplier event in the frames of STEM PD Net held in Sofia on 14-15 March 2019

More than 40 representatives of institutions dealing with the professional development of STEM teachers in Bulgaria got together in the Home of the scientist in Sofia to discuss in two consecutive days (March 14-15) the effectiveness of activities and resources offered by IMI-BAS in the frames of STEM PD Net. The participants included policy makers from the Ministry of Education and Science, from regional directions of education in Sofia and Pazarjik. PD centers, Center for innovations of BAS, national laboratories in telematics and in software security, experts in mathematics and information technologies, businessmen, Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians, teacher educators.

The presentations from the first day covered topics dealing with: the importance of the intellectual outputs of STEM PD Net and the ways they have been reflected in the PD courses the IMI-BAS has been delivering (Toni Chehlarova); evaluating the results from PD courses based on the implementation of IBL via dynamic geometry software (Maria Brauchle); the impact of binary lessons for revealing the connections between mathematics and the rest of STEAM components, as well as with some apparently distant subjects such as physical education (Roumiana Anguelova); the effect of taking “a step away” from a classical school-math problem and applying the “what-if” strategy (Petar Kenderov).

The next session dealt with evaluating the impact of a PD course from the view point of teachers, students, businessmen, school principals and parents. After being split in the corresponding groups of stake holders, the participants discussed quality criteria for a teachers’ PD course and presented their views in public. As the proverb goes: Beautiful minds think alike… and there was a lot of common among the views of the groups. Still, a careful analysis shows that each group could learn from the recommendations of the rest.
The schedule of the day ended with a poster session provoking vivid discussions and enthusiasm to try the good practices presented.

The second day was held in the “Acad. Stefan Dodunekov” hall of IMI-BAS. A talk on some specific forms of supporting the inquiry-based learning at its higher levels (guided inquiry and open inquiry) was delivered by Evgenia Sendova based on the long-term experience of IMI-BAS in educating educators and young mentors to guide research projects. After this Ivaylo Kortezov shared his experience from his latest PD course on Combinatorial problems in the contest’s mathematical themes for 8th-10th class. Reformulation of a classical problems and theorems in a form close to the world and interests of the students convinced the audience that these problems could find their deserved place in the school curriculum. His talk was followed by joint presentation of Toni Chehlarova, Georgi Gachev and Monka Kotseva on a novel Platform for distance education being developed by the authors.

The importance of blending physical and computational media was well demonstrated by the final workshop, delivered in the Mathematical Classroom of IMI-BAS, in which fragments of various PD courses were carried out by the participants.
The first impressions shared by the participating stake holders make us optimists about the outputs of STEM-PD-Net project. As one of the teachers expressed it: …The principle behind events like this one reminds me of a boomerang – an idea generated by someone and refracted through the eyes of another, comes back to the first one even reinforced! During this event I got several ideas I am going to implement in my school.
Evgenia Sendova
P.S. The schedule of the event (in Bulgarian) could be found here and an illustrated report of the event (in English) here.

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