Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Since the Rocard report in 2007 many efforts have been made by EC for increasing the number students in science and technology studies, but there are still evidences of the unevenness in basic science literacy across countries and within countries, disparities in participation in science education, in formal, non-formal and informal settings, but also a scarce interest and motivation in science studies and careers.
In addition, there is still evidences of a gap between science education research findings and what happens in the classroom; a scarce understanding of the extent of competence required of teachers or educators for achieving accomplishments and further competences; an insufficient family involvement to inspire children’ curiosity.
These issues must be undertaken by fostering the best methodologies in science education, making students more involved, raising up their curiosity, competences, investigation and problem solving skills.
However, among the recommendations for a better citizenship, there is also the shifting of learning from STEM to STEAM because all disciplines, even Art contribute to the understanding and knowledge of scientific principles.
Science education for responsible citizenship, Report to the European Commission of the expert group on science education. Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Science with and for Society. European Commission, B-1049 Brussels. ISBN 978-92-79-43636-9, ISSN 1831-9424, DOI:10.2777/12626
Osborne, J. and J. Dillon (2008) Science education in Europe: Critical reflections: A report to the Nuffield Foundation, London: Nuffield Foundation.
Hayden, K., Y. Ouyang, L. Scinski, B. Olszewski and T. Bielefeldt (2011) “Increasing student interest and attitudes in STEM: Professional development and activities to engage and inspire learners”, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 11(1): 47-69.
Olsen, R.V. and S. Lie (2011) “Profiles of students’ interest in science issues around the world: Analysis of data from PISA 2006”, International Journal of Science Education, 33(1): 97-120.
Blatchford, P. and P. Kutnick (2014) Effective Group Work in Primary School Classrooms, Dordrecht: Springer.
Inquiry based Learning
IBL engages students in active and self-directed learning. It engages students in a learning process that resembles the type of investigation pursued by scientists. Active exploration usually leads to a better conceptual understanding, and through IBL, students construct knowledge by asking questions, formulating hypotheses, designing and executing their own investigations and evaluating and reflecting on their findings. Students’ investigations and explanations also provide opportunities for teachers to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas and conceptions of students. Carefully designed activities can stimulate students to consider alternative ideas.
The model of IBL that DAYLIGHTING RIVERS applies is a model summarized by Pedaste et al. (2015).
A structured model of IBL allows to
Enable students to explore, explain, extend, and evaluate their progress.
Offer ideas that have a need or a reason to be investigated. This helps students see relevant uses of the knowledge to make sense of what they are learning.
Interweave laboratory experiences with other types of science learning activities, including lectures, reading, and discussion.
Engage students in group work and increase their communication skills.
Engage students in ICT for the public engagement
Diagnostic, formative assessments are embedded into the instructional sequence and can be used to gauge the students’ developing understanding and to promote their self-reflection on their thinking.
The challenges our society have to face are many and include social, economical and especially environmental threats. Regarding the project themes, due to accelerated urban development, many rivers have been diverted or culverted, in favor of urban infrastructures and new neighborhoods. This has increased the risks of flood, led to the loss of biodiversity along the streams, increased water pollution and impaired other for the community services connected to the flowing water. The process by which the culverted or covered rivers are uncovered and re-exposed to the environment is known as ‘daylighting’. DAYLIGHTING RIVERS also refers to ‘daylighting’ in terms of youth consciousness – raising awareness and inspiring global action for sustainability in water use.
Responsible research and Innovation
It has been revealed by The Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Union that scientific studies and their outcomes, carried out within the last 15 years haven’t been adequately shared within the society. In this context, the search for project applications reviewing efficient communication strategies between European citizens and science were initiated by the European Union’s Science and Society action plan in 2001.
The European Union further developed action plans, under its FP7 program which began in 2007, with a view to increasing participation within society and to enhance two-way dialogues and larger interactions through actualising Science in Society action.
Since 2010, a new concept has been developed addressing factors playing an actual role in social changes and contributing to the scientific improvement process. This has been called: Responsible Research and Innovation.
The concept was explained by Quinn as follows:
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) means that societal actors work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes, with the values, needs and expectations of European society. RRI is an ambitious challenge for the creation of a Research and Innovation policy driven by the needs of society and engaging all societal actors via inclusive participatory approaches. Ref
As an approach, RRI was defined by European Commission as follows:
Responsible research and innovation is an approach that anticipates and assesses potential implications and societal expectations with regard to research and innovation, with the aim to foster the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation. Ref
As inferred in both quotes, the fact that societal actors, such as researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organizations, are supposed to work cooperatively during research and innovation process has been heavily stressed. As a result of this collaboration, society expectation, values and needs are foreseen to be better met.
In addition to the indicators mentioned above, RRI is intended to cover 6 thematic elements, namely: public engagement, open access, gender, ethics, science education and governance. Each of these thematic elements are shortly defined as follows in official Horizon 2020 web pages:
Public Engagement (PE): Public engagement (PE) in relation to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is about co-creating the future between citizens and civil society organizations on matters of science and technology and bringing on board the widest possible diversity of actors that do not normally interact with each other.
Open Access: The global shift towards making research findings available free of charge for readers, the so-called ‘Open access’, has become a core strategy in the European Commission to improve knowledge circulation and thus innovation. It is illustrated in particular by the general principle for open access to scientific publications in Horizon 2020 and the pilot initiated for sharing research data.
Gender: In Horizon 2020, gender is a cross-cutting issue and is mainstreamed in each of the different parts of the Work Programme, ensuring a more integrated approach to research and innovation.
Ethics: For all activities funded by the European Union, ethics is an integral part of research from beginning to end, and ethical compliance is seen as pivotal to achieve real research excellence.
Science Education: Building capacities and developing innovative ways of connecting science to society is a priority under Horizon 2020. This is intended to help make science more attractive to young people, increase society’s appetite for innovation, and open up further research and innovation activities.
Governance: Policymakers also have a responsibility to prevent harmful or unethical developments in research and innovation. Through careful governance the expectation is to develop harmonious models for Responsible Research and Innovation that integrate public engagement, gender equality, science education, open access and ethics (Horizon 2020).
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Message delivered at the conference «Science in Dialogue – Towards a European Model for Responsible Research and Innovation» Odense, Denmark, 23-25 April 2012
Horizon 2020, The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation:
Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015: