The I SEE project: An approach to futurize STEM education
In the world where young people feel that the future is no longer a promise but a threat, and science and technology are sources of fears and global problems, a challenging task for education is to support students in imagining a future for the world and for themselves. The aim of the EU-funded project “I SEE” is to create an approach in science education that addresses the problems posed by global unsustainability, the uncertainty of the future, social liquidity and the irrelevance of STEM education for young people. This way, we believe, STEM education can support young people in projecting themselves into the future as agents and active persons, citizens and professionals, and open their minds to future possibilities. In this paper we propose a teaching and learning approach for futurizing science education, and describe how that approach was used to develop the first I SEE module implemented in summer school in June 2017 with students from three countries. In sum, the I SEE teaching and learning approach consists of three stages and learning outcomes connected to each of them: encountering the focal issue; engaging with the interaction between science ideas and future dimensions, and synthesizing the ideas and putting them into practice. The middle stage of the model is the main part, involving future-oriented practices that turn knowledge into future-scaffolding skills. We describe four kinds of such future-oriented practices: a) activities to flesh out the future-oriented structure of scientific discourse, language and concepts; b) activities inspired by futures studies or by the working life and societal matters; c) exposure activities to enlarge the imagination about possible future STEM careers; and d) action competence activities. We conclude the paper by reflecting on our experiences of the implementation of the climate change module with upper secondary school students.
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