IN2STEAM’s activities are proceeding: despite the distance we continue to meet (on-line of course!)
The distance imposed by the Covid-19 emergency did not stop the activities of the project IN2STE(A)M – Inspiring Next Generation of Girls through Inclusive STE(A)M Learning in Primary Education.
We organised two on-line focus groups (the first on the 7th of April and the second on the 21st of April 2020) with the participation of teachers, parents of primary school students, artists and female STEM professionals.
The focus groups aimed at analysing the value of STEM education in increasing the motivation and the involvement of students (especially girls) in the learning process of scientific subjects.
The choice of the participants of the focus groups were moved from their experience with the STE (A) M world, creating two heterogeneous groups that brought out an interesting picture on the current situation.
Teachers have argued that often there are no tools that can facilitate the teaching of STEM subjects in primary schools and that is important to activate synergies that could lead to a change, such as the sharing of tools that encourage the effort of the teacher in the classroom and that can involve students to improve their critical and problem-solving skills.
According to the parents, boys and girls must follow their ambitions with an accompaniment from parents and their school, that should help them to choose their path without restrictions from the society that still limits, in some fields, the aspirations of girls in the choice of STEM careers.
The female STEM professionals involved in the focus groups shared the difficulties that women face along the way in achieving a STEM career, but also the opportunity to use their own example to influence today’s girls to become the scientists of tomorrow.
The artists involved reminded us that creativity is the fulcrum of many innovative methodologies: stimulating children with games and inventiveness can even turn difficult subjects in a fascinating adventure ((for example, mathematics is still the nightmare of many boys and girls!)
The contributions from the participants of the focus groups will finalise the desk research on the state of the art of STEM education in the Italian school, completed the past few months.
The joint results of the desk research and the focus groups will be used as a theoretical foundation for the development of tools that promote innovative methodologies, following a multidisciplinary approach with a focus on contrasting gender gap in STEM education in primary schools.
Over the next few months, we will develop an open curriculum with online training modules targeted to primary school teachers with the aim at increasing their skills, in order to foster students’ critical thinking and problem solving, and to integrate interdisciplinary approaches in STE(A)M learning.