Chemistry Is All Around Network



Life Long Learning Programme

Comenius Subprogramme – Multilateral Networks

Chemistry Is All Around Network project is drawn up under the European Community Lifelong Learning Programme, Comenius Sub Programme (Multilateral Networks). The project has duration of 36 months - it started on 1/12/2011 and will end on 30/11/2014.

The identified background of the project idea relies on the evidence of common needs within the countries involved and in Europe in general, related to the insufficient diffusion of scientific culture and awareness, that starting from the school level (primary and secondary education) affects all levels of educational and training systems and therefore citizens in general.

Among the scientific fields, Chemistry is identified as an exemplary Case Study as it is recognised as one of the most difficult subjects. One of the main reasons for this fact is that Chemistry suffers from a growing unpopularity in the Media which often make improper connections between Chemistry and the issues of pollution, health threats, manipulation of natural ingredients etc.

Scientific issues and chemistry in particular, are often taught at school in a theory oriented approach that often discourages pupils’ interest, proposing and idea that sciences are difficult and useless in everyday life. Methods and tools are often the same within years (even decades) and mostly based on the acquisition information through a static approach, where the learner is the passive actor of a learning process which is managed by the teacher through frontal lessons.

This approach yet allowing those who are interested in chemistry for personal attitudes to build a consistent knowledge background, causes to those who are less attracted by the issue and do not follow their studies in the matter through the higher education to rapidly loose completely contact with the subjects and therefore their knowledge gap increases so rapidly that it become for them impossible to learn about it any more.

To address this situation the Chemistry Is All Around Us Network project intends to use the potential of ICTs in order to provide a method and related educational tools, that can attract students making chemistry more enjoyable and amusing and therefore give students the knowledge and the skills to be able to learn about chemistry according to an enquiry based approach, through which they will be the protagonists of their own learning process.

The new teaching strategies will raise students’ interest in chemistry by establishing a direct and practical connection among theory and everyday practice, so that they can be ready to learn informally about chemistry even if they will not study it anymore in the framework of the formal higher education or vocational training system.

The aim of the project is to share knowledge between the partners in the field of the diffusion of Life Long Learning within the Chemistry related issues.

This general aim will be achieved through these specific objectives:

  • Enhancing the interest and stimulate the active learning process of pupils of all educational levels, concerning Chemistry, by sharing the most effective ICT based practical experiences that promote an enquiry based, interactive and amusing approach to the understanding of Chemistry. This will answer to the need for addressing the ideas and beliefs that students have on issues related to chemistry that are often wrong and tend not to change easily and will result into a mental change and development of a new and higher awareness.
  • Present Chemistry under a renewed and positive attitude, by giving evidence to how it affects our everyday life and how it can contribute to the explanation of many phenomena that people encounter everyday. The objective is to make Chemistry more attractive and understandable to pupils.
  • Create a Network among different educational institution for the exchange and comparison of experiences and knowledge in order to develop and exploit a new “language” to be used to fill in the gap between the world of scientist and researchers and school teachers.

The partnership will concentrate on 3 main subject areas:

  1. The motivation of students. Answering questions as: why there is a lack of motivation of pupils to study Chemistry; what are the main obstacles that students face in addressing Chemistry; which are the most successful experiences in motivating students to study Chemistry Etc.
  2. Teachers training. Addressing issues as: the difficulties of chemistry teachers to keep update to the continuous progresses of the research; the lack of competences in using ICT as a mean to communicate with students and enhance their interest towards Chemistry lessons; the lack of opportunities and space within the institutional programmes for experimenting different approaches and methods for teaching and learning Chemistry (e.g. Enquiry based learning, practical activities within laboratories etc.). A specific topic that will be addressed will be the identification of solutions to bridge the gap between university chemistry professors and researchers and secondary school science teachers so as to try and identify a common language and a strategy to allow the better exploitation also at secondary school level of the most recent findings in the field of chemistry science and chemistry teaching.
  3. Successful experiences and good practices. Identification and review of the existing strategies, experiences, initiatives and projects to promote Life Long Learning for Chemistry and analysis of related critical factors, barriers, successes and most effective solutions.

The main target group of the project are school teachers that will be involved directly in the project activities and in the production and exploitation of the results from which they will benefit for.

Partners Involved are:

  • University of Genova - Department of Chemistry (Italy) - Coordinator
  • INFOREF, Initiatives pour une formation efficace (Belgium)
  • Technical University of Gabrovo (Bulgaria)
  • Institute Of Chemical Technology Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Technological Educational Institute (T.E.I.) of Ionian Islands (Greece )
  • CECE - Spanish Confederation of Education and Training Centres (Spain)
  • Limerick Institute of Technology  (Ireland)
  • Connectis (Italy)
  • Pixel Associazione (Italy)
  • Instituto Politécnico de Bragança (Portugal)
  • TRANSFER Slovensko, s.r.o (Slovenia)
  • Kırıkkale University Education Faculty (Turkey)
  • WSINF - Health Promotion Chair WSINF’s Pedagogy-Rehabilitation Faculty (Poland)

Main results from the Project activities will include the following:

  • Availability of a Collection of 33 papers (1 paper for each subject area in each of the 11 countries represented within the Consortium) created cooperatively by teachers and scientific experts in chemistry exploring the national and international state of art regarding the main obstacles that affect the interest of pupils for Chemistry and the initiatives, methodological approaches, didactical solutions that demonstrated to be effective in answering to the barriers identified above. The papers will focus on 3 main thematic areas: the motivation of students, teacher training and identification of successful experiences and good practices to promote Life Long Learning for Chemistry.
  • Availability of a Collection of 165 (that is 5 for each of the 3 thematic area in each of the 11 countries represented within the Consortium) existing scientific publications and articles addressing the 3 thematic Areas identified as important in order to remove the existing barriers and enhance attractiveness and effectiveness of chemistry teaching at school
  • Availability of a Collection of 220 teaching resources (20  in each of the 11 countries represented within the Consortium), duly reviewed and assessed by both teachers and scientific experts and ready to be used by teachers to enhance attractiveness and effectiveness of chemistry teaching in their lessons;
  • Organization of 33 workshops (3 in each of the 11 countries represented within the Consortium), and availability onto the Portal, for each workshop, of the related minutes detailing the results of the discussion
  • Organization of 3 Virtual Meetings through the exploitation of ICT during which the results of the workshops will be discussed by representatives of the national workgroups of the different countries.
  • Organisation of 6 Transnational Conference (2 for each of the 3 thematic areas)
All the main project outputs produced within the project are already available on the Chemistry Is All Around Us Network Portal