Project managers Project managers

The second Online Discussion Event for project managers takes place on 7-9 November 2012 and will be moderated by Marisa Hernández. During the three day event the participating project managers are invited to discuss which European and national science education project results they have knowledge of. The issue of impact in educational practice or effectiveness of dissemination methods will be further discussed.

Bellow you find a summary of the themes we will discuss each day of the event.

Day 1
The first day will focus on the STEM education projects about which the participating project managers have had some information or involvement in order to share experiences on dissemination strategies of certain projects.

Day 2
On the second day, project managers will be asked to explain the perceived impact of specific projects and the way they use the results of previous projects.

Day 3
The last day project managers are invited to reflect on the needs of each target audience concerning dissemination and  to exchange ideas about how to make project results not only available but also more understandable and usable to help each target audience apply these results in practice efficiently.

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Meet the expert Meet the expert

Marisa HernandezMarisa Hernandez is a research assistant and member of the Executive Board of the Centre for Research in Science and Mathematics Education (CRECIM) of the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, Spain. She  has a BA in Physics and PhD in Science Education.

With a staff of 9 full-time employees, 5 part-time secondary school teachers, and 3 PhD students, CRECIM manages a number of national projects and local initiatives on science and technology education. They cover a broad range of topics, from digital classrooms in science lessons (ADIGIC) and technology enhanced science learning for children in hospital (TEACH); to school-university (REVIR) and school-industry (Prat de la Riba) collaboration.

On the European scene, CRECIM has been actively involved in the management of several EU-funded projects: STISS, IKUITSE, Materials Science, TRACES and ECB/inGenious.

 

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Introduction
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Introduction
07/11/12 09:40
To follow up with the first Online Discussion Event (ODE) we will continue to focus on the challenges to communicate science education projects results to different target audiences. In the first ODE, we talked about communication channels to disseminate STEM project results.

The European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) and 7th Framework Programme have devoted substantial budgets for funding a range of science education projects from 2007 to 2013. According to the Rocard report from 2007 on science education, many of these projects actively contribute to the renewal of science teaching in Europe. Nevertheless, the projects are often small-scale and often do not have enough capacity to disseminate their results to teachers in Europe.

Today we would like you to mention the STEM education projects you know. It might not be easy to remember all the projects you have heard of during the last few years. Therefore we will mention a wide range of projects on which you are welcome to comment. We would like to know if you have heard of specific results of these projects such as a publication, the website or virtual tools. We would also be interested to know if you were subscribed to any of the newsletters providing results from European or national STEM projects.
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RE: Introduction
07/11/12 13:44 as a reply to Marisa Hernandez.
Greetings to all

I enter into the discussion bringing some reflections related to my recent experience.

I am Emilio and I was coordinator of FP7-TRACES project (www.traces-project.eu)

TRACES explored innovative ways to involve teachers and other stakeholders in actions aimed at improving science education. TRACES researchers have worked in a teacher‐centred approach and raised their awareness and understanding of the constraints that affect research‐based teaching practice.

TRACES experimented participative research and an innovative teacher training model which involves a community of practice including teachers, researchers, school managers, parents and fosters new ways of participation, as opposed to the widespread the top-down approach.

TRACES produced a series of case studies which analyse the implementation of field-actions and illustrate the issues emerging in school practice in each partner country.

In general, my idea of dissemination is summarized as follows:

we can spread good practice if the experiences are well documented and presented in a flexible way in order to generate adaptive processes. The results should be stimuli in their environment to generate new initiatives that take account of previous research.

For example, to the recommendations of TRACES we are now involving the Italian schools to understand together how the reflections on experiences can be the engine to generate effective learning activities, new ways of interacting with colleagues and researchers, etc..

emilio
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RE: Introduction
07/11/12 14:55 as a reply to emilio balzano.
Thank you for joining us in this event and for sharing your experience as coordinator of Traces Project, Emilio.

In my opinion, you pointed out a key issue to improve dissemination of projects' results and that is the need for well documented experiences that are presented in a flexible way in order to spread good practice. I also have experienced that disseminating teaching and learning materials (for example) to teachers is easier when these materials have been already implemented in class and you can share all kind of practical recommendations with them.

However, I am curious about how to materialize the presentation of results in a flexible way. Would that mean taking an active role in helping or supporting other stakeholders to adapt the project results to each context or scenario? Could you please elaborate more on that?
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RE: Introduction
07/11/12 19:40 as a reply to Marisa Hernandez.
dear Marisa,

sorry for the delay in reply and I apologize to all the other participants (hello Digna) because I could not follow the discussion today.

Obviously it is not easy to share a model to encourage the development of new initiatives that relate to the experiences made in the field activities in a previous project.
For example, if we refer to the training courses have already been tested successfully, the key point is how to facilitate the re-appropriation by teachers and other stakeholders (such as parents) . The aim should be not to give recipes but to put people in a position to learn from past experiences.

I try to say at least some elements that should be present:

-a case study that allows to frame the experience carried out with attention to the context and boundary conditions;
- movies of educational activities, audio and video interviews, analysis of interesting situations in the conduct of activities in the laboratory (eg analyzing how students interact with each other in group work, as the teacher intervenes in educational mediation for the formalization of concepts , to guide the sharing of ideas and strategies etc.)
- a description of the process that led to the definition of the model and results. In particular, the emphasis should be on the evaluation of both the learning and the process.
- a set of resources (eg learning materials for students, scripts for teachers with a detailed description of how it was made) not necessarily designed in the project
-...
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RE: Introduction
08/11/12 10:22 as a reply to emilio balzano.
Thanks Emilio for sharing some good examples of formats that would facilitate the adaptation of project results for the purposes of teacher training.
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Latest posts Latest posts
RE: Thinking of potential stakeholders of project outcomes: What do they ne
09/11/12 12:29
Petr Kaufman:
I'd say that teachers needs and dissemination activities are two separate things. Needs finding should be at the very beginning of the project cycle, dissemination at the end.


Thanks for your contribution, Petr. I will tell you how I see it. I agree with you that we should take into account teachers' needs before starting a project since any funded project is addressed to specific stakeholders' needs or problems. However, although projects' outcomes addressed these needs, the dissemination plan could not take into account aspects as which are the channels that teachers prefer or which characteristics (language, format, length, duration, cost, etc) facilitate teachers' engagement and understanding.

For example, let's say that one project's outcome consisted of a teaching and learning virtual environment with a repository of activitites addressed to facilitate the introduction of socioscientific issues in the science class. Which actions should this project carry out to disseminate these outcomes to a certain number of teachers? In case, the project had a budget for organising face-to-face workshops, which would be a suitable format for helping teachers understand and use this product? And in case the dissemination should be done through online courses?

I consider that there are also some specific needs to take into account when talking about dissemination plans.
RE: Thinking of potential stakeholders of project outcomes: What do they ne
09/11/12 12:01
I'd say that teachers needs and dissemination activities are two separate things. Needs finding should be at the very beginning of the project cycle, dissemination at the end. If your project doesn't address teachers's needs then you can have the most brilliant dissemination plan that reaches every single teacher in Europe, but teachers simply won't use your project results.

In my opinion the steps should be as follows:

1. needs finding, needs assessment, based on that >
2. project proposal, based on that >
3. project execution, based on that >
4. dissemination

The dissemination should always be tailored to the type of products you develop; eg. dissemination of teacher training opportunities would be different from dissemination of learning resources, etc...
Thinking of potential stakeholders of project outcomes: What do they need?
09/11/12 11:00
According to some experts on dissemination, the most successful dissemination strategies will be those that actively engage users and deliver what the users both want and need. Then, ensuring the engagement of potential users in an early consultation exercise to
establish their needs should be an essential part of a project's work. Moreover, the outputs/outcomes of a project should be presented as benefits and solutions to the users.

If we focus on teachers or teachers trainers, who usually are one of the main stakeholders of science education projects, which of their needs do you think should be addressed in order to effectively disseminate project's outcomes to them?