23.09.2021, Johanna Järvinen-Taubert
OTTER – promoting science education and outdoor learning
Studying science at school – is it exploring, making new discoveries, and having an impact? When teaching STEM subjects, are we helping students to understand and solve the wicked problems of our time? Is science education promoting sustainable development and joy of learning?
These are among the questions OTTER, an EU-funded project part of Horizon 2020, is trying to find answers to. The project’s name OTTER is referring to Outdoor Science Education for a Sustainable Future. The project was just launched with a kick-off meeting, and it will last 2,5 years until the end of February 2024.
The OTTER project aims to enhance the understanding of Education Outside the Classroom (EOC) methods and pedagogies and how they can help improve the acquisition of scientific knowledge and transferable skills in students, specifically in the field of environmental sustainability and the reduction of plastic waste. It aims to increase interest in scientific topics among young people, while also contributing to the range of innovative educational projects and the increase of scientific citizenship within the EU.
Seven European countries and eight partners have joined their forces in the project to promote science education and education-outside-classroom (EOC) models. Learning Scoop is happy and honored to be part of this great team 😊! Together with Geonardo Environmental Technologies (Hungary), University of Limerick (Ireland), The Big Van Science (Spain), University of Groningen (the Netherlands), European Science Foundation (France), Center for the Advancement of Research & Development in Educational Technology (Cyprus) and Bridge Budapest (Hungary) we will do our best to create innovative models for science education!
The OTTER project aims to tackle its main objective with several different initiatives and actions. The project will provide a comprehensive literature review and summary of best practices of science education, education outside of classroom and outdoor learning. In addition, the project will gather a database of relevant and interested stakeholders. It will also provide a novel co-creation space – an EOC Hub – for sharing ideas and models, learning from each other, distributing inspiring material and finding better solutions together.
Furthermore, innovative, new models for science education for school students of four different age groups (between 6 to 18, from school children to college students) will be developed. These new models will integrate STEM and art, outdoor learning, and sustainable development. There will be a special focus in these models on recycling and reducing plastic waste. These new models will be piloted in four different European countries: Finland, Hungary, Ireland and Spain. Learning Scoop will be responsible for the pilots in Finland as well as gathering data for analysis. The pilots will be carefully analyzed and evaluated and modified according to the feedback.
All kinds of useful material for teachers will be created during the project. Learning Scoop will be responsible of creating a toolkit for science education for teachers. OTTER project will also host several open events for teachers.
With the enthusiastic and accomplished OTTER team we are trying to create something new and take you to the wonders of outdoor science education! The project is open for everyone interested in the topic. If you have great experiences and examples to share, would like to know more about the actions and models of the project, or would like to join for instance the EOC Hub, don’t hesitate to contact us!