Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

PENCIL — Result In Brief

Project ID: 511165
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY
Country: Belgium

Science can be entertaining

Science learning for students is becoming much more engaging, relevant and exciting, thanks to novel informal learning techniques that involve museums and exhibitions.
Science can be entertaining
Beyond classroom learning, informal learning such as through visits to museums and science centres has great potential in communicating challenging yet relevant topics in everyday lives to school students. The EU-funded project 'Permanent European resource centre for informal learning' (Pencil) aimed to strengthen this type of education.

The project was crucial in encouraging new informal teaching strategies to build motivation, in addition to involving students and teachers in the actual design of science exhibits, museums and programmes. It launched 14 different initiatives and projects with local schools that explored how to solidify the links between formal and informal learning environments.

The Pencil project promoted a series of initiatives in which science museums and science centres worked closely with teachers to develop practices which exploit the learning opportunities provided by both contexts. This was supported by yearly meetings and online forums involving all institutions involved (across Europe and in Israel) to help fine-tune the strategy and define common goals.

Ultimately the results of the project and the success of its many initiatives offer a wealth of information to researchers, policymakers and educators, revealing how science centres and museums could evolve. The concept can be applied to a vast array of classical subjects such as astronomy, biology, geology and botany, but also to relatively newer fields. These include nanotechnology, quantum physics and genetics, potentially presented through interactive displays, novel demonstrations and 3D audiovisual media, rendering cutting-edge science a much more exciting field for future generations.

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