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ENGINEER aims at conducting an extensive outreach program that will take place in the 10 EU Member States/Associate States participating in the project. The outreach program will target schools, teachers and teacher trainers.
Task 5.1: Outreach campaign – This involves an overall plan for the outreach activities, planning the general content of each activity and identifying the parties that will be responsible for detailed planning and implementation. It is envisioned that each science museum partner will serve as a hub and will undertake in parallel several outreach activities. Similarly, each ENGINEER school partner (―front-runner‖ school) will also undertake outreach efforts. The outreach campaign will focus on the training of teachers and teacher trainers. The following diagrams envision the range of outreach activities to be undertaken by museum hubs and school hubs respectively:
Task 5.2: Recruitment efforts aimed at each museum‟s local network of schools – As part of their existing programs, each science museum already has established contacts with a network of local schools. Each museum will contact these schools and promote both teacher training (to be provided at the museum) on the use of ENGINEER engineering units in their own classrooms and participation of school classes in engineering unit programs (―Engineering workshops‖) to be offered at the science museum. Part of the recruitment efforts will aim to attract teacher trainers to be trained in the use of ENGINEER‘s engineering units. Some museums will also contract schools not currently in their network (―non-network‖ schools) to encourage their participation.
Task 5.3: Training of teachers – Science educators in each science museum and teacher trainers will implement teacher training sessions. It is envisioned that the training sessions for teachers will cover totally three days of training for each teacher spread over three occasions. However, flexibility will be provided for local variations. During and after training teachers will use the engineering units in their classroom teaching at their schools.
Task 5.4: Training of teacher trainers – Each science centre/museum will, together with the teacher from the partner school, implement training for teacher trainers in the use of ENGINEER engineering design challenges units. This training will equip each participant with the ability to train other teachers on the use of the engineering units. These trainers will go on to offer training to other teachers (See Task 5.5.) The identity of the teacher trainers will differ according to country, as some countries (or their ministries of education) may have a more developed ―teacher trainer‖ job position than others. In many cases, the ―trainer‖ will be a regular teacher that will be trained to be a trainer for other teachers.
Task 5.5 Training by teacher trainers – Science museums and some of the school partners will provide space for teacher trainers to provide training and will help recruit other teachers to participate in such training. The goal is to create a cadre of local / regional teacher trainers who will then offer training to teachers at various schools in the area. This will provide the basis for further dissemination and impact, during the project and also after it ends.
Task 5.6: Outreach activities in the museums – (1) School programs dealing with the lessons from the engineering units will be provided to school groups visiting the science centre/museum. The intent is to serve school classes at schools where engineering units are not already being used by teachers in those schools; (2) Museums will offer teacher training (including training of teacher trainers); Museums will offer short programs on engineering topics to the general public visiting the museum, as part of the museum‘s offerings to visitors. Such programs are aimed at providing some inquiry-based exposure to engineering topics – with the programs led by members of the museum staff.
Task 5.7: Outreach to other schools – Each school partner will promote further outreach through informal networking, providing information about the school‘s positive experience using ENGINEER‘s engineering units in the teaching of science and technology. The schools that will be invited to participate will receive the project‘s teacher guides and materials kits.
The following measures will be taken to ensure that teachers will indeed use the engineering units:
Training workshops: will be developed in such as way as to give the opportunity to teachers to try out the activities contained in the kit themselves (ask them to do what they will ask their students to do) so that they become more informed and confident about the use of the kit. This way they will come to appreciate it and the probability of using it increases.
Top-down approach: partners will work together with local/regional school officials and get them to promote the material together with us. This would make the material even more ―legitimate‖ and increase the motivation for teachers to use it.
Teacher networks: science museums and school partners will provide ongoing support to the teachers that will participate in teacher training activities:
“Teacher networks: We aim to create local networks of ENGINEER schools, connected to each science museum. The museum and front-runner school will act as a hub for each network. Contact teachers from the front-runner school will be responsible for the network and coordinate its activities, such as ENGINEER teachers club or training sessions. The museum will be responsible for supplying the network with training, network competence, updates on research and curricula etc.