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Designstem: integrated design + STEM education
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Design-intensive industries play a vital role in the EU economy. The European Commission aims to increase the use of design for innovation and growth across Europe; raise awareness of how design-driven innovation increases efficiency in public services and drives business growth; create capacity and competencies to deliver these policies (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/innovation/policy/design/index_en.htm). According to a recent recommendation (2015) by the Directorate General for Internal Policies national strategies should amongst other things aim to promote a positive image of science, raise awareness of science, make improvements in school based science teaching and learning, increase students' interest in science. Education and training play a fundamental role in achieving the ‘Europe 2020’ objectives. Investment in education and training for skills development is essential to boost growth and competitiveness: skills determine Europe's capacity to increase productivity.Project DESIGNSTEM is based on the objectives of “Education and Training 2020” (ET 2020) in education up to 2020: 1) making lifelong learning and mobility a reality; 2) improving the quality and efficiency of education and training (http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/education_training_youth/general_framework/ef0016_en.htm). It is aimed at the internationalization of education and growing use of digital learning, supporting the creation of flexible learning pathways in line with learners' needs.The objective of DESIGNSTEM is to contribute to devising, building and disseminating work methods and resources for educators and learners in the fields of design and STEM; to support synergies between education, research and innovation activities, the digitisation of quality learning content and promoting the use of ICT as a driver for systemic change to increase the quality and relevance of open design and STEM education. The number of participants is 10, along the 3 strategic lines of the project:1) Research and development of innovative STEM educational methods and tools, using ICT: the LUMA Centre of Helsinki University, Finland; University of Piraeus Research Centre (UPRC), Greece.2) Applied/vocational design education: the design department of Kuressaare Regional Training Centre, HMC College, The Netherlands; Tartu Art School, Estonia; Gutenbergschule, Germany. 3) Applied/vocational STEM and IT education: Middlesbrough College, UK; ITT Buonarroti, Italy; Polytechnic School of Leiria, Portugal; Faculty of Information Studies, Slovenia.Three methods will be applied: design-based research, whole-task model and agile methodology. DBR is an a methodology for understanding how, when, and why educational innovations work in practice. Design-based research experiments include addressing complex problems in real, authentic contexts in collaboration with practitioners; designing learning environments and developing theories of learning research and development through continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign. The work process of devising the exercises in the toolkit will be based on the whole task model. Whole-task models support the development of educational programs for students who need to learn and transfer professional competences to a varied set of real-world contexts and settings. Whole-task models try to deal with complexity without losing sight of the relationships between elements (Merriboer). The work process of developing the IO will be based on agile methodology, an alternative to traditional project management, typically used in software development. Agile development methodology provides opportunities to assess the direction of a project throughout the development life-cycle. This is achieved through regular cadences of work, known as sprints or iterations, at the end of which teams must present a potentially shippable product increment.Within 3 years, in 7 training workshops, 10 educational organizations- have collected a resource of the best existing methods, tools and cases of e-teaching design and STEM subjects;- have gained new knowledge and skills in design-based research, whole-task models, agile work methodology in creating educational e-tools;- have worked with ca 100 design and STEM concepts/principles;- have designed and developed an open e-toolkit of ca 30 educational applications, animations, games and a glossary of the main design and science terms in English and the languages of the partner countries;- have tested and applied the e-toolkit in their everyday teaching and learning activities;- have disseminated the e-toolkit to other educational organizations in their and neighbouring countries.The main expected impact will be the improved knowledge and skills on integrated design and STEM of VET, secondary school, colleges, applied sciences university teachers and students, and the better employability of the latter in design and STEM fields.
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