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MARCH Local Workshop Report

MARCH Local Workshop title related to the theme „SUSTAINABLE CITIES“

„Invariants of creative learning laboratories: sustainable cities“

Location

Education Development Centre, M. Katkaus g. 44, Vilnius, Lithuania

Date

February 19, 2015

Participants

Educators: 26; students: 12; researchers and experts in education: 16, policy-makers: 3.
Short description of workshop organizers

Dr. Loreta Statauskiene, Education Development Centre, Head of Education Curriculum Department, loreta.statauskiene@upc.smm.lt, MARCH Project manager in Lithuania.

Alvida Lozdiene, Education Development Centre, supervisor, alvida.lozdiene@upc.smm.lt, MARCH Project coordinator

Ausra Gutauskaite, Education Development Centre, supervisor, ausra.gutauskaite@upc.smm.lt, MARCH Project coordinator

Ruta Mazgelyte, Education Development Centre, Development of In-service Teachers‘ Training and Retraining System (Phase III) Responsible for monitoring, ruta.mazgelyte@upc.smm.lt, MARCH Project coordinator

 

Thematic focus of the workshop

Which topic your country has chosen? (Please mark)

  • partnerships with associated partners
  • using ICT in teaching science
  • application of innovative methods for the development of natural sciences‘ competences
  • organization of scientific research
  • development of natural sciences‘ competences outside school
  • promotion of natural sciences (scientific festivals)
  • other

Lithuania has chosen to address the following issues identified in „The State of the Art in Science Education: Results of MA.R.CH. empirical studies“ report (2014) [Report]:

  1. Primary: Old-fashioned paradigm in STEM teaching - STEM education follows the traditional scheme: theoretic tasks firstly, practical tasks – secondly; STEM curricula is too oriented towards theory.
  2. Secondary: lack of STEM teaching devices at schools; insufficient cooperation between business and schools for STEM promotion.

Aim and objectives

The aim: to pilot MARCH recommendations for the development of STEAM and to provide a space for the best practice dissemination.

Objectives:

  1. Following the Report recommendations and identified issues to pilot an innovative approach in STEM education;
  2. To evaluate this approach as a good practice by participatory observation;
  3. To initiate cooperation between STEM researchers, experts and practitioners for reflective analysis of current and new STEAM experiences.

The pedagogy / good practice you have expected to test

Incorporation of Arts elements into STEM teaching.

The result you have expected to achieve

Teachers and pupils feel positive and show acceptance towards innovative approach in Lithuania – STEAM.

Form of the workshop

Workshop

Preparation for the workshop
Activities performed before the workshop To prepare for the workshop we have thoroughly analyzed „The State of the Art in Science Education: Results of MARCH empirical studies“ (Galev, 2015) Report with an aim to identify and extract the most important issues and recommendations for STEM education. These issues and recommendations served as a basis for us to develop workshop’s conception.
To test the pilot (when innovative technologies are presented by business representatives and questions of education organization improvement are analyzed by observers – researchers and curricula methodologists), 2 creative workshops 2 days each were organized. „3D creative workshop” targeted to pupils, teachers and researchers and “STEM direction: 3D creative workshop“ targeted to policy makers in education, observers and advisors – consultants on application of mobile devices in education. Insights and observers’ recommendations were the backbone to construct the optimal version of Local Workshop’s programme.
Since we aimed to pilot an innovative STEAM approach in STEM education (i.e. incorporation of Arts into STEM teaching) in our workshop, the involvement of researchers in piloting was crucial. Therefore, before the workshop we developed an instrument (an open-ended questionnaire) for researchers to observe and evaluate teachers and pupils’ response to this new approach in STEM. We have circulated the instrument to researchers to familiarize with it before the workshop. Researchers’ selection was designed to cover (represent) various fields in education like languages and artistic education; natural sciences, sciences and technical education; primary education.
It was important for our preparation for the workshop to select business partners to lead activities in laboratories (as the report outlined a particular need to connect business and schools). When selecting partners we aimed to ensure a variety of technologies and activities related to STEM disciplines. A supplementing selection criterion was the possibility to have a hands-on experience with technology during the workshop.
Selection of pedagogy for testing We have based our idea to incorporate Arts into STEM teaching on the premises:
a) Activity of the left side of brain is essential in STEM disciplines.
b) People, who are engaged in activities, which require activity of the left side of brain, need to have a break and change to activities, which activates the right side of brain, i.e. activities related to Arts.
We have faced the problem how to design the workshop properly. We have chosen the solution to include a theatre sports activity between theoretic introduction to sustainable cities concept and practical activities.
The pedagogy we aimed to test was innovative, for this reason there was an element of uncertainty, how participants of the workshop will react to it, especially to the idea that teachers and pupils will participate in activities together. It was a challenge to traditional approach on pupil-teacher roles in learning activities.
Another challenge was the acceptability of STEAM itself, because in Lithuania it is a very new approach. To manage these challenges we invited researchers to observe participants and the whole process and evaluate it in open-ended questionnaires.
Selection of participants for the workshop When selecting participants for the workshop we aimed for geographic distribution, as it will help to spread MARCH ideas and innovations in STEM. Keeping in mind the fact that for knowledge sharing on MARCH it is important to share both - deepened and new knowledge, we also aimed to select participants from schools already familiar with MARCH and schools not familiar with MARCH. In result, participants were selected from various Lithuanian regions, from rural and urban areas.
Since the project is targeting male and female secondary school pupils, we aimed to follow this criterion too. Pupils, who were able to attend the workshop with their teachers, were males and females aged 13–17.
Agenda
Activities The workshop was divided into 3 parts: 1st part - creative learning laboratory „Sustainable Cities”, 2nd part - creative learning laboratory “Sustainable Cities”, 3rd - creative learning laboratory “Sustainable Cities“. Creative practical activity.
In the 1st part Ms. Ruta Mazgelyte briefly introduced the concept of „Sustainable Cities“, to all participants. Participants were provided with a justification why sustainable development is important and how it relates to sustainable cities. Presenter has overviewed the core characteristics of sustainable cities, such as economic, social, ecological, physical, political sustainability. Then Mr. Zilvinas Beniusis, a graduate of theatre education from Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, lead theatre sports activity. All participants were invited to participate in improvisation. In result, participants relaxed their bodies, mind, and prepared their brain to be activated during laboratories.
In the 2nd part participants were divided into groups comprised of researchers, teachers and pupils and were assigned a laboratory to take part in. In Robotics academy laboratory Ms. Ieva Jonaityte, Mr. Saulius Vasiliauskas, Mr. Kristijonas Vasiliauskas from „Robotics academy” and Mr. Rimantas Burnickis from “Baltic Orbis” company were teaching pupils and teachers to program robots. In 3D printers’ laboratory lead by Mr. Mindaugas Pozingis (“Business machines company”) teachers and pupils have learnt to create models for 3D printers and how to print them. Ms. Genovaite Kyne, the vice-president of Lithuanian geographers society, and Mr. Simonas Saarmann - a doctoral student from Vilnius University - were leading a landscape laboratory. In this laboratory, participants went outside to explore surroundings of Education Development Centre. In digital nature sciences laboratory Ms. Goda Zukauskaite (“Science technologies”) has shown how to work with “Einstein” equipment for laboratories. Pupils and teachers were given few tasks to try to work with this equipment. In GIS laboratories participants were presented with GIS possibilities. This laboratory was lead by Ms. Lina Ciuniene (“Hnit-Baltic“).
In the 3rd part Ms. Zydre Jautakyte, the supervisor from Languages’ and Artistic Education Subdivision in Education Development Centre, gave a short presentation on logics of creative thinking. The presenter has outlined the importance of creativity in sciences. It was argued that artistic creativity skills is easier to acquire. Nevertheless, once these skills are acquired they can be transmitted to creativity in sciences. The 3rd part was finished with practical work - students and teachers teamed up to create sustainable cities’ models from garbage and to present their concepts to other teams. After presentation students, teachers and researchers were discussing and developing proposals for policy-makers.
Roles of all groups of participants Pupils and teachers participated in activities on equal basis. They were learning together and both of them had equal conditions to experience and practice with technologies. Teachers and pupils also had a chance to work in the same team (when they were creating sustainable cities’ models). It enabled pupils and teachers to change their traditional roles of learner and knowledge holder to team member and team member.
Researchers were assigned a role of participatory observer. They were taking part in activities, but also had a mission to observe pupils, teachers and the whole process happening in laboratories.
Short description of educational spaces and technologies used in the workshop The workshop took place at Education Development Centre. For each activity a separate space was provided.
Innovative devices and technologies were used in vast majority of laboratories. LEGO, computers and programming software, projector was used in Robotics Academy laboratory, 3D printers, computers and 3D modeling software, projector – in 3D laboratories, projector, GIS software and computers – in GIS laboratories, „Einstein“ devices - in digital nature sciences’ laboratory. Pupils and teachers had a possibility to have hands-on experience in these laboratories. Landscape laboratory was organized outdoors. Therefore, it has not involved the use of technologies.
Theatre sports and creation of sustainable cities models required active participation of pupils and teachers and activation of brain for creativity. To enhance imagination none technological devices were used.
Summary of questionnaire
The overall opinion of groups is positive. It seems that participants feel the need for changes in STEM education, because the proposed approach was acceptable for them.
For majority of adult participants (teachers, researchers, experts and policy-makers) the workshop has covered their vision of STEM pedagogy. This vision is described as having features such as: multidisciplinary integration, the use of inquiry-based and experience-based methods, application of new technologies, STEM strategy developed together with pupils and their parents. Since this vision was in line with workshop, nearly half of teachers tended to answer that activities in the workshop are somehow similar to their professional activities, which can be an indicator that some changes are already happening at schools.
The possible added value of this workshop for adult participants was the perception that they have not only learned about innovative technologies and their potential to be integrated in lessons, but also to communicate, cooperate with strangers and to release creativity.
For the majority of pupils workshop activities has matched their vision of learning STEM, which covers such aspects as: hands-on experience, research, the use of modern technologies, more attention to gifted children, untraditional lessons, science relation to surroundings. However, contrary to adults, pupils to do not feel that workshop activities are their usual learning practice. It can show two things: a) the changes, which adults’ answers were implying, are minor and students cannot distinguish the difference; b) the changes could be relatively new and pupils are not able to describe it as their usual practice yet.
The possible added value of this workshop for pupils was the perception that they have learned about new technologies, had a possibility to try them. They expressed a desire to see these technologies in their school. Besides instrumental learning, pupils mentioned that they have learnt to work in teams, to discuss and to communicate with others better.
Evaluation results from Local Workshop in Lithuania. (part 1)
Evaluation results from Local Workshop in Lithuania. (part 2)
Dissemination in the country
Since 2015 March Local Workhop’s experience is presented and discussed as STEAM current issue in all events organized by Education Development Centre for teachers.
Other means of dissemination in the country include internet media channels:
Article link (Lithuanian):
http://www.upc.smm.lt/projektai/march/naujienos/atranka.php
Video link (Lithuanian with English subtitles):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YEjTU_YD4U
The main message:
Education Development Centre is implementing the project MARCH launched in 2014. European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme finances the project. February 19th, 2015 Education Development Centre hosted a local workshop - „Invariants of creative learning laboratories: sustainable cities“. The workshop piloted an innovative approach in STEM education, which aims to incorporate Arts’ elements into STEM teaching.
Participants were introduced with sustainable cities’ concept, relaxed their brain with theatre sports and were invited for hands-on experience in laboratories (Robotics academy laboratory, 3D laboratory, GIS laboratory, Landscape laboratory, Digital nature sciences’ laboratory). Then pupils, teachers and researchers joined to learn about the algorithm of creative thinking to create sustainable cities’ models.
Dissemination for partner countries
A video (Lithuanian with English subtitles) on Local Workshop:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YEjTU_YD4U
Local Wokshop’s – „Invariants of creative learning laboratories: sustainable cities“ – results for project partners were presented in International Innovations Swap Workshop (24th-25th March, 2015).
Video reportage about the workshop
February 19th, 2015 Education Development Centre hosted a local workshop - „Invariants of creative learning laboratories: sustainable cities“. The workshop piloted an innovative approach in STEM education, which aims to incorporate Arts’ elements into STEM teaching.
The reportage gives an overview of this workshop. It locates the rationale of the workshop within the framework of project MARCH, shows workshop activities and provide with participants’, lecturers’, organizers’ comments.
Video link (Lithuanian with English subtitles):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YEjTU_YD4U

 

Achieved outputs

  1. 12 pupils and 26 teachers participated in piloting of innovative approach in STEM education.
  2. 10 researchers’ evaluations on innovative approach in STEM education piloted during the workshop.
  3. 12 researchers, practitioners and experts participated in a follow-up discussion for reflective analysis of current and new STEM (STEAM) experiences.

Report was prepared by

Name Surname: Ruta Mazgelyte
Country: Lithuania
Organization: Education Development Centre
E-mail: ruta.mazgelyte@upc.smm.lt
Date: 2015 04 13

 

Evaluation results from Local Workshop in Lithuania. (part 1)
Evaluation results from Local Workshop in Lithuania. (part 2)

 

 
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