In October, teachers and researchers active in the project met for an update of the current situation, discussed different issues, and set up plans for the upcoming work period. The meeting was initiated by Björn Brorström, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Borås:
GIGS stands for ‘Girls into Global STEM’, which is a project to encourage girls around the world to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Since girls are often interested in global issues and sustainable development, this project has chosen to take its starting point in solving problems related to these issues. The project is run by schools, universities, and research institutes in Great Britain, Poland, Cyprus, and Sweden.
Read more: International project to increase girls' interest in science
“This is a very important project that you are working on. Sustainable development and ‘science for the professions’ are two major focus areas for the University of Borås, and this project fits in very well with these.”
Several types of materials
The first year of the project had a clear focus. The researchers and educators participating in the project worked closely with pupils at different schools to develop new teaching materials that addressed issues related to globalisation and sustainable development. The pupils from the different schools had encountered different problems, and then developed e-books on their respective themes. One major advantage with the teaching materials consisting of e-books is that it opens up for integrating different types of materials.
“In our school, we looked more closely at ‘Zero hunger’, which is of the global goals for sustainable development. We developed a biodegradable pot, and we worked with cultivation and vegetation in different ways. In the e-book, we included small games so that the people who read the book can prove that they have read and understood”, says Alexandros Mikellidis, teacher at the Grammar School in Cyprus.
He says that the teachers at his school engaged pupils of different ages to accomplish different things in the project. One group of older pupils who spoke good English and already were quite technical were responsible for producing material and creating the e-book. During the course of the work, they tested their material on younger students to see what works.
Next step: teacher education
In parallel with the schools working on producing materials and creating e-books, the researchers involved in the project have looked more closely at the actual work process. By learning from working with the pupils, in the next step of the project they are going to educate teachers and teacher students in how to make pupils interested in technology and science.
“Here in Borås, we allow our future teachers in grades 4-6 specialised in natural science and technology to work according to the concept this autumn semester. The students then create e-books linked to the global goal ‘sustainable cities’ and then test these in different classes”, says Tobias Ruthenberg and Anne-Sofie Mårtensson, who are two of the teachers at the University of Borås included in the GIGS project.