The use of ICT in STEM education
Contemporary use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) based approaches to STEM education provides students with plenty of opportunities for inquiry. ICT environments that offer simulations, games, data sets, and/or remote and virtual laboratories are especially relevant in this scenario. Technological affordances may be used for pedagogical purposes in that inquiry calls for non-linear, manipulable, and runnable content, which technology is able to offer. Research shows that Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) inquiry environments provide students with genuinely effective learning opportunities and large-scale studies show that, on different outcome measures, TEL-based inquiry outperforms more direct approaches to instruction (Alfieri, Brooks, Aldrich, & Tenenbaum, 2011; Deslauriers & Wieman, 2011; Eysink et al., 2009; Marusić & Slisko, 2012; Scalise et al., 2011; Smetana & Bell, 2012). Currently, a growing number of ICT based inquiry environments have emerged, providing students with inquiry facilities together with integrated supportive structure and scaffolds. All these environments are based on simulations and/or remote labs.
Teachers need to be acquainted with the online labs and simulations and need to be able to use such teaching tools in the classroom. This requires not only the knowledge of technology per se, but also requires knowledge of matching inquiry learning pedagogies, and the science content to be taught. To adequately prepare teachers (also teachers-to-be, or pre-service teachers) for the use of online labs, their current experience should be taken into account.
In this regard, Teacher Training Institutes are at the forefront of education since they have the possibility to train future educators into innovations and methodologies that they can put in use in the classroom. Next-Lab understands the importance of TTI’s role so it aims to facilitate their work by providing them support and custom-made materials.
Teacher Training Institutes Framework
In the scope of Next-Lab, European Schoolnet is responsible for the development of the Teacher Training Institutes (TTIs) framework, aiming for the outreach and adoption of Inquiry-Based Learning in digital environments (such as Go-Lab) and in general, fostering innovative approaches to initial teacher training.
The TTIs framework outreach plan includes the provision of dissemination materials & support materials, experts support, customization of tools, trainings, and exchange of best practices within the innovative teacher training institutions all over Europe, while fostering a network of EU projects within the field of Initial Teacher Education.
The programme has already recruited 19 institutions across Europe (and beyond):
- University of the Basque Country, Bilbao Campus
- Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
- National & Kapodistrian University of Athens
- Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra
- TOKL (University of Turku)
- Riga Technical University - Distance Education Centre
- BAUSTEM Center at Bahçesehir University
- Tartu Ulikool
- Institut Français de l'Éducation
- University of Coimbra
- Israel Institute of Technology
- Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
- University of Aveiro
- ELAN (Universiteit Twente)
- Yildiz Technical University
- University of Leicester
- Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
You can find the information about the TTIs involved in the project here.
The registration for Teacher Training Institutes is open throughout the whole project, so if your organisation is interested in joining the initiative, please send us an email to:
Evita Tasiopoulou: evita.tasiopoulou(at)eun.org
Enrique Martin: enrique.martin(at)eun.org
If you are interested in learning more about ICT in inquiry and the development of an inquiry-based training material Next-Lab offers for pre-service teachers, do not hesitate to contact us and join the Next-Lab initiative!