Scientix workshop – STEM Schools, what should we make to increase the interest about STEM subjects in schools, how to develop good STEM School Strategy

Scientix workshop – STEM Schools, what should we make to increase the interest about STEM subjects in schools, how to develop good STEM School Strategy was held on 30.09 and 01.10.2022 in Veles, as part of the Center for innovation and digital education’s activities as Scientix National Contact Point. The aim of the workshop was to introduce Macedonian teachers with the concept of STEM Schools, how to develop good STEM Strategy in schools and to make them familiar with the process of school self-assessment and obtaining STEM School Label.

At the beginning of the workshop short presentation about Scientix and Center for innovations and digital education’s activities as NCP was carried out. Participants were introduced with the recent news about Scientix, with the special focus on the upcoming 4th Scientix Conference. Discussion about previous Dig-Ed activities, webinars and workshops was carried out. The call for sharing best STEM practices which include use of mobile application as the result of the previous workshop was announced. Through interesting icebreaking activity participants were introduced among each other.

Discussion about the current situation with STEM subjects in schools on national level followed, and participants in group discussed about the activities that should be carried out in order to increase the students’ interest about STEM subjects in schools. Teachers stated that they need support from MoE and BDE and more flexibility in the implementation of STEM curriculum in schools. Some ideas were mentioned that could be implemented in schools for increasing students’ interest in STEM subjects: establishing of STEM clubs, organizing different extracurricular interdisciplinary activities, promotion of STEM on different events, fairs, STEM days, establishing cooperation with industry etc.

The presentation about the main topic of the workshop started with a discussion about participants opinion what is STEM school and how they can develop good STEM strategy taking into account the need to increase students’ interest about STEM subject. Participants’ ideas and thoughts were collected and discussed using Mentimetar. Sharing ideas and examples has followed and ideas how to create good STEM strategies were presented.

Scientix Ambassador, Maja Videnovik, introduced participants with the term STEM school, STEM key elements and criteria as well as STEM School Strategy. Detailed analyzes and explanation of key elements and criteria was done. The discussion about participants’ opinion whether their schools are STEM schools followed having in mind already mentioned criteria.

The process for school self-assessment was explained step-by-step and discussion for its implementation was carried out. In this part the description of STEM School Evidence and Case Study has followed and the distinction between them was made. Different STEM School Labels and criteria for their achievement were discussed. Scoring system was analyzed in details and detailed description of self-assessment form was done.

Hand-on activities were carried out where participants created their accounts on STEM School Label platform, editing their profile and their organizations. After that the process for submitting School Practice Evidence and Case Study was explained. Possibility for teachers networking as well as discussions in forum and monthly pool were explained. The explanation of the process of filling self-assessment form was made and discussion about participants’ first impression was carried out.

During the hand-on work participants created their first draft submission of School Practice Evidence. The presentation of their work was made and analyzes about meeting STEM school criteria followed. The information presented at the workshop were completely new for most of the participants and it was interesting to see the enthusiasm with which they have made their first steps in school self-assessment process.

At the end of the workshop the conclusion about the process for schools’ self-assessment and application for STEM School Label and short introduction to future activities was made as a last activity on the workshop.