Aims and objectives
The project aims to add its contribution to the current efforts of a creative and innovative school by focusing on two key areas that could support the realization of suitable initiatives in every single school.
- NEXT STEP is proposing a whole school approach to learning by supporting schools’ capacity to work with external organizations so as to explore how such partnerships and networks can be built through a long-term strategy-based on trust and common objectives and how they contribute to key competence development. The development of key competences is further facilitated by the provision of context from other disciplines. Teaching science in the context of the arts, humanities and social sciences is recognised as an important learning aid. This is known as STE(A)M approach to STEM education. Similarly, the infusion of science and maths into the learning of non-STEM disciplines could strengthen key-competence development in those disciplines. There are numerous innovative initiatives in the field (e.g. the Global Science Opera – https://globalscienceopera.com/, Learning Science Through Theater – http://lstt.eu/) that have the potential to increase students’ achievements in key competences. Collaboration amongst teachers is one of the key features of NEXT STEP whole school approach, which aims at creating inclusive learning environments that foster competence development for all learners.
- NEXT STEP will go a step further by setting up a roadmap for the transformation of the school classrooms to creative and innovative learning spaces: when thinking about the (re)organisation of a classroom and which pedagogies to use to promote a creative and innovative school, thinking out of the box is the key to success. To inspire this thinking, NEXT STEP will look at different examples and research findings which show the need to re-think classrooms organisation in order to facilitate creativity and innovation (along with distance learning opportunities) and well-being at school. In this framework the NEXT STEP project will design and set in operation the STEAM IDEAS’ Square, an innovative learning environment which will be the nucleus of the school’s creative and innovative activities. Connecting curious minds to speed up the flow of ideas through collaboration, prototyping and experimental innovation we aim to create an effective classroom environment for students, teachers, scientists and the local society to ideate, build and test in a collaborative environment and a unique space. NEXT STEP will demonstrate how these environments a) can offer opportunities for deeper learning (https://hewlett.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Deeper_Learning_Defined__April_2013.pdf) of STEAM, b) can improve the innovation and creative capacities of learners, c) can support the new role of teacher as a coach of the learning process, d) can facilitate the effective cooperation with external stakeholders and e) can inspire policy-makers, school heads and school staff to imagine the schools of tomorrow.