Event Enables Participants to Network and Exchange Experiences
Between 30 May and 3 June, Wittenborg was visited by 39 enthusiastic secondary students and nine teachers coming from Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Turkey, as well as two researchers from the University of Eastern Finland. The event was organised as part of Erasmus+ funded project Eco-systems of Open Science Schooling (Eco-OSS), which is coordinated by the Wittenborg Research Centre.
Involving four schools from different countries, the Eco-OSS project is aimed at helping students learn science in innovative, engaging and effective ways through project-based activities consisting of building networks and connections within local communities – known as eco-systems. The initiative was launched in October 2020, and because of the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first physical event to include all of its members. The schools participating in the project are Pasvalys Levens Primary School (Lithuania), Gheorghe Titeica School (Romania), ITU ETA Foundation College (Turkey) and Liceum Ogólnokształcące z Oddziałami Dwujęzycznymi im. Adama Mickiewicza (Poland).
During their visit to Apeldoorn, the students participated in multiple workshops connected to the small science projects that they carried out in their communities. Moreover, the participants had the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other. The sessions, which took place at the Aventus Building, were recorded and will be developed into three products: a school guide on how to build eco-systems of open-science schooling, a video in which the students detail their experiences and a research paper on the advantages of this approach to the teaching of science. All of these materials will be made available for other schools to use.
Wittenborg EU project coordinator Aydan Ismayilova highlights that, by enabling multiple schools to network at European and international levels, Eco-OSS is connected to Wittenborg’s pillar of internationalisation. Ismayilova adds that the initiative also sheds light on the benefits of open-science schooling for students as well as on how these practices can be incorporated into standard school curriculums. “We have identified that both students and teachers are more engaged when subjects are taught in this way rather than through a standard approach. Plus, this method allows schools to tap into wider resources available within the institution and local communities. For example, some of the schools have found external stakeholders, such as local universities and science labs, that were willing to give back to their communities but did not know how.”
A Dynamic Event
Among other activities, the event included a visit to Coda's Experience Lab, where two workshops were conducted on 3D printing and LEGO design. Additionally, students and teachers had the opportunity to explore the city of Apeldoorn and its landmarks, and later went on a trip to Amsterdam where they visited the NEMO Science Museum and experienced other attractions.
Livia Popescu, an English teacher from Gheorghe Titeica School, in Romania, said that the meeting gave students and teachers the chance to network and make new friends, as well as interact with other cultures. “I am really happy to have taken part in this activity and also very proud of my students and how they interacted with participants from other European countries. I am also grateful to Wittenborg because its friendly professors, students, researchers and staff made us feel very comfortable, and this experience will change my students’ lives forever. I hope that the bonds created by this Erasmus project will be strengthened in the future, promoting important skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.”
According to Calkin Suero Montero, a senior researcher and assistant professor from the University of Eastern Finland, who participated in the project as a knowledge partner, the meeting enabled schools to learn more about the eco-systems developed by other members of the project. “Thanks to this event, we now understand better what each institution has developed locally, and the students had the chance to reflect on the eco-systems that were implemented through the missions that they carried out. Plus, the students shared their experiences and the lessons they learned, so we were able to collect very interesting feedback during this week. Regarding the future, I would like the knowledge produced by this project to be multiplied and shared with other schools that did not participate this time, because that is the idea behind Eco-OSS.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk