Project FRONTIERS

The Aims and Objectives of FRONTIERS Project

Attracting students’ attention by presenting contemporary Nobel Prize winning ideas in Physics and by offering activities that are closely related to new technological achievements and everyday life is one of the keys to stimulate students and contribute to the discovery of the next generation of innovators. Students are always fascinated by cutting – edge experiments and are eager to find out as much as they can about them.

FRONTIERS project aims to demonstrate how Nobel Prize winning Physics can be systematically integrated in the school curriculum. To achieve that, FRONTIERS brings together outreach teams from large scale research infrastructures in frontier Physics that can offer access to rich scientific databases and resources in a variety of fields that can provide a catalyst for science learning. Schools, universities and research centres will act as mediators, organising information – tailored to the needs of their communities – across scientific disciplines and providing tools for understanding complex scientific research, making science understandable and interesting to the public.

FRONTIERS will involve numerous teachers in the design and development of innovative classroom activities in collaborative way by developing a network where teachers can collaborate with other teachers but also with the outreach teams of large scale research infrastructures. Being part of a professional network will encourage interaction and will provide them with opportunities to enrich their practices and professional context through cooperation within and between schools, universities, and frontier research institutions, collaborative reflection, development and evaluation of instruction, exchange of ideas, materials and experiences, quality development, cooperation between teachers, students and researchers and support and stimulation from research.

The main objectives of FRONTIERS are the following:

The selection of a series of scientific research outreach programs that successfully introduce the scientific methodology in school science education, by utilizing existing research infrastructures of frontier research institutions enriched with online.

The integration of these initiatives under a common educational approach and development of the FRONTIERS Demonstrators that could be exploited and widely used from the educational communities in Europe and beyond. The creation of virtual learning communities of educators, students and researchers and involve them in extended episodes of playful learning. The systematic validation of the proposed approaches and activities in order to identify their impact in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency. The design and implementation of a systematic raising awareness strategy that will contribute to the effective communication of the project’s results and outcomes.

Bringing together expertise from frontier scientific research and educational research in formal and informal science learning, along with user communities across Europe, the FRONTIERS consortium aims to demonstrate how Europe’s scientific infrastructures could provide powerful tools for scaling-up current pilot implementations for effective introduction of frontier science in the school curriculum and development of effective outreach programs.

The main results expected from the proposed project are: The FRONTIERS Demonstrators, a series of innovative educational activities that offering access to unique scientific resources to teachers and students organized under a systematic pedagogical framework. The FRONTIERS Community, a virtual learning community of teachers, students and researchers who will be involved in extended episodes of playful learning. The FRONTIERS Community Support Environment will host the project’s communities while at the same time it will operate as a repository with unique educational resources. The FRONTIERS Tool-Kit “Effective Ways of Introducing frontier science in Schools”, that will be available through the e-Twinning collaboration space to all European schools.

The< FRONTIERS intellectual outputs document the work that has been done in order to realize the project’s objectives.

Output 1: Series of Scientific Research Outreach Programmes output presents the identification of outreach programmes in the area of outreach in frontier particle, astroparticle physics and cosmology research which successfully introduce the scientific methodology in school education. The selected programmes utilize existing research infrastructures of frontier research institutions enriched with on-line tools (data analysis tools, simulations & games) and web-interactive educational material. The project partners are developing and testing for many years such innovative applications (supported by relevant materials and resources) that promote creative problem solving, discovery, learning by doing, experiential learning, critical thinking and creativity, simulating the real scientific work (e.g. making real time observations using robotic telescopes, analysing read data from CERN detectors, implementing experiments in space). FRONTIERS aims to build on these successful initiatives and to go a step further, by proposing ways that (through the effective use of existing research infrastructure) could scale them up to include more students and teachers worldwide. By utilizing the use of existing outreach programmes, the proposed project will bring into the classroom activities that are based on real-world problems and will involve students in finding their own answers and solutions, testing their ideas, receiving feedback, and working collaboratively with other students and researchers beyond the school classroom.

Output 2: FRONTIERS Demonstrators

The FRONTIERS Demonstrators, will be a series of innovative educational activities that offer access to unique scientific resources to teachers and students organized under a systematic pedagogical framework. This intellectual output integrates the Series of Scientific Research Outreach Programmes under a common educational approach and develops the FRONTIERS Demonstrators that could be exploited and widely used from the educational communities in Europe and beyond. At the first stage of the work plan a pedagogically structured inquiry-based approach that promotes school and research centers collaboration will be adopted. Based on the proposed approach, the collection of outreach programmes that was developed in earlier will be enriched with the necessary pedagogical framework (connections to the curriculum, organisation at different levels of complexity, pedagogical and technical support, teachers training activities) to form the FRONTIERS Demonstrators to be used in the school settings.

Output 3: FRONTIERS Community Support Environment

The core task of FRONTIERS is the Creation of virtual learning communities of teachers, students and researchers. FRONTIERS is bringing together a network of educational communities and research centres in Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece in order to act as the pilot group for the project activities. This intellectual output presents the community building and support strategy as well as the virtual Community Support Environment of the FRONTIERS project.  The FRONTIERS Community Support Environment will host the project’s communities while at the same time it will operate as a repository with unique educational resources.

Output 4: FRONTIERS Evaluation Instruments and Report

This intellectual output presents the evaluation methodology and evaluation tools that the FRONTIERS consortium will develop in order to assess the impact of the project’s approach with students and teachers.  Utilizing the developed framework and tools, a data collection campaign will take place following the implementation of the FRONTIERS demonstrators. These data will be subsequently analyzed in order to investigate the impact of the project’s approach.

Output 5: FRONTIERS eTwinning Tool-Kit: Effective ways of introducing frontier science in schools

The main objective of this output is to generate a structured set of recommendations that will form the reference for a pan European roadmap for the introduction of relevant activities in schools. To this end the project consortium will deliver a set of guidelines and recommendations for the research and the educational policy communities to further explore and exploit the unique benefits of introducing frontier science in schools, demonstrating how scientific work can be used to provide an engaging educational experience through the exploration of “real science” and aiming to contribute to a better understanding of science and the role that it plays in society. The FRONTIERS Tool-Kit “Effective Ways of Introducing frontier science in Schools,” will be available through the e-twinning collaboration space to all European schools.

FRONTIERS is financed under the European Commission’s programme Erasmus+, Grant Agreement no. 2008-1-IE01-KA201-038817.