An anecdote kicks off this October 20, 2023 news item on phys.org,
In a part of Sweden northeast of Stockholm, Nina Berglund likes trying out new ways to teach her science students aged 10 to 12.
Berglund recently invited a physics professor named Staffan Yngve to her class in the municipality of Norrtälje. Yngve brought with him a nail mat on which he proceeded to lie down to demonstrate the forces at work, delighting the students. “Even four months after, my pupils still remember it and speak about the visit using scientific terminology,” said Berglund.
She is a proponent of “open schooling,” an idea that science teaching must go beyond the staples of school labs such as test tubes, Bunsen burners and the periodic table to get students interested.
Amid concerns that Europe is attracting too few people—especially women—into scientific fields, the aim is to bring science to life for pupils.
While it has no formal defining characteristics, open schooling tends to feature activities such as on-site visits, off-site trips and remote learning that are generally exceptions in standard schools.
The story about open schooling in Europe comes from an October 19, 2023 article written by Andrew Dunne for Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine (also on Horizon science blog), Note: A link has been removed,
‘The big idea is to overcome the barriers we see with science education,’ said Maya Halevy, director of the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.
Halevy led a research project that received EU funding to advance the whole concept. Called Make it Open, or MiO, the project ended in September 2023 after three years.
It helped to establish open schooling “hubs” in 10 European countries ranging from Sweden to Greece, bringing together more than 150 schools.
… at a Spanish educational institution called IES de Ortigueira in the northwestern part of the country, 12-year-olds learnt about physics by designing and building model playgrounds. The models were then displayed in the library, where the students explained their work to visitors.
At the primary school of Makrygialos near Greece’s second-biggest city, Thessaloniki, teacher Thanos Batsilas and his students were part of a living lab that taught environmental science through an activity involving mussel farming.
They accompanied farmers on a boat out to sea to observe how the environment is inextricably linked to the wellbeing of area residents and how climate change is advancing. The underlying point was that mussel farming is a viable way to make a living and can help support the local ecosystem.
Children loved the living-lab activities because they love anything that is out of the box,’ Batsilas said. ‘They embrace it.’
Koulouris [Pavlos Koulouris, faculty member at a school called Ellinogermaniki Agogi] said open schooling has the potential to turn traditional notions of academic achievement on their head.
You can find the Make it Open website here.