European STEM Professional Development Centre Network
To provide as many teachers as possible with relevant and high-quality professional development (PD) courses, in many countries national professional development centres have been set up in the past years. The European STEM Professional Development Centre Network grew out of the idea that these national centres should be connected internationally since they have similar aims and agendas, namely: investing in teacher professional development to substantially improve STEM education as it happens day-to-day in schools. Despite different national circumstances, foci and structures the national PD Centres across Europe encounter similar concerns and challenges. International collaboration therefore seems essential. The network ensures knowledge exchange in order to improve local practices in STEM professional development and strengthens the voice of practice when it comes to shaping innnovation in STEM education in Europe.
The research and practice-oriented 2014 conference “Educating the educators - International approaches to scaling-up professional development in maths and science education” served as a platform to initiate the collaboration of PD Centres across Europe: in the course of the conference the first meeting of European Professional Development centres involved in math and science education took place. Hosts of the conference and the first PD centre meeting were the European project mascil (mathematics and science for life!) coordinated at the University of Education Freiburg, and the DZLM (German Centre for Mathematics Teacher Education, funded by the Deutsche Telekom Foundation).
Owing to the resonance the first meeting found, the University of Education Freiburg, as part of its initiatives within the mascil project, took a lead in facilitating further meetings. To date, five meetings of the European STEM Professional Development Centre Network took place: in December 2014 in Essen (Germany), in May 2015 in Vilnius (Lithuania), in December 2015 in Sofia (Bulgaria), in June 2016 in Hradec Králové (Czech Republic) and most recently in November 2016 in Freiburg (Germany) as part of the second Educating-the-Educators conference.
The next meeting will take place in Sweden (May 2017). This and future meetings will be hosted by a new Erasmus+ project (STEM PD Net) which serves to further promote the European collaboration of PD Centres and their activities to improve STEM education.
The network members are proud that only after two years of the first meeting they bid successfully for competitive EU funding. The project STEM PD Net (project website to be published in early spring 2017) is an essential step to further strengthen collaboration within the network.
The European STEM Professional Development Centre Network has also grown substantially since its initiation in 2014 and currently comprises around 30 STEM PD centres and similar organisations like educational authorities or Ministries of Education from 12 European countries. The University of Education Freiburg who has acquired a renowned standing in Europe in the field of promoting innovative practices in STEM education serves as the Network Coordinator.
More information on the network's members, previous and future meetings, as well as on our aims and activities can be found on the following pages: