The Scientix workshop organised on Tuesday, 1st July 2014 focused on enhancing teacher participation in European, local/national and/or school-based STEM projects. The audience included undergraduate teachers who are currently in their final year of the teaching degree at the Faculty of Education within the University of Malta. Indeed the aim of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the vast range of STEM projects thus encouraging the participation of novel Science/Mathematics teachers together with their students in european, national and/or school-based initiatives.
During the first part of the workshop two science teachers shared their experience in two different national science-related projects. Indeed Mr Michel Spagnol (a Physics teacher) delivered a presentation about the different organisational phases from application to the implementation phase of a school-based project namely xjenza@handaq that he coordinated together with a team of teachers and students. A second teacher namely Ms Audrey Vella Bondin (a Biology and Physics teacher) discussed her participation in the national NSTF Science Week – a science project contest targeting secondary school students. During both presentations the participants were engaged in a discussion about both the benefits and the challenges related to such project participation.
Towards the second part of the workshop the participants were introduced to the Scientix-2 project. The different facilities offered on the portal including the project database, resource repository, the newsletter, the events calendar and the blog were presented. Following this introduction participants formed groups to explore and browse the STEM projects available on the Scientix-2 portal. The participants in each group explored the projects according to their area of specialisation namely Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Ecology, Environmental Science and then shared a STEM project that they found particularly appealing. Indeed during the plenary session participants discussed the virtual labs of the Go-Lab project, the Learning through Inquiry booklet of the Fibonacci project, the hands-on science activities of the Do-It-Your Sciences project, the featured astronomy-related activities of the ASTROEDU project, the inquiry-based mystery activities of TEMI (Teaching enquiry with mysteries incorporated) the student-friendly teaching resources related to trees, ecosystem and sustainability of the BEAGLE project, and other related resources ranging from lesson-plans, tool-kits and IBSE teaching guidelines/booklets. Participants were also interested to come across two recently uploaded national projects namely X’hemM? Il-Birgu and the Malta Robotics Olympiad.
During the final discussion, participants were also invited to put forward STEM projects that they will embark upon, for possible submission on the Scientix-2 portal. The feedback from the participants was positive and many were eager to sign up for the news email update available on the Scientix-2 portal.