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H2020

EUSPACE-AWE Report Summary

Project ID: 638653
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUSPACE-AWE (EU SPACE AWARENESS)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-02-29

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

EU Space Awareness uses the wonders of the universe and the excitement of space exploration to spark children’s interest in science and technology and stimulate a sense of global citizenship.

EU Space Awareness offers a coherent suite of activities targeted to children and teenagers, spanning the period from their forming of a vision of science to their choosing a career. EU Space Awareness engages children and teenagers directly and indirectly through educators, teachers, and families.

Current space missions and global concerns are addressed through four categories:
1. Our Wonderful Universe, which relates to the knowledge and challenges of human space exploration;
2. Our Fragile Planet, which deals with major environmental challenges facing our planet and explores the role that the study of other planets can play in understanding these issues and the importance of Earth satellites in monitoring climate changes;
3. Navigation Through the Ages, which traces the history of navigation from the fifteenth-century European explorers and their missions of global discovery to Europe’s Galileo programme, meeting the current needs of citizens; and
4. Islamic Heritage, which highlights the important contributions from Islamic scientists during the Middle Ages to our modern concepts of space and the universe.

Particular attention is paid to stimulating interest amongst girls and minorities and reaching children in underprivileged communities, where most talent is underused. A special toolkit showcasing the history and accomplishments of Islamic science and technology will tell the story of a shared history based on tolerance and respect for other cultures.

High-quality educational resources are compiled, developed, and distributed through an extensive dissemination network in 22 countries. Among these resources are Space Scoops, career stories, citizen science projects, and a repository of educational activities. Activities also include educator support through workshops and Massive On-line Open Courses (MOOCs), as well as high-impact events for teachers and policy-makers at the European Parliament. An evaluation strategy is implemented throughout the project. Results aim for a better understanding of the career aspirations of space-related workers, the vision that children have of space and space science, and the identification of best practices towards stimulating the next generations of space scientists.

EU Space Awareness features nine partners and 22 national contact points across Europe and Africa. It exploits extensive international networks of schools and science museums to reach teachers, educators, and the general public and works closely with the European Space Agency. The three-year project started in March 2015 and is coordinated by Leiden University.

Since its launch in March 2015, EU Space Awareness has already reached about 200 teachers and educators through workshops and international events. Fifty-four additional teachers volunteered to get involved in the development of the MOOC series with the project team. Three additional dissemination nodes joined the project to represent Tanzania, Morocco, and Nigeria. Finally, two websites were launched. A brand new Space Scoop website (www.spacescoop.org) in 22 languages was launched in December 2015. This kid’s science news platform complements the EU Space Awareness website (www.space-awareness.org), which has featured resources available in 11 languages from February 2015.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

From March 2015 to February 2016, EU Space Awareness reached important milestones and prepared for the full implementation of activities for the two coming years.

During the first months of the project, a survey was designed and launched to identify the entry points for space in the curricula of 10 countries in Europe and South Africa. The analysis of the results (D2.1 Report on entry points for space topics in the curriculum, submitted M8) allowed the project team to identify and prioritise the most popular topics related to the EU Space Awareness categories (Our Wonderful Universe, Our Fragile Planet, and Navigation Through the Ages), available directly or indirectly in the curricula of every country investigated.

This research became the basis for the identification and selection of existing educational resources that could be integrated into the EU Space Awareness compendium of resources (D3.1 Report on space resources for primary and secondary teachers, submitted M8). Twenty primary school resources were selected and peer-reviewed for their educational content and scientific value using the astroEDU platform (http://astroedu.iau.org). Seventeen secondary school resources were chosen and were either peer-reviewed through astroEDU or used as an inspiration to develop new kits. In February 2016, 13 primary school resources were published on the EU Space Awareness website.

Additionally, 31 citizen science activities, games, and learning apps were selected for inclusion in the online repository of resources and in the Digital Booklet of Citizen Science space projects (D3.2 Digital booklet on citizen science space projects, submitted M12).

Based on the curriculum analysis and the topics already covered by existing resources, new educational resources were imagined in categories that are linked to the European Space Agency programmes Copernicus (Our Fragile Planet) and Galileo (Navigation Through the Ages). An Islamic educational kit, Journey of Ideas, was prototyped. This material aims at building bridges between the Islamic world and Europe by telling the story of a shared history based on exchanges and tolerance for diverse cultures. The new resources will be fully ready by July 2016.

First steps were taken to adapt the existing and already popular kid’s tool Space Scoop (developed by the FP7 EU-UNAWE project). A new Space Scoop website was designed to improve direct access to the articles by children. Contacts were established at ESA and EUMETSAT to increase the number of Space Scoop articles related to Earth observation topics.

The career resources of the project are being developed based on an analysis of existing initiatives (D6.1 Report on initial space careers projects, submitted M10). The online hub about careers was designed and integrated into the project website. The career hub will be released with ready career profiles in April 2016. Five video interviews of space scientists were implemented and edited in December 2015. These videos will be included in the related website section from April 2016. School lessons focusing on career aspects are being developed. Finally, information about potential role models that could be used for video interviews and coming webinars was collected.

The study implemented during the first months of the project allowed the project team to identify the most frequent space topics in school curricula in at least 10 countries. These topics were used to develop the project’s didactic courses for teachers (D2.1 Report for entry points for space topics in the curricula, submitted M8). In addition, the framework includes an activity template which follows an inquiry-based learning approach enhanced by guidelines for the teachers supporting the promotion of gender balance, space-related careers, and the development of students’ skills relevant for such careers. Learning outcomes for teachers were identified. They focus not only on extending teachers’ acquaintance with space topics and careers but also on upgrading their current teaching practices by reinforcing their skills in using ICT tools, managing diverse classrooms, and implementing inquiry-teaching approaches. On this base, a MOOC series was defined and will be available by June 2016.

During the first period of the project, the communication strategy was developed (D5.1 EUSPACE-AWE communication handbook, submitted M6). The project’s social media accounts (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) opened in September 2015 and are regularly fed.

The EU Space Awareness website (www.space-awareness.org) was launched in February 2016. It includes numerous resources: existing translated Space Scoops, 31 Citizen Science projects, 13 primary school resources, and project information. In March 2016, additional material in 11 languages will be available on the website.

Communication amongst partners and between dissemination nodes and partners was organised through various activities (group and individual meetings) and channels (Basecamp, Dropbox).

Two surveys were released between December 2015 and February 2016, establishing the basis of the evaluation activities in the project. First, a list of project outcomes was defined to identify the priority topics to address in order to evaluate the project’s achievements over three years. Next, a career survey was distributed though different scientific networks to study the aspirations of people working in space-related fields. Finally, a baseline survey was distributed through dissemination nodes to teachers to analyse children’s perception of space and space careers. These results will contribute to understanding how to best reach students and motivate them to pursue space-related careers.

At the end of the first year, discussions started on sustainability aspects of the project. It has been decided that efforts will be made towards the project promotion and sustainability through European institutions in 2016. An event is planned to be organised at the European Parliament in spring 2017. The IAU-OAD invited the regional OAD offices to join the project as dissemination partners. Very positive feedback was received, and a meeting taking place March 2–4 will allow further discussions about the project between the regional offices and the project partners from the OAD. First steps were taken towards the organisation of an event at the African Union to investigate possibilities for space to contribute to Africa’s capacity-building efforts. The workshop will be held in Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia in fall 2017.

The major event in 2016 is the EU Space Awareness International Workshop. The workshop will be held from Tuesday 18 to Saturday 21 October 2016 in Leiden, The Netherlands. The event will gather project partners, dissemination nodes, and teachers, and it will focus on the EU Space Awareness topics, results, and outcomes. Organised in collaboration with ESA and the Galileo Teacher Training Programme, the event will include scientific and educational topics.

Since March 2015, EU Space Awareness delivered six reports:
• D2.1 Report on entry-points for space topics in the curriculum.
• D3.1 Report on space resources for primary and secondary school teachers
• D3.2 Digital booklet on Citizen Science space projects
• D4.1 Report on prototypes
• D5.1 EUSPACE-AWE Communication Handbook
• D6.1 Report on initial space careers projects

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

One additional outcome of the development of the MOOC series is the collaboration with 54 volunteer teachers who will participate in the making of the courses, the implementation of videos, and the preparation of supportive material that will facilitate the team in the process. Over 100 teachers from 20 countries around the world showed interest in the first place.

During the first months of the project, Leiden University conducted preliminary research about the use of Citizen Science projects for formal education. This pre-study demonstrated the potential positive impact of the use of such projects on the motivation and interest of students. This warrants the development and use in EU Space Awareness of a repository of space-related Citizen Science projects and digital booklet. The research efforts will be extended through the project’s evaluation activities.

The development of a Space Scoop website specifically dedicated to kids appeared to be the best way to extend the direct use of this already-popular tool by its target audience. The new kid-friendly website was released in 22 languages in December 2015.

A strong collaboration started between ESA and EU Space Awareness. The two partners will organise an international workshop in collaboration with Galileo Teacher Training. ESA and GTTP will bring additional resources, promotion, renown, and their strong experiences to the event as well as speakers with expertise in science and education. Thanks to this joint organisation, the audience of the workshop can be extended from the 50 people planned in the DoA to 100. The Unawe, Ecsite, and Scientix networks will also strengthen the event. The collaboration between ESA and EU Space Awareness also relies on the use of ESERO resources in the EU Space Awareness compendium. The development of co-branded career material, including a video, a booklet, and a game, is in discussion.

Two enthusiastic new dissemination nodes, Unawe Tanzania and the University of Nigeria, joined the project in January 2016. Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (Morocco) was invited to join the project as a main collaborator and advisor in developing the Islamic Heritage kit. The university was naturally invited to join as the dissemination node in Morocco and included as such in the network in January 2016.

To support the project activities and provide an opportunity to test educational and supportive material with teachers, EA proposed the organisation of a summer school as part of the series of trainings organised by the Greek institute. The summer school will take place from 3–8 July 2016 in Attica, Greece. As of February 2016, 43 applicants had already showed interest. UL used the opportunity of hosting the FP7 TEMI project congress welcoming 200 teachers in April 2016 to organise an EU Space Awareness workshop as a pre-event. The workshop will take place on 15 April and is fully booked by 25 teachers.

Finally, a networking event for space outreach European projects was organised in April 2015. Initiated by Open University (coordinator of Europlanet and partner of EU Space Awareness), the meeting allowed coordinators to meet, exchange project plans, and discuss possibilities to coordinate some common actions.

Related information

Record Number: 186677 / Last updated on: 2016-07-14
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