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Professionalisation for Learning in Technology & Science
Start date: Oct 1, 2008,

“Explainers” (also called museum educators, curators, facilitators, etc.), represent a verylarge group of actors in the science-society dialogue. Every day, many thousands ofthem are in direct contact with millions of visitors. Their work has a significant impact onthe general movement for the popularisation of science and for the engagement ofcitizens in debates on science and governance. They are a crucial human interfacebetween non-expert adults and science.There is much evidence of best practice in European science centres and museums,although currently little work is being done to ensure this becomes widespread on aEuropean level. There is also a growing awareness of the importance of the role ofexplainers, not just for supporting science innovation in schools, but for lifelongengagement in science and technology. However, that growing attention has not yetproduced a European dimension of thought. There is no systematic collection ofinformation about interaction methodologies and formats, numbers and training contentsand methodologies.“PILOTS” intends to follow two principal lines of action:1. the collection of data on European practices concerning explainers2. the planning and testing of training modules to enhance the role of explainersin lifelong learning in science (with particular attention to the new needs of explainers inresponse to the requirements of adult learners such as facilitating dialogue anddiscussion, tackling controversial and sensitive issues, taking into account genderdifferences and presenting current research).Four European courses on these topics will be organised during the two year project.The project aims to contribute substantially to the updating of explainers’ modes ofinteractions with adults in informal learning settings at a European level. The project willinvolve the partner institutions extensively, but will also involve a larger community fromthe beginning, through two important channels:1. “Ecsite”, the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (coordinatorof the project, with 385 members). Under the Ecsite framework a special Interest Groupon explainers has also begun to operate2. the web platform resource - a permanent online tool for the learningcommunity of explainers, that will remain active after the end of the project thanks to theEcsite Special Interest Group for Explainers.
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