15.11.2017 - UNESCO Venice Office

Ark of Inquiry: Inquiry Awards for Youth Over Europe heads towards a successful close at UNESCO in Paris

UNESCO / Fontenoy building, Paris

As the EU-funded project nears the end of its 4-year implementation in February 2018, Ark of Inquiry is convening its final conference to foster an interactive place of connection between all its partners and a place of acknowledgment for each member participant. Organized by UNESCO through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, the event will take place on 20 November 2017 at its headquarters in Paris, France.

Ark of Inquiry is a research and development project funded by the European Commission, involving 13 project partners from 12 countries - among which is UNESCO as a main partner. The project’s aim is to raise awareness of pupils to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) by promoting an interest in science through inquiry learning. The project ambitions to create a “new science classroom”, one capable of giving more challenging, authentic and higher-order learning experiences and more opportunities for pupils to participate in scientific practices and tasks, using the discourse of science and working with scientific representations and tools.

UNESCO with the support of its Regional Bureau in Venice has been involved in a large number of Work Packages (WP). It is leader of WP7 (Dissemination) and it plays a contributing role to WP2 (Collection of inquiry activities and environments), WP3 (Supporting community), WP4 (Training), WP5 (Evaluation) and WP6 (Implementation). UNESCO is responsible for the direct implementation of related activities, among which the coordination of this final conference in Paris.

Four years have elapsed since the inception of the project. The final conference in Paris, throughout diverse discussions and panel presentations, will share the Inquiry-based Science Education project’s 3 main key findings. Accomplishing its goals, the Ark of Inquiry project has found that for optimal inquiry learning in the classroom, there should be a provision of the right tools, a supportive community, and the application of RRI with the focus of improving participation of both genders. The final conference is expected to give a first-hand understanding on how inquiry learning, RRI and empowering girls in science directly ignite the passion of learning in the next generation of global citizens and how UNESCO is striving to stoke the fire for generations to come.

The conference will be welcomed by Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education; Ana Luiza M. Thompson-Flores, Director, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe; and, Maria Karamitrou, Policy Officer, European Commission. The opening statements will be followed by a keynote address on the role of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) by Ton de Jong, Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Twente, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences and Head of the Instructional Technology and Educational Sciences departments, Netherlands.

A broad spectrum of participants – from teachers to policy-makers, researchers, EU project coordinators, science centres and museums, consortium members and others – will attend the conference as testimonies of the “EU-project community” speaking with one voice. The conference will in particular give the participating teachers from the 12 partner countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands and Turkey) the well-deserved visibility with an entire panel based on their experiences regarding the project key findings. An insight will be given on the issues that touch education through grand societal changes and hopefully act as lobby for policy-level changes.

The high‐level panel discussion based on the impact of the 6 issues of RRI (Governance, Gender, Science Education, Open Access, Engagement and Ethics) will be an interactive place for participants to interact with the panellists and where exchanges are vividly recommended. The final recommendations of the project and the guidelines document will be released to the audience targeting teachers, scientists, researchers and policy makers, in whose hands the future of education is held. Immediately after the conference proceedings, there will be an evening reception to treat participants with short performances by the “Mad Scientists”, a leading science enrichment provider for children in kindergarten through to grade 6 in over 20 countries around the world.

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“Ark of Inquiry: Inquiry Awards for Youth over Europe” is a project on teacher training, oriented towards raising science awareness, particularly that of youth aged 7 to 18, to Responsible Research and Innovation, (RRI). It is a coordination and support action under FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2013-1, ACTIVITY 5.2.2 Young people and science: Topic SiS.2013.2.2.1-1 Raising youth awareness to Responsible Research and Innovation through Inquiry Based Science Education. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 612252.

Link: Programme

Website: http://www.arkofinquiry.eu/  

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