Opening minds to STEM careers Angeliki's kougiourouki Learning driary

this is me....

... Angeliki, from Greece and I am a primary school teacher. I teach in an Experimental Primary School in Alexandroupolis, a city in NorthEast Greece. I am a lifelong learner and you can often meet me in MOOCs and eTwining Leaarning Events, Webinars, online and onsite seminars where I'm trying to learn new things to refresh my teaching methods. I am also an eTwinning ambassador in my region and an addicted eTwinner!!

...and this is my school!!

I teach in 1rst Exmerimental Primary school for about 12 years now. It is the school that I started years ago...as a pupil.... My school's building is one of the greatest and oldest classical buildings of Alexandroupolis. It is the building of the Academy of Pedagogical Studies which took the name from the donor George Zarifis. My school's main purpose is to become a vibrant learning organization, a creative community of students, teachers, parents, and knowledge. In this school attend pupils aged 7-12 years old and from 1rst till 6th grade. During the day pupils learn about Greek language, grammar and literature, math's, history, science, geography and they are doing religious lessons. Pupils are also learning English, German and French. They learn simple things about computers and web tools in the school computer lab. During the week they have the chance to come in contact with arts: they attend music course and they have the opportunity to express ourselves through theater and painting. They are also doing gym. After the formal program pupils have also the chance to attend courses in learning clubs.

Module 1: STEM careers in schools and in the job market

"The aim [of education] must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem." Albert Einstein

The learning objectives of Module 1 are:

  • Understand the relevance of STEM studies for students and society;
  • Understand the importance of STEM career in the job market;
  • Understand the importance of integrating STEM career guidance in lessons, curriculum and what are the benefits for their students.

1.1 The world of STEM

We, teachers should try to to attract more pupils to scientific and technological careers so they later embark on related professions.

My contribution: Everything around us can be explained by science. Everything around is us can be explained by maths. Technology is moving fast. We can not stay stack. We should provide our students with the best STEM education if we want them to be innovative, critical thinkers, ready to build their future careers.

1.2 STEM careers in the job market

STEM skills gap: European industries face difficulties in finding skilled workers

My contribution: In my country, Greece, the problem is not the lack of STEM skills but the lack of well-pay organisations which could hire all those qualified with STEM skills scientists. In fact, we should talk here about an incrising problem in the STEM job market that forces young people to look for well-paid jobs in other countries.

1.3 STEM career guidance in schools

"Most teachers waste their time by asking questions that are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas the true art of questioning is to discover what the pupil does know or is capable of knowing." Conversations with Albert Einstein, 1920

Cognitive-behaviour dimensions as the pillars of career development:

  • Awareness (students are aware and know the variety of STEM careers available),
  • Relevance (they see the connection between the subject they are studying and day to day life),
  • Engagement (students show direct interest and motivation to interact with the subject matter),
  • Self-efficacy (students are comfortable with using tools of science).

Teaching strategies, which foster STEM careers awareness, derived from a series of interviews with science teachers:

  • Incorporate both formal and informal approaches: constantly bring career awareness in your activities and do not keep it as a separate unit.
  • Help students see scientists as real people: students may have difficulty imagining themselves as scientists because they cannot see that scientists have a normal life, just like them. They have hobbies, families and various interests.
  • Connect the dots: it is not enough to just expose students to career information, the teacher also has to directly connect career information with whatever the student is learning at that moment. This can refer to making clear connections to the real-life use of subjects, to giving examples of how it connects to jobs of scientists. The student will not be always capable of making these connections themselves, and you will have to do that for him.
  • Embed reflection: To make sure that information sticks with students, and embeds reflection to drive a deeper understanding. Otherwise, a lot of the information can be lost over time if reflection is not used to “glue” it.

My contribution: In Greece we struggle between the curriculum and the application of what pupils learn into their real life. So, one of the challenges that matters for me for the moment is the lack of "a STEM career database so students can access information on different jobs under the umbrella of science".

Module 2: STEM Careers pathways I

Learning objectives

  • Understand which are the currently relevant STEM industries and what is the spectrum of jobs available in each of them
  • Explore and learn about different career pathways available to reach those careers;

2.1 The Fourth Industrial Revolution

My contribution: I will agree that an advantage could be in nanotechonolgy. Discussing the topic with my son who wants to study nanothechnology I found interesting the point of view applying it in the medicine industry. I found also interesting one of my pupils' future dream: a robot designer. I think that young people's mind goes around the Fourth Industrial revolution and how it will be applied in their future life!!

2.2 Evolution of STEM professions

Highlights:

  • Education is one of the most important pillars and that teachers need to be prepared to train pupils for the future of the workforce.
  • It is critical for pupils to pursue higher education

If machines will continue to take over a large part of our jobs, what do you think are the skills and activities that humans need to focus on in order to continue having relevant and fulfilling careers?

My contribution: I think that we should focus on developing 21st century skills like critical thinking and problem solving and these skills we should try to develop to our pupils in order to use technology as a tool to facilitate our future life.

2.3 Jobs of the future

"Rapid urbanization and cloud technology are already making their presence felt, whereas it will take a few more years for biotechnology and autonomous transport to seriously affect our lives."

Ten suggested future jobs:

  1. Virtual habitat designer
  2. Ethical technology advocate
  3. Digital culture commentator
  4. Freelance biohacker
  5. IOT data creative
  6. Space tour guide
  7. Personal content creator
  8. Rewilding strategies
  9. Sustainable power innovator
  10. Human body designer

2.4 Current STEM industries and professions

STEM fields include natural sciences (i.e. physics, biology or chemistry), mathematics, engineering, architecture and computing, but other fields such as medicine or social sciences tend not to be included.(data collected at the EU level)

What can teachers do?

  • Show your pupils the real life application of STEM in their daily lives earnly on
  • Nurture pupils' interest in STEM throughout their school years
  • Encourage them to follow a university degree in STEM
  • Show them that STEM is for everyone

Teachers play an important role in encouraging the uptake of STEM studies, often also acting as career advisors for their students.But being connected to emerging professions is one of the more difficult challenges teachers face. One way of overcoming this challenge is by establishing links with industries.

What do you think are the most highly looked after career paths in your regions? Reflect: what qualifications would the applicants need to secure those jobs?

My contribution: In my region there are no industries as it is a city located by the sea and most people here work for several governement departments. But I could point out some career paths that can be highly looked after such as the ones related to the sea or the wind, meaning renewable energy sources or tourism. Applicants should be qualified on how to apply these jobs in daily life respecting the environment and having in mind the sustainable development.

2.5 STEM career pathways

What are other sources do you use to document yourself about STEM jobs?

My contribution: I look for STEM jobs in the internet but more often I review the coursera courses or TED's video to be informed. Facebook teams, twitter, articles and MOOCs are my other important choices.

Module 3: STEM Careers pathways II

3.1 STEM skills

Learning Objectives:

  • Become familiarized with a set of STEM hard skills on demand;
  • Become familiarized with soft/transversal skills needed across all sectors/industries.
  • Explore various tools for matching skills with career pathways.

Hard skills:

  • teachable abilities usually present on the school curricula
  • can be measurable and quantified by a test or a national exam
  • usually requires the logic center of the brain
  • involve roules remainning the same independantly of the circumstances and of the person

STEK skills: “those skills expected to be held by people with a tertiary-education level degree in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths” (EU Skills Panorama (2014) STEM skills Analytical Highlight, prepared by ICF and Cedefop for the European Commission).

STEM skills can also be achieved through other academic paths, such as vocational technical education. There are non-STEM professions that use STEM skills. There are also many STEM degree holders working in a non-STEM occupation who might still be using their STEM skills at work.

3.2 STEM skills of the future. In focus: ICT and digital skills.

"Without a doubt, “well-rounded candidates with technical skills, broader competencies, such as mathematical capability, and practical work experience” (Bosworth, Lyonette, & Wilson , 2013) will be much in demand. For that matter, it is necessary to start adapting science lessons and to focus them on teaching pupils the skills and competences they will need for future professions. Moreover, this new environment will have significant implications for future workers, who will need to engage and support evolving innovative situations, which will demand individuals to attain high levels of digital and ICT skills."

1) Are you using technology in the classroom? 2) How would you develop digital skills in the classroom?

My contribution: Technology is an integral part of my teaching as I use technology either to be prepared and to teach. I also try to develop my pupils digital skills by using different web2.0 tools and several apps showing them how to use the devices in an innovative and productive way.

3.3 Soft skills

"The transition to become an efficient professional entails much more than the academic knowledge attained through the schooling system. It also requires the development of key soft skills necessary within the business environment. Future STEM professionals will be also progressively required to have greatly advanced ‘soft’ skills such as project management skills, communication aptitudes and problem-solving abilities."

  • Communication skills
  • Time management
  • Collaborative working
  • Agile working
  • Adapting to change
  • Responses to change
  • Presentation skills
  • Innovation & creativity
  • Experiential Learning
  1. Statistics
  2. Problem solving
  3. Creativity
  4. Argumentation
  5. Intellectual curiosity
  6. Data-driven decision-Making
  7. Flexibility

Pedagogical approaches to promote soft skills:

  • Project-based learning and inquiry based science education
  • Group work activities
  • Problem solving tasks
  • Self-regulation and time-on-task
  • Student self-assessment

Which 3 soft skills do you think are the most important within STEM fields and explain, in your own words, how you would address them in the classroom.

My contribution: I believe that the most important soft skills within STEM fields are: Innovation & creativity, Experiencial Learning and collaborative work to adapting changes. Working collaboratively in eTwinning I found the way adress these skills in the classroom

3.4 Classroom methodologies to promote STEM skills

  1. Engineering design: Engineering design is a methodology to promote the inclusion of engineering practices into the existing STEM curriculum
  2. Scientific inquiry/Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE): An inquiry approach to instruction requires teachers to “encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas, and skepticism that characterize science”.
  3. Project based learning (PBL): When engaged in project-based learning, students will be assigned a project or a number of projects guiding them to identify, through research, a real-world problem and to develop its solution using evidence to support the claim.

Share your thoughts on pedagogical approaches or classroom tools you can use in the classroom to promote STEM or soft skills. Which one is the best one? What tools are you using? Share your experiences, success stories and challenges!

My contribution: I often use PhET simulations in my science lessons. I use Kahoot to evaluate my eTwinning projects and seems interesting to use it to evaluate also the science ones.

3.5 STEM skills and STEM careers. Tools for match-matching

Explain which of the matchmaking tools presented is most interesting and the reasons for it. Do you have any such tools in your country?

My contribution: I visited the Entrepreneurial school TES guide, because I develop an Erasmus+ project related to entrepreneurship and I read that this tool "can be used at the start of a project in a single lesson and then re-visited during the course of the project to support the review process. Could also be used in extra-curricular activities or during a themed enterprise day."

Module 4: Career induction activities, materials and guidelines

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and learn what are the types of STEM careers activities available at school level and how they can use them in the classroom;
  • Learn practical steps to introduce STEM career activities in the classroom;
  • Become familiarized with various experiences of STEM career activities implemented across several countries;

4.1 STEM career activities: how to use them?

Teaching strategies:

  1. Incorporate both formal and informal approaches
  2. Help students see scientists as real people
  3. Connect the dots
  4. Embed reflection

Carrer materials/ activities/tools into the classroom:

  1. Provide information to pupils and parents about possible study paths (Booklets for students and parents)
  2. Teachers as career counselors (website)
  3. Use ICT for career orientation
  4. Scedule a weekly activity related to career orientation
  5. Integrate STEM careers materials in your lessons
  6. Have students work in activities and projects related to career paths
  7. Bring professionals into the classroom -could be the family member of a student
  8. Invite former professional colleagues into your school
  9. 9Experts will give details on their daily life- guests also enjoy the experience
  10. Students' opinions are part of the evaluation activity

1. Choose a strategy from above 2. Choose a career material/activity/tool 3. Write how you would combine these two in a lesson (add also any relevant links, information, etc.)

My contribution: As I primary school teacher who teaches all the subjects of the curriculum, I often invite professionals-experts in my classroom to talk about their career and share their knowledge with my students. If the professional is a member of my students families is very welcomed because this makes them feel more enthousiastic and active. I also develop projects related to career paths, like the ones with science (ex. energy), maths(ex. percentages) and one of the things that excites students is the field trip.

4.2 STEM career activities: types and uses

  • Guest lectures
  • Competitions
  • Lesson career materials
  • Simulations and virtual environments
  • Citizen science

4.3 STEM career activities: teacher practices

  1. Utilize career materials in science texts/journals/articles
  2. Integrate experiential activities in the classroom
  3. Incorporate authentic research
  4. Invite guest speakers
  5. Research science careers / map out career paths
  6. Support inclusion of science careers in school career fairs
  7. Weave career information informally into lessons
  8. Share personal experiences
  9. Expose students to worksites and outside opportunities
  10. Be a mentor/advocate

Based on the 10 practices presented above, post 3 practices you already use and 3 practices which you are NOT currently using but would like to implement in your classroom/school.

My contribution: Practices that I used these practices:

  • Integrate experiential activities in the classroom
  • Invite guest speakers
  • Expose students to worksites and outside opportunities

What I would like to implement?

  • Research science careers / map out career paths
  • Support inclusion of science careers in school career fairs
  • Incorporate authentic research

Module 5: Gender stereotypes in STEM education

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the concept of the STEM gender gap;
  • Learn to analyse data regarding the situation of girls and women in STEM careers;
  • Learn strategies to further address gender equality in the classroom, and how to encourage girls into STEM careers;
  • Learn about female scientist (of the present and of the past) and of current initiatives promoting girls in STEM.

5.1 Gender equality and the gender gap in STEM

Discuss about “the gender gap in STEM” in your country. Are your female students interested in STEM areas? Are there many women in research careers?

My contribution: Women in Greece try lately to conquer male poisitions in STEM career and I think they manage to do it very well despite the stereotypes about gender. As for my students I can remember a lot of them studying in STEM fields and of course the thoughts of one who lately, during an activity about creatives glasses and how do they imagine their future job, said: "I would like to be the first woman to land to the moon, an astronaut, but I am too short and of course I am a girl. Do you know a lot of girls, who could do this?"

5.2 Gender equality in the the job market and in the classroom

  • A. Gender equality in the job market
  • B. Gender equality in the classroom
  • Consider your interractions with students
  • Implement inclusive group practices
  • Use gender sensitive instructional materials

Pick one of the tips mentioned in the info sheet “Your guide to ensure gender equality in the (STEM) classroom”. Apply it with your students and (afterwards) tell us your experience.

My contribution: I often let my students work collaboratively avoiding gender stereotypes and encouraging debates between students while having in mind "who is answering, how often and when." My students are willing to work on hands-on activities in mixed gender groups. But, there is still a lot of work to be done as some of them, especially those coming from minorities, who have in mind the distinguish in gender.

5.3 Women in STEM

"Throughout history, women have actively contributed to the development of scientific knowledge and have made groundbreaking discoveries in science. However, too many of them have not been given credit for their achievements, resulting in their disappearance from mainstream audiences."

“Having had to work as "volunteer" faculty members, seen credit for significant discoveries they've made assigned to male colleagues, and been written out of textbooks” (…) “they typically had paltry resources and fought uphill battles to achieve what they did, only to have the credit attributed to their husbands or male colleagues".

  • Resilience
  • Determination
  • Recognise your potential
  • Don't behave according to the norm
  • Be yourself
  • Have confidence in yourself

Who is your favorite female scientist of all time and why

My contribution: Although there are a lot of female scientists whom important work I didn't know, my favorite one is Marie Curie and I always talk to my students about her and her contribution to realise the importance of quantum theory.

5.4 Projects about gender equality in STEM

Initiatives from public institutions and organisms who haven't stayed quiet to the STEM gap:

"Stemettes is an award-winning social enterprise that mainly operates across the UK and Ireland to motivate and support young women into STEM careers. Among other activities, the project runs panel events, hackathons and the Student to Stemette mentoring programme."

"In the Hypatia project, science centres and museums work together with schools, industries and academics to promote gender inclusive STEM education and communication. The initiative offers an accessible, practical and ready-to-use digital collection of activities for teachers, researches or for informal learning organizations. Moreover, to deliver a sustainable basis for these activities to be carried out in different educational systems throughout Europe, the project has created national Hubs, led by science centres and museums."

"The Mind the Gap project works with both STEM teachers and girls between 16 and 18 years old, who are studying STEM subjects or who have dropped out or completed study but not entered STEM jobs. The main aims of the project are:

  • To help teachers in each participating country to recruit and retain more girls in their STEM courses;
  • To support and inspire girls to continue their STEM education and to pursue STEM careers by helping them develop different soft skills needed to work in male-dominated environments.

Share information about any project, awareness campaign or initiative related to STEM and gender equality.

My contribution: I would like to share with you the experience of the "Mascil: mathematics and science for life" project which has run during 2013-16 18 between 18 participants, Greece included, from 13 countries. (http://noether.math.uoa.gr/mascil/gr/html/index.html) It was a project about the dissemination of inquiry teaching and learning in primary and secondary education through the connection of maths and science teaching with the job fiedls. As my school participated in the project i could reasure that it was a collaborative and inclusive project engaging students in group activities while using gender sensitive intrsuctional materials.

Module 6: Balancing the roles of teachers, mentors, and parents

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the concept of mentorship and how you can integrate it in your schools (with focus on your own role as career counsellors);
  • Learn how to integrate STEM professionals in school activities;
  • Learn how to work together with career counsellors for optimum performance;
  • Understand and learn how to manage the role of parents in career awareness;

6.1 Role of teachers in career counselling

Tutorial roles:

  • Career informant (“talking about their decisions and how they made them, talking about their career building (including discussing challenges and regrets”)
  • Pastoral support (“acting as facilitator and advocate for students to help them to have career conversations with other staff, parents and employers.”)

Teaching roles:

  • Within-subject (“explaining to pupils the progression routes open in continued learning in their subject area, using the curriculum to develop core employability skills”, “arranging visits to relevant workplaces”, “organising a programme of visiting speakers from business”)
  • Delivering CEL (“contributing particular CEL inputs related to subject expertise”)

Leadership roles:

  • Leading CEL
  • Senior leadership

Which roles do you use actively, which do you use less and why? Are there any roles you are not doing but want to do? Name at least one you would like to exercise more.

My contribution: I am a primary school teacher and I think that my role is within-subject as I often use the curriculum to develop core employability skills, I arrange visits to relevant workplaces or to organise a programme of visiting speakers from business fields.

6.2 Role models

Can you identify a national STEM role model of your country who could be suited to discuss with your students about STEM careers? Write how this person fits with what you’ve learned in this activity and share with us at least one idea about how you will integrate him/her in a lesson with your students.

My contribution: I would invite an expert from the chemistry field to talk to my students about the ways they use to check if the water is polluted or the experiments they do into the laboratory. Another good idea is to organise a study visit to see how experts in chemistry field work into their lab.

6.3 STEM professionals

Role models in STEM careers:

Reflect on your upcoming lessons and plans for your students – which professional of your town/country could you bring to supplement your teaching activity? What would they talk about? How would you integrate their lecture/talk/activity in your lessons?

My contribution: I would invite an expert from the chemistry field to talk to my students about the ways they use to check if the water is polluted or the experiments they do into the laboratory. Another good idea is to organise a study visit to see how experts in chemistry field work into their lab.

6.4 Bringing parents into career counseling

It goes without saying that parents are an important pillar in how children shape their vision for the future and their choice of careers. Parental encouragement is a decisive factor for a student to pursue higher education and choose major in a STEM field, as well as parents’ education level

Parents also play an important role in the STEM career choices of girls and boys. Numerous research has shown that when parents provide opportunities to explore STEM for both boys and girls starting with a young age, and when they avoid labeling STEM activities as male activities then this will foster the interest of children in science. The beliefs, expectations and values of parents risk being transferred to the children themselves, especially when it comes to the gender aspect (Wang & Degol, 2013).

Think about your discussions with the parents of your students: are they encouraging their children toward STEM careers? What is their general attitude towards STEM careers?

My contribution: I think that in primary school level parents don't yet think about their kids STEM careers as it is early enough. As far as I can see they like watching their kids playing with robots or doing some simple experiments but I am not sure if they are gender neutral orianted.

Module 7: Benefits of external school to work programs

Learning objectives:

  • Learn about types of school-to-work programs available and where to find them;
  • Learn how to guide their students towards these programs;

7.1 Business and education collaboration

  • Collaboration between business and teachers will allow educators to stay connected
  • Teachers will be able to set careers ecpectations in students
  • Creates a connection with teachers
  • Creates role models
  • Debunk stereotypes
  • Focus on a foundational skill set
  • Making the connection between skills and professions

"Very few countries manage to achieve high levels of collaboration between schools and industry. Moreover, this collaboration is often only achieved in resource-rich schools or in those schools were it happens by fortune, and not necessarily through a guided, school-centered or policy-directed approach."

Three hurdles that youth face in the path from education-to-employment (E2E):

  1. enrolling in postsecondary education
  2. building the right skills
  3. finding a suitable job.

"Students face great financial costs to pursue higher education options. It also stresses they are not learning enough soft skills in schools (or not right soft skills) and that they lack support and career information in their transition to work"

A proposed solution: a stronger collaboration between education providers and employers.

How?

  • designing school curricula together
  • engaging professionals in teaching
  • creating opportunities for students to experiment real-life work in companies
  • accessing training academies offered by larger companies

7.2 Connect with the community

"Sometimes, our actions as teachers are quite limited, in particular when the wider educational context (tight curriculums, limited school resources, scheduling incompatibilities, etc.) does not allow much room for creativity or for implementing innovative activities with your students."

A first place to look at is the community itself:

  1. Who are the organizations
  2. the people you can bring to your classroom
  3. who are able to enrich lessons and connect students to real-life work opportunities?

“learning partner”. The school uses these learning partners to enrich lessons and to co-teach but also for teachers to learn from them, as experts in their field, through individual talks, before teaching a particular lesson. Another way these partners are used is to give authenticity to lessons and to connect students to real-life individuals who are experts in the specific area students are practicing or learning about during a lesson.

After you have read these steps to connect with your local community, share with us what are some ways in which you can connect with the business community in your town or city: what professionals can you bring to your school and how can you involve them?

My contribution: I could involve experts from STEM carres such as scientists to talk about physics or chemistry. I could also organise a study visit to where these experts work in order my students to have the opportunity to watch them working in their lab.

7.3 School-to-work transition

“those countries with quicker and more successful school-to-work transitions are those where young people leave home earlier. In this regard, seven common patterns were identified among Member States. At one end of the spectrum, the ‘Nordic’ and ‘Apprenticeship’ (Austria and Germany) models are characterized by a more rapid transition to adulthood and a quicker transition from school to work. At the other end of the spectrum, in the ‘Eastern European’ and ‘Mediterranean’ models, difficult and problematic school-to-work transitions are associated with very slow and late transitions to independence and autonomy.”

Are there any training opportunities or companies providing programs in your country, from which your students can benefit?

My contirbution: Museums and environmental centres offer in my region opportunities for at least primary schools from which students could benefit. I can also mention the Local university which provides some useful onsite workshops especially for students at the secondary level of education.

7.4 Case study: Internship placement in Portugal

Module 8: Career orientation events on STEM education

Learning pbjectives:

  • Become aware of the main benefits of organizing a STEM careers events in schools
  • Learn tips and steps to organize their own STEM careers event
  • Explore case studies of various STEM careers events

8.1 What is a career event?

"Career events are an excellent opportunity for students, employers and higher education institution representatives to meet and exchange information and ideas about different career paths, potential employment options and training opportunities."

Activity 1: Share in the padlet below any science fairs that are currently taking place in your country. Have you participated? What did you liked the most?

My contribution: There are some events like the ones mentioned in the link provided (https://edu.ellak.gr/category/open-hardware/) but almost all of them are far away from the city I live.

8.2 Types of STEM Career Events (I)

1. Student internships / job shadowing

Job shadowing: “(…) where an individual from one area of the organisation has the opportunity to work alongside and gain experience of the role of another individual, and gain an insight into that particular work area. It can also be used to provide a individual within a department the opportunity to work alongside more experienced colleagues so they can learn and develop within their current role”. This definition can also be applied to students “shadowing” in a company, and not just to individuals already in the workplace."

These options offer students chances:

  • to explore a career field by experiencing life at a real workplace
  • to learn how to apply academic subject knowledge through discussions with a professional
  • to assess one’s aptitude for a particular position/role/career
  • to observe the day-to-day activities of a professional/researcher
  • to discuss specific STEM related research and careers pathways
  • to create career connections and establish valid networking opportunities.

These initiatives can also entail a number of challenges:

  • Non-involvement
  • Distortions
  • Timing
  • Supervision
  • Disruption
  • Other

2. STEM career fairs

(STEM) career fairs offer students with a great opportunity to connect with employers and learn about different career prospects. These can offer students many benefits, among them:

  • A convenient and unique opportunity to meet key professionals and employers from different STEM fields, in one same location
  • A networking occasion for students to meet not only with professionals and employers abut also with researchers and with more advanced students
  • A chance to gain first-hand information about local (and potentially foreign) employers
  • The prospect of collecting promotional information (brochures, business cards) related to different companies

Challenges to handle with:

  • Mass apeal
  • Limited quality time
  • Organisational costs

8.3 Types of STEM Career Events (II)

3. Virtual job fairs

Virtual job fairs are the online version of a traditional career fair. These fairs allow students to meet and discuss employment opportunities through specialised websites in a live but fully interactive manner. Some disadvantages of virtual job fairs include:

  • Technological glitches
  • Digital divide
  • Visual elements
  • Inertia about new technologies

4. Career talks / workshops / seminars

These career related options provide students with a number of presentations related to specific careers, often held by a professional in the field. The advantages of these options include:

  • Students can discuss specific queries with professionals during or after the talk, workshop or seminar.
  • Direct face-to-face contact facilitates smoother and improved communication.
  • Parents or student guardians can join the discussion to support their children in their career choice.

5. Career exhibitions

Career exhibitions provide with static displays with information related to different STEM careers. While they provide with a nice option to show specific evidence, they often lack the human factor, which can make them less engaging. Nonetheless, when set-up in conjunction with other initiatives (such as career talks or events fairs) these exhibitions can be an interesting option to support STEM career engagement.

Which of the activities above is more suited to your students and why do you think s?

My contribution: I think that, although my pupils are still at the primary school, they will be benefited by career talks and STEM career fairs, because the will have the chance to meet professionals and gain first-hand information.

8.4 STEM careers fair organization. Strategies for success

  1. Planning
  • Develop initiative aims and objectives
  • Identify target audeince
  • Indicate timeframe and identify date and time for the event
  • Classify involvement of stakeholders
  • Outline the necessary logistic arrangements
  • Highlight budget and potential sponsors
  • Brand your event: brainstorm names and design a logo
  • Design event promotion
  • Identify and organise team for event implementation
  • Scheme team on-going meetings
  • Plan and organise media coverage
  • Devise feedback channels for post-event evaluation
  • Address health and safety issues

2. Implementation

3. Post event activities

Pick ONE main task for each of the phases (Planning - Implementation – Post event activities) and tell us why you think it is important)

My contirbution: As most participants pointed out here, I think that planning is the main task which I concider important, because if you haven't planned the career fair organisation very well you can not achieve the goals you set up.

8.5 Case study: The Teen Science Café experience in Malta

What did you find most interesting? Do you know of any similar experiences? Has it inspired you to set up a similar activity in your school?

My contribution: I found interesting the fact that they involved parents and other STEM professionals to talk to students. In my school we often invite scientists to talk about various topics while developing related topics. We also make study visits to see the professionals on their own place.

Credits:

Created with images by dimsis - "Alexandroupoli, Egnatia Corner, Sunset" • GoToVan - "Science World" • prometheus_lego - "Hazardous Mad Science" • woodleywonderworks - "science class" • CERDEC - "CERDEC Math and Science Summer Camp, 2013" • Art Poskanzer - "scientists" • torbakhopper - "get the balance right" • NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Spacecraft Processing"

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