On the 24th-25th March 2015, the Education Development Centre organised the international “Innovation Swap Workshop” in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event brought together 36 participants – representatives from the British Council, students, teachers, researchers, education policymakers and education experts – and 15 project partners from Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Portugal, Serbia and Bulgaria.
This workshop focused on good German and Lithuanian practices in STEM education. Representatives from Germany highlighted few aspects in STEM education promotion. According to representatives, ambassadors (for example, STEM Teachers’ Association, National Forum) are integral part in STEM promotion. The cooperation culture, which goes beyond schools’ network, is also very important: German schools are cooperating with universities, scientific research institutions and labs, business companies. For example, business company “Telekom” supports Academy of Junior Engineers. Moreover, to achieve and realize a full potential in STEM promotion partners from Germany are convinced that combining formal and informal education activities is also a key. This is achieved through the biggest STEM contest in Europe for students "Jugend forscht". Based on German experiences, partners suggested to organise international contests and video projects, to allow students to pick a scientific problem and invite STEM experts for cooperation, to apply inclusive education and to develop student-to-teacher mentoring.
Lithuanian experience was presented by MARCH project manager in Lithuania Dr. Loreta Statauskienė. Video reportage on local workshop “Invariants of Creative Learning Laboratories” provided an overview of five STEM activities and piloted possibilities to integrate Arts to create STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) education. Students from Vilnius Tuskulenai secondary school, who represented the main STEM target group, outlined the importance of linking science with everyday life and shared their suggestions for more attractive ways to learn science such as: mapping school surrounding environment, application of media to demonstrate experiments in labs, watching historic documentaries to interpret and analyse historical events. Dr. Dainius Žvirdauskas, the headmaster of Kaunas Technology University Engineering Lyceum, spoke about new environments for experiments and multifunctional engineering centre. Dr. Eglė Jasutė, a researcher from Vilnius University, presented project MASCIL, which is focused on inquiry-based science teaching promotion in secondary and primary schools. Project coordinator Ruta Mazgelytė and project manager Dr. Loreta Statauskienė wrapped-up Lithuanian experience and invited participants to reflect on Lithuanian and German experiences.