Popularisation of science through synergy
The Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNet showed that science can be popularised through synergy by organising, as part of the Inspiring Science Education project, two visionary workshops which were attended by more than 100 participants from several different communities - the scientific research community, the science popularisers community, the educational community and local self-government units. As a reminder, CARNet will try, in conformity with the goals of the Inspiring Science Education project and its own vision and mission, to popularise science and natural science subjects in 313 Croatian schools by using information and communication technologies (ICT).
The first workshop was organised on 3rd December 2013 as a videoconference with as much as seven remote locations, while the second workshop took place on 17th December in the premises of CARNet in Zagreb. On the first workshop, the attendants were introduced to problem learning with research and problem solving, obstacles and solutions in the popularisation of science and good practice examples from seven schools which were introduced to methods of enriching and modernising, with the aid of technology, the nature and society, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and information technology lessons, as well with the ways of making them more interesting to students. One of the most interesting parts of the workshop was the presentation of good practice examples in the work of scientists and science popularisers. In their presentations, they showed how their activities contribute to promoting science among students and how important the demystification of "genius" and "talent" is. They also stressed the importance of providing support and encouragement to students and increasing their interest in science, which will be achieved precisely through the ISE project.
The participants of the second workshop were presented with the results of a very interesting research showing the impact of socio-demographic factors on the interest for science summer schools, as well as with the analysis of the results of the questionnaire filled out by the participants of the first visionary workshop, which revealed the scope of the availability and use of technology by teachers in their classes, the amount of professional training they receive, as well as all the advantages and drawbacks of the analysis itself.
As a follow-up to the results of the questionnaire, the participants were divided into three groups - principals, ETTA and representatives of local self-governments. The topics discussed in the groups were the following:
- the needs of primary/secondary school teachers related to the achievement of the ISE project goals, i.e. the popularisation of science and natural science school subjects through the implementation of ICT;
- proposals of potential solutions for the achievement of these needs;
- the potential contribution of a particular group in the achievement of the activity goals of the ISE project.
The results of the workgroups and mentioned research, as well as other results of the visionary workshops, are available at http://www.carnet.hr/ise/radionice.