Online Round Table Discussion "The Use of Digital Tools and Their Impact on STEM Education"
The Online Round Table Discussion "The Use of Digital Tools and Their Impact on STEM Education" that was co-organized by GrantXpert Consulting and the Western Greece Regional Directorate of Education on 12th April 2022 was a huge success!
The event was held during the "ALL DIGITAL WEEKS" and as part of the Erasmus+ project Choice.
The two co-organisers collaborate within the framework of the Erasmus+ KA3 project "CHOICE: Increasing young people motivation to choose STEM careers through an Innovative Cross-disciplinary STE (A) M approach to education" (https://www.euchoice.eu/).
The speakers of the roundtable discussion were:
Dr. Konstantinos Giannopoulos, Regional Director of Education of Western Greece
Mr. Andreas Nigiannis, Head of the Department of Studies, Programs and Organization of Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education and Religions
Dr. Ioannis Iliopoulos, Associate Professor, Department of Geology and the Director of the Museum of Science and Technology, University of Patras
Dr. Maria Mavrotheri, Professor, Mathematics Education at the European University of Cyprus
Dr. Antonis Hadjiantonis, Manager of Electronics and Networks Division, CyRIC Cyprus Research & Innovation Center Ltd
The distinguished and renowned speakers addressed during the online discussion current educational issues, as well as how the STEAM education sector and digital tools are integrated into the Greek and Cypriot educational systems. Through the discussion, there was an exchange of ideas and suggestions on this topic, which were collected and will be, subsequently, promoted as Policy Recommendations through the CHOICE project.
At first, the main challenges STEM education faces in both Greece and Cyprus were discussed. "We are obligated to incorporate changes in educational practices as the world and the needs of the labour market change," Mr. Niyiannis stated. Speakers agreed that the use of motivating teaching approaches, including STEAM and the use of digital tools, has the potential to engage students to actively participate, to ask and answering questions on their own through research, thus reinforcing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Dr. Mavrotheri referred to initiatives and current policies of the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture to address these challenges. She mentioned that she has been involved in training programmes targeted specifically at teachers in order to improve their digital skills and acquire new teaching approaches in STEM. Up to recently, though, the majority of participants came from primary schools, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, they noticed that the interest of secondary school teachers in these training programmes increased.
As a business representative, Dr. Hadjiantonis discussed the current market needs for STEM skills. He mentioned that, while there are many very well-trained graduates in sciences, such as engineering and mathematics, with excellent hard skills, we need graduates with better soft skills and also more female graduates.
The online Roundtable Discussion not only brought to the surface several important challenges that the modern educational system is facing, but it also provided a new perspective on the mindset we can adopt in order to overcome them and increase young people's interest in STEM subjects.