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 Aut├▓noma 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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How do European projects reach policy-makers?
According to a European Commission officer, "policymakers and researchers operate in different professional contexts with divergent frames of reference and incentives. They are subject to different pressures, have developed different traditions, follow different schedules and have cultivated different modes of discourse. While they may focus on the same socio-economic phenomena, they approach them from different angles with different sets of priorities".

However, one of the first tasks for researchers is to make sure the policy-relevant issues at
the heart of the project have been clearly defined and communicated.

Do you have any good examples of how to disseminate project results to policy-makers? How to reach them?
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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?