This text is partly inspired by previous projects related to Open Science Schooling (OSS). Articles and descriptions can be accessed via the button ‘About Open Science Schooling, and the description of the project. The titles are listed below.
Open schooling is about collaboration, that strengthens both the school’s teaching and the identity of the local community. In cooperation with other stakeholders schools will, become an agent of community well-being. On the one hand, it is quite obvious: The teaching of the school’s subjects can become more rich in perspective for the students by being related to the outside world.
Open Science Schooling (OSS) is fundamentally different from modernization of science education: it is based on student teams’ long-term engagement in real-life science challenges in the community, the science missions; the learning happens through such engagement and through the insertion of science knowledge on demand along the missions. The OSS methodology is the first systematic one to change science education for young students fundamentally.
The OSS is based on the top 10 recommendations for innovative science learning and engagement:
- re-engagement strategies going far beyond instruction and classroom
- re-engagement strategies that link strongly to the 21st century lifestyles and identities of young people in their teenage period
- innovation of science learning not for but with the young people (the very important co-design and co-creation aspects)
- innovation that links science learning to cross-sector collaboration with relevant private and public players in the near or general community
- collaboration with those community players to bring real-life and real-time cases into the science learning process
- science learning in integrated mixed realities (social and virtual ones)
- science learning through international collaboration
- science learning innovation will be strongly linked to what is important for society and the new young European generations in 21st century
- science learning offering young people active explorative roles in the form of science detectives, science journalists, science adventurers, etc.
- science learning that fosters interest in innovating changes taking entrepreneurial action
The idea behind implementing OSS is that young people conceive the science projects that they will be working on and running as a group. The successful implementation of a project developed through OSS is based active contribution of all the group members. As a starting point, young people are immersed in the project design with the aim of steering, carrying out tasks and taking initiative towards the fulfilment of their selected project. The expectation is that through this process the students’ interdisciplinary competencies and skills may develop. OSS is a learner-centred approach that engages and allows them to try out new activities. Furthermore, OSS encourages students to find connexions outside schools in order to understand science contextually in society, creating strategic partnerships between schools and relevant stakeholders, notably experts in different fields that could collaborate with the students. This may contribute to their knowledge bringing forth innovative ideas and solutions. In our work, the students chose participating in this type of non-traditional learning freely. (Montero, C.S., Baranowski, A. & Gejel, J (2019)
The OSS didactic
The OSS didactic approach is imbued in a science pedagogy implemented through the following processes:
- Problem identification and contextualisation. Students are engaged in understanding what the real problems are that affect their local community, and how science can offer support to understand and meliorate the situation. In order to understand the problems students are prompted to involve the local community as collaborators in their investigations, including research and innovation centres, industries, NGOs, and other social stakeholders.
- Knowledge and competences acquisition. Once a problem has been selected to be tackled, students receive training and information on demand from school teachers and other stakeholders from the local community as well as from their own investigations. This invites the acquisition of digital literacy skills, cross-subject matter and cross-disciplinary knowledge as well as the development of self-regulation, collaboration and communication skills, cultural awareness, creativity and problem-solving efficacy. Here the students benefit from learning through a variety of practice-oriented work forms that support different learning styles.
- Documentation. The students are encouraged to keep a record of their process and involvement in their projects. This serves the students as a tool for self-reflection on the work accomplished, and provides them with a narrative of their experiences.
- Sharing. The students are also encouraged to share their experiences and solutions with peers in their schools and with their local community. The sharing can take place online.
– “Our students are really engaged when they are able to do practical things especially outside the school e.g. workshops and laboratories at university or manual works. They also like visiting our local stakeholders and do interviews.” (teacher 1)
– “In an open school environment, teachers are invited to work together with the community, such as parents, businesses and policy makers to transform their students into more responsible citizens. The commitment of the community to a school has many advantages for teachers. The community may support students and teachers inside, but also outside the school. These collaborations may help teachers to be more up-to-date with their own subject and to get more inspired by good examples from practice. Teachers will get more motivated and inspired students. This is because students find it much more interesting to be involved in the real world dealing with real issues.” (teacher 2)
– “It’s one of the most difficult things to encourage critical thinking in students. But through this method of OSS I think we have a new tool that we can use, a better tool, because the students can see from real person that working with science from a company or another job, they can talk to them and the science they learn in school matters and it can be useful for them in the future, so we can encourage them in this way to learn about science and to use their critical thinking to solve their problems. problems not solved by the teacher but they have to figure it out by using their critical thinking and by finding out the steps of the solution”
To support the understanding of open schooling, the following documents have been prepared in previous ‘Open Science Schooling’ Erasmus + projects. They are based on the text above.
Grau, D., Torra, I., Mancho, F. & Mulero, L. (2020). Open Science Schooling
Suero Montero, C., Baranowski, A. & Gejel, J. (2019) Open science schooling – rethinking science learning In EDULEARN19 Proceedings (pp. 9159-9164). IATED.
WwEU (2021). Guidance for Partners – Open Science Schooling
WwEU (2019). What is a mission