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CREATIONS - Developing an Engaging Science Classroom

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CREATIONS (CREATIONS - Developing an Engaging Science Classroom)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-11-30

The CREATIONS project has developed and implemented at large scale creative approaches based on scientific phenomena and discoveries, combined with Art to provide an engaging science classroom. Through a variety of events, exhibitions, interactive workshops and numerous school-based implementations, CREATIONS established a pan European network of students, teachers, researchers and artists, and involve them in unique learning experiences. Recent discoveries in the field of high-energy physics, astronomy and biology were the focus of the implemented activities.
The work in the second period of the project has focused on the systematic work and developments that took place during the first 15 months of the project: In the first period, the CREATIONS pedagogical framework was formulated (WP2). Based on the main principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), the CREATIONS pedagogical framework supported creativity as a generic element in the processual and communicative aspect of the pedagogy by integrating culture and arts in innovating teaching practice. The teaching practice offered students high participation and interaction with the research culture as it is developed in big research infrastructures such as CERN and its experimental facilities did. The pedagogical framework was realised through the production of the initial 20 CREATIONS Demonstrators (WP3) following an efficient and effective management scheme. In the current reporting period, more than 80 additional CREATIONS Demonstrators were designed and reviewed. With their large-scale implementation in the participating countries and beyond (WP4 and WP5), a wide range evaluation scheme was possible measuring motivational and cognitive processes associated with creativity (WP6). With the collected data of almost all CREATIONS demonstrators, the correlation between creativity and science education was analysed leading to a better understanding of creativity and the chances of STEAM. This was the main and most significant achievement of our project.
In total 5.253 teachers with 34.934 students took part in the implementation of the CREATIONS Demonstrators in more than 40 countries, at local, national and international level in a variety of settings, spanning from the school classroom to science centers, research centres, exhibitions and others and varying in time from a few school hours to months accordingly. In total, the status of the CREATIONS portal at the end of the project, was in terms of numbers the following: 5.526 unique users, 1141 of whom were registered and provided 843 user-generated educational resources in total. Furthermore, 1166 teachers participated in 75 visionary, practise reflection and summative workshops (WP4). 10.000 students provided feedback for the validation of the project’s activities, most of them in a pre- and post- fashion, indicating an overall satisfaction with the project’s approach and an increase in their creativity and interest in STEM after the completion of the activities they participated in. We were able to shed light on the connections between creativity and science motivation, a field of creativity research that had not yet been investigated in this way.
The results presented briefly above are indicative of the strong dynamics of the CREATIONS project, taking into account the inherent challenge presented by the very nature of the pedagogical approach followed.
CREATIONS has demonstrated significant impacts in two key areas:
a) In simulating in the classroom the work of the scientist and researcher: The direct interaction with science or the doing of science reflected a fundamental pedagogy of the project to provide learners with personal and direct experiences they built upon in their own ways. For example, through the proposed e-masterclasses students experienced the phenomena presented in their own terms, freely choosing what to attend to and interacted with, depending on their prior knowledge, interest and expertise. The CREATIONS Demonstrators were not simply “demonstrations” of scientific research, but primarily as interactive and vivid initiatives where users equipped with powerful applications become the researchers, the seekers and finally the leaders of the scientific quest. Through their extended implementation (WP5), students had the opportunity to interact with researchers in live internet chats and in podcasts and webcasts, asking questions and hearing them describe their work (and their lives). Students had the chance to conduct or imitate scientific experiments as “performers of knowledge”. In physical and virtual visits to the research infrastructures and in videos students also heard about the work of a researcher and watched them in the field using the scientific infrastructures themselves. Having role models, developing relationships with mentors and gaining job experience all are mentioned in the literature as factors enabling young people to picture themselves succeeding in a science or a technology career. The data acquired (WP6) from 10.000 students demonstrate that there is a significant relevance between the CREATIONS approach and the students motivation and interest to follow scientific careers.
b) In encouraging and empowering science teachers to affect change: The actions described above cannot be accomplished without the full collaboration and engagement of teachers and their schools. The project has expanded the opportunities for teachers’ professional development, including occasions to interact with working scientists, e-masterclasses for teachers and educators, science contests, workshops and training seminars to help them to introduce innovative practices in their science classroom, and more generally think differently about their students’ learning of and about science. Furthermore, international training events were organised with the support of the European Science Education Academy (see creations.ea.gr). By offering teachers a large repertoire of tools and applications, along with a detailed school-based framework for their effective introduction in the school practice, CREATIONS has empowered teachers not only to change their teaching practice and introduce contemporary scientific issues in their lessons, but also to propose and initiate the necessary changes in their schools. This allowed for a more seamless introduction of ICT innovations. Numerous resources were created by teachers and they have populated the CREATIONS Communities. Moreover, the teachers who participated in the project became curriculum developers themselves, validating thus the CREATIONS approach and methods.
Consortium Meeting 2017
Consortium Meeting 2018
Kick off group picture 2015