MultiCO - Promoting Youth Scientific Career Awareness and its Attractiveness through Multi-stakeholder Cooperation

MultiCO is a project funded by the European Commission. It includes partners working together from five countries: UK, Finland, Estonia, Germany and Cyprus. Our main aim is to promote the awareness of a range of careers for all young people that involve scientific skills. Initially we are working with partners in industry, business and professions to establish ‘stories' from those in work, in order to create interesting scenarios that can be linked to curriculum topics and presented to students in lessons. The aim is to stimulate students' engagement in science learning through the use of scenarios and at the same time raise their awareness and interest in career paths that involve science. In addition we plan to work with teachers, parents and students themselves to incorporate their ideas in the design of scenarios, so that these are relevant to students from different cultures and communities. This is an important project to widen the opportunities for students and advance their understanding of science and possible careers.

The project started in August 2015 and ended in November 2018.

Aim

This project builds on literature research outcomes and proposes to study the impact of real life related, career-focused stories (referred to as scenarios) as the introduction to the learning of science subjects by secondary school students (ages 13 to 15). Through such an innovative development, initiating motivational and meaningful context- and inquiry-based science studies, the project researches the impact on learning and attitudinal gains, as well as students’ own ideas to enhance the relevance of science studies. The target is to increase students’ future preferences for choosing science studies and their desire to reflect on and pursue science-related careers.

Background

There has been a general educational trend towards context-based approaches and viewing science education as being education through the context of science. Context-based approaches and strategies that actively engage students in the learning process have been shown to result in improvement in students’ attitudes towards science, although the need for students to input their ideas and their indigenous knowledge should be taken into account. However, research has shown that middle grade students were not aware of career options, were not conversant with competences needed and few indicated knowing professionals actively working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Yet in recruiting graduates, employers have indicated that a range of skills were important and that the most important skills were team working, sector-specific and communication skills.

 

Objective

The intended project outcome is to raise youth awareness of the role of science and technology in society, an awareness of science and technology careers and orientation of students towards gaining positive views towards undertaking science careers. The project is planned as a longitudinal study over 3 years, involving multi-stakeholder co-operation between different stakeholders.

 

Consortium

The project is balanced so that all consortium partners work with all work packages. The project consortium brings together expertise at the highest level and quality from different areas of science education geared to secondary school and teacher education. The consortium carries out research in five European countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, and United Kingdom).

The consortium has been selected to represent different educational and cultural contexts, different achievement levels in international science education studies and different parts of Europe. Cyprus represents the Mediterranean countries, Estonia Baltic and Eastern countries, Finland Northern Scandinavian countries, Germany, countries from Middle Europe, and U.K. the Western countries. In this way, the consortium is able to extrapolate and exploit the findings from the five partner countries at the European level. The consortium includes big countries (U.K., Germany), small countries (Finland, Estonia and Cyprus), old European Union members (Germany, U.K.) and new members (Estonia, Cyprus). Through European collaboration, the project enables excellent medium-scale research and supports the research infrastructure of these countries both at the individual and at the European level. Particularly the small countries benefit from the research collaboration.

The partners of the consortium bring with them considerable expertise in research on science education. All project partners have been extensively involved in the actual development of science education through their research and from different points of view. As well as in their respective research, all partners have special expertise in science education as well as in teacher education. Furthermore, while all partners have high science education research expertise, Finland has wide experience in ICT based education and e-learning interventions, Cyprus in inquiry learning, the United Kingdom has expertise in participation and reasoning education, Germany is specialised in creativity in science education and informal learning, while Estonia has expertise in Socio-Scientific Issues and scientific literacy in science education. All partners have an institutional background related to their national and international networks and are well placed to disseminate the project outcomes.

Teaching material

Teaching materials are career-based scenarios and other materials supporting  the implementation of career-based scenarios.
The teaching materials produced as part of the project can be found here: https://archive.uef.fi/en/web/int-multico/teaching-material/

Keywords

Group members - UEF

Links