Scientix encourages networking and knowledge sharing – now I am convinced…


Teacher training in STEM education works. I have seen it in numerous workshops and I know it is a well-developed expertise of European Schoolnet. I know workshops organized by Scientix, Pathway, eTwinning, inGenious, S-TEAM, SAILS, Open Discover Space, Inspiring Science Education, Quantum Spin-Off, and numerous other projects are well appreciated by teachers.

In addition to teacher training Scientix has had from the beginning the aim to encourage networking. To encourage the transfer of knowledge between different countries, projects and STEM education practitioners. And for over four and a half years I doubted we were making it happen. Not anymore.

The last 3 months of 2014 are being very hectic for Scientix. We had the 2nd Scientix conference in October in Brussels with 600 participants 41 countries. We have the National Scientix conferences in Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Bulgaria. And we have numerous tasks to do for the portal, publications, reporting, planning for 2015, etc.

And in the middle of all this work , I had an epiphany. Tullia Urschitz and Constantina (Tina) Cossu, Scientix Ambassador and Deputy Ambassador for Italy, respectively, picked me up from Pisa airport to bring me with them to Lucca, for the Italian Scientix conference. During the drive they were telling me about the different workshops they have organized under the Scientix umbrella or are planning. In a moment when they started arguing with the GPS which insisted on taking us through dark side roads I got lost in thought and it is when I realized that the catalysing aim of Scientix is finally taking place as well.

Tullia and Tina have been running workshops where they present Go-Lab, Inspiring Science Education, Science where can it take you, the Flipped Classroom concept, Robotics, practical experiments which appear both in the old project Xperimania and a Scientix Moodle course. They are preparing a workshop on half a dozen different nanotechnology projects. And neither I nor any of my colleagues in the Scientix team at European Schoolnet told them to do it. They use Scientix to find similar projects, projects that they, nor European Schoolnet, nor anybody they know in person belongs too, but they have seen their value and are sharing the results and experiences.

And it is not the only case. I saw Rosina Malagrida, from IrsiCaixa, talking about Responsible Research and Innovation during the SSI-RRI conference in Rome, on the 20th of November, mention projects like Quantum Spin-off, which her organization is not involved in, alongside RRI Tools or Xplore Health. I have heard Anna Pascucci, also deputy ambassador of Scientix in Italy give a talk on IBSE, using projects like SUSTAIN, Fibonacci or Amgen Teach as examples. Stany Abraham, deputy ambassador from France, learned about the Science It’s a Girl thing campaign from the EC during the 2nd Scientix conference and now gives talks and workshops on the topic, under the Scientix umbrella. I’ve heard how many other Scientix ambassadors, and representatives from other projects, now cross-disseminate results from related (competing?) projects.

I’ve seen 4 teachers from 3 different countries, sit together and come up with a project over a dinner in Riga. I’ve observed how teachers who met at the beginning of Scientix and struggled to communicate in English, write together Comenius projects three years later which they got funded. I have received emails from many many many teachers which after meeting other STEM teachers from across Europe, are now collaborating, exchanging, meeting…

I’ve had the honour and pleasure to host workshops where representatives from over 20 projects shared their experiences, struggles and achievements in terms of teacher training, policy recommendations, dissemination activities. Workshops where policy advisers told us (finally?) how they wanted the information they are interested in presented (so we can stop creating reports in formats no one will read).

And this makes me proud. It makes me proud of what Scientix has achieved. And as we tell the Scientix ambassadors constantly, in talks, workshops, etc., Scientix is a catalyser. It is not intended to talk about itself. Scientix is there to provide a platform (both online and in person) to get the knowledge flowing. To get the information travelling (what you don’t find in your country/project/class, you can find abroad/elsewhere). To ensure, that no project works by itself. That no STEM centre or organization has to start from scratch. That no teacher faces alone the hard but most needed task of getting kids to know, like and dream about science.

Article written by: Àgueda Gras Velazquez, Scientix Project Manager and Science Team Manager, European Schoolnet

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8 Responses to “Scientix encourages networking and knowledge sharing – now I am convinced…”

  1. Daniel Aguirre says:

    I also am proud of being part of this team. This feeling you are speaking about, I also feel. Maybe Scientix started as a project of projects, but now I think this is a project of people. Thank you for making it possible!!

    • Malgorzata Zajaczkowska says:

      Agueda, thank you for your words that flow from the HEART!
      It is a very emotional and true story of “the Scientix Project of projects” development.
      I also have been a part of your team since the very beginning. Regards. 🙂

  2. agueda says:

    Thanks Daniel and Malgorzata!

    Daniel, I specially like Scientix started as a project of projects, but now is a project of people. 😀

    • Costantinq says:

      Thank you for your comment about my partecipation in Futurtext. I agree in Scientix . I think that Scientix is the most STEM Project in Europe. I’m very happy to partecipate and to collaborate with you and your team. I and many teachers of my country use Scientix resources in our lessons. The students are enthusiastic.;-) 😉 :-*

  3. Beata Jarosievitz Dr. says:

    “It makes me proud of what Scientix has achieved” (Agueda)
    I completely agree and thanks for this nice words.
    My opinion is that Scientix has a very big impact in the following ways
    • brings together many teachers, who are coming from different countries
    • helps us to create new and new friendships between people from different countries
    • helps us to share our ideas, expertise
    • helps us to share good resources
    • helps us to get information about very good initiatives, projects, which we never find out just checking randomly some websites
    • helps us to learn new methods, solutions of ICT techniques used in education.
    Personally I am very happy to be one of the members of this “big team”, and many thanks for that.
    During the conference I found very interesting the presentation of our Greek colleague: “Mobile learning” and the poster P17, (“The use of Quizlets in Science Education”) since I also use these tools in my everyday educational practice with my students. I would be happy to enter in a collaboration concerning these topics.

  4. Hilde Kletzl says:

    Dear Agueda,
    How very true, networking is really important for us teachers because it helps us to get new perspectives on our job which we would not get otherwise. I think all of us need to have the chance to step back and view our work from a distance and to see how other colleagues approach Stem. Thank you for giving us a chance in the Stem related projects.

  5. Patrick Camilleri says:

    These are really strong words that have more than struck a chord inside me!
    When I joined up with Scientix I was not sure on what I was embarking but as soon as I set foot in the meeting room for the first meeting I was nothing short of being amazed of the positive energy I felt. No need to say that what I have experienced since I have joined the team is nothing less than fantastic The conference is only the tip of the iceberg. But then, just taking a step back and looking at what happened in the conference cannot be explained in a few words. The sheer amount of people involved from all over Europe, the rich content that emerged through the workshops and the flurry of activity I happened to experience in the interactions between teachers with different backgrounds and coming from different educational contexts has finally made me realise what it means to work for a European dimension in Science Education!

  6. Elaine Manton says:

    Having returned from the Winter Conference in Glasgow this weekend, I feel the same: energised, enthused, proud to be part of this project and full of ideas from the other ambassadors about how to promote this wonderful project.
    Since getting involved with European projects, I have been made aware of Science: It’s a girl thing, Go-Lab and the wonderful NanOpionion project and many more. Information about all of these projects is available on the Scientix website.
    I feel I am working with some of Europe’s best, most energetic teachers who constantly strive to improve the STEM experience for their students.
    Spend some time discovering what Scientix has to offer, you ill be glad you did!

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