On 13 June 2022 the CONNECT User Advisory Board members and implementing partners met to discuss the open-ended scenarios and strategies for implementation and scalability. Useful input was provided throughout the discussions.
To kick off the discussion implementing partners presented their current work with the implementation of open-ended scenarios at schools. Laia Vives Adrián and Rosina Malagrida from IRISI presented their work with implementing a method combining science actions, open-ended scenarios, and a system approach covering the topic of mental health. One key advise from this implementation experience was the importance of creating and using networks, when setting out to implement open schooling processes and engaging various participants.
Raquel Glitz from APC presented their current implementation of the open-ended scenarios. As the school year runs from March to November the implementation was midway in the know-stage of the process, engaging six schools and about 415 students. Different topics were covered. Social vulnerability of students and challenges in a post-pandemic school systems were reported as recurring challenges experienced in the implementation.
Engaging scientist and other participants
Another challenge brought up during the discussion was the difficulties with motivating scientists in the processes, particularly difficulties with making it clear why they should participate. One board member reported that they would gladly implement the open-ended scenarios as it involves more students, but the main challenge was finding and engaging scientists.
It was hereby suggested to make use of the entire scientific ecosystem and engaging scientist from different scientific entities and not only scientists from universities. Science communicators or scientists from science centres or museums were suggested. Another suggestion was that if scientists could use the data generated in the project for their own research, they might be more motivated to participate. Experiences with larger conference where many students can interact with difference scientists at once were moreover shared as a way of utilising the scientists’ time and engagement. Video recordings with engaged scientist to ensure a reach of more students was also mentioned.
Key benefits and barriers
The discussion also included a mapping of key benefits and barriers of the method to support the further implementation. Key benefits that were mentioned were:
Two key barriers were highlighted during the discussion. The first one was that the processes are very extensive and time-consuming. The second barrier mentioned was the lack of recognition from the state for the advanced work carried out with the implementation of open schooling and the open-ended scenarios. It was moreover mentioned that the processes seem to be engaging more students than usual, but not all and the aim should be to engage 100 % of the students.
Strategies for implementation
After the mapping of benefits and barriers, strategies for scalability and how to motivate the implementation of the open-ended scenarios were discussed.
One suggestion was making sure that the benefits of the methods are clear and well-presented. Promotion of the benefits as well as of the career opportunities that might follow working with open schooling and participatory science education was also mentioned.
Other suggestions were focused on how to support the teachers. Here teacher training, certifications or micro-credentials was suggested as useful for the teachers. Involving and establishing partnerships with municipalities might also be a great support for the implementation.
The feedback and input have been used for the development of the Co-creation Method for Open Schooling as well as the Science Action Multiplier report. Both will be published in September.
The next CONNECT User Advisory Board will take place on 10 October 2022.