Science Education teamwork during the current crisis


During the past month, we have seen a common reality that has been transforming and challenging all sectors. In the Science Education Department at European Schoolnet, we have followed the situation closely as regards to STEM education, teachers and students. And as a team, we also faced many challenges with the current circumstances.

In fact, we were one of the first organisations to convert a face to face event to an online setting. At the end of February, when only part of Italy was confined, we decided to transform a three-day event in Brussels, which would have welcomed 40 participants from more than 15 countries to online meetings and workshops. We had 48 hours to do this, and while getting many encouraging words, also had to explain why we were being so “paranoid” to a few.

Our team has enough experience with technology, online tools for teaching, webinars and online communication so this was not necessarily strange waters for us, but we had never organised at such short notice a “lengthy” online event. Changing from face to face to online can present several challenges, such as keeping everyone engaged, having a feeling that you are talking alone, bad internet connection, learning how to make sure to have an ‘online signature’s list’, understanding and providing support to teachers facing all kinds of challenges all over Europe and so on.

I would not have been able to do it without the amazing colleagues I have in the Science Education Department. Each and every one of them, including three new colleagues that had only been with as less than two weeks when the whole adventure started, was amazing. They proactively took on tasks, helped each other, went and figured out different issues and not once did I see a smile falter. A very relevant successful aspect of this for me is having a great team. As a manager I work with colleagues with different skills and expertise, as well as personalities. When we understand our strengths, abilities, and weakness as well as those of colleagues, we can find ways of using them to our advantage and together we can make things even better.

On a personal level, I must admit I have been one of those that used to keep my camera off during online meetings, and I have completely changed my view on this. I now always turn on my camera. With my camera on, I know I help the speaker “feel the audience” better, support the dialogue and encourage other colleagues to participate more.

In addition to converting face to face event to online activities, for several projects, we have also had to transform, and help transform, competitions and learning scenarios into possible remote activities. We also learned that while the students might have to develop something at home, their parents can also engage and take part in some revolutionary, green, technical activities and learn something too… Finally, I have also seen teachers step up. They have quickly not only adapted their practices to the new settings but gone out of their ways to help others. And among all the sad news we get every day, I really want to see stories of success. Stories resulting from collaboration and support, especially (as we are in the Scientix blog after all) in terms of STEM education. With this entry, I hope to launch a series of stories of collaboration between teachers, between students, solidarity and the community feeling we already had in Scientix and that this crisis has brought forward even more.

Author: Agueda Gras-Velazquez, Science Programme Manager | Head of the Science Education Department

Picture Credit: CC-BY Scientix

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10 Responses to “Science Education teamwork during the current crisis”

  1. Teresita says:

    Thank you so much for this story Agueda!is so encouraging to read about how EUN has to change how to work and also you had to change your view. This is one of the important thing I learn thanks to Scientix is try to see things from another perspective. And this is the reason why I think that this crisis is a great possibility for schools, teachers, students and parent. Let’s see what happen….

    • Agueda Gras says:

      You are most welcome Teresita and thank you for sharing your views. I am learning a LOT though this experience. Not only on collaboration but about myself. Looking forward to hearing your community story! 🙂

  2. José María Díaz Fuentes says:

    Thank you very much Agueda for sharing your thoughts and your experiences.
    You are a wonderful team and I admire your work with all my heart.
    Thank you for each course taught – I no longer remember how many I have already taken – for the materials offered, for the constant challenges you propose to us, for putting us in communication with thousands of other teachers in the community.

    • Agueda Gras says:

      Thank you so much Jose Maria! I like that you included “for the constant challenges you propose to us” 🙂 We do like challenges, but above all, working with people like you to solve those challenges!

  3. Dhurata says:

    Thank you, dear Agueda. Thanks to the excellent work done by the Scientix network, many teachers across Europe did not find it difficult to continue their work from home. I am very honored to have learned and attended many pieces of training from European Schoolnet. This has brought improvement, not only to me but also to the community of teachers we train here in Albania.

    • Agueda Gras says:

      Sending you and the teachers in Albania a big hug from Scientix and European Schoolnet! If we have helped you even a tiny weensy bit, all our efforts are worth it.

  4. Irina says:

    It’s so important to feel that we are in this together! Time to show that teachers are lifelong learners, that they can think outside the box even when confined. 🙂 I’m learning about my students and sometimes from them, starting from the rascal playing online tricks and forcing me to learn to cope to the ones discreetly offering help. They offer me a different view on their personality and I wonder how this will change our student-teacher connection.

    • Agueda Gras says:

      Thanks for sharing Irina, I am very curious about stories on “playing online tricks and forcing me to learn to cope to the ones discreetly offering help” 🙂 Maybe you could share a community story on how students are also helping out? 🙂

  5. Ilze Šmate says:

    Agueda and all your team!
    Thank you for the great work always! Iam so happy to be there and participating in workshops what are leading by you and your team! The workshops and atmosphere always is excellent! We can learn from you always! Thank you for your job what you do and teach!
    We have taught a lot from you!

    • Agueda Gras says:

      Thank you Ilze for your kind words. We definitely miss organising weekend workshops 😀 And eating fries… Ooooh I really miss eating fries…

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