The Department of Building life cycle management of the Karlsruhe Institute für Technologie has organized a focus group „Bios4You – Bio-Inspired STEM Topics for Young Generation Involvement“.

BioS4You project – number: 2019-1-DEO3-KA201-060125 – is funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme, KA201 – Strategic Partnerships for school education and it involves 5 partners from different countries: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (Germany), CEIPES – Centro Internazionale per la promozione dell’educazione e lo sviluppo (Italy), Unipa – Università degli studi di Palermo (Italy), ADYMEM – Adıyaman Milli Eğitim Müdürlüğü (Turkey), KTU – Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania).

The “Bio-Inspired STEM topics for engaging young generations” (BioS4You) project aims to bridge the gap between the STEM national curricula (which mostly include basic contents of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the needs of Z-generation, apathetic/uninterested to basic topics, but enthusiastic in concerns related to environmental, social and health issues. In BioS4You curricula STEM subjects which could be considered abstract by the students are put into a context more “congenial” to them, more connected with their everyday and future life. The main idea of the project is to connect abstract STEM concepts to real-world technologies that are solving environmental, social and health current challenges. Novel fields such as Bio-Engineering, Bio-Science, Bio-Technology can be implemented into classroom teaching under the umbrella of BioS4You education.

In order to achieve this task, BioS4You project aims to implement the teacher collaboration in creating innovative STEM school curricula supporting individuals in acquiring and developing basic skills and key competences thus to align the project objectives to the European 2020 strategic objectives and strategies.

In particular, within the BioS4You project, TEACHERS will benefit by exploring new designed-based learning /training approaches and producing interdisciplinary learning modules. There is no doubt that schools should form a new vision of learning services adapted to needs, complexity, connectivity, and velocity of the new knowledge society. Schools should provide their learners – the new generation – with such learning experience which would open the doors to the best academic achievement and would ensure economic growth, social and civic engagement. 

The German focus group has been organized on April 30, 2021 with the objective to present the project to the stakeholders, that is to STEM teachers, and discuss:

the proposed pedagogical requests for the BioS4You educational material;

the possible approaches that could differentiate our educational materials from conventional teaching models, to improve the BioS4You methodology.

The current Covid situation poses a significant burden on the German teachers regarding the practical implementation of teaching, given the need for achieving compliance with Covid safety and hygiene rules. Due to this situation and the associated extra workload for teachers, it was difficult to recruit teachers to participate, although several hundred teachers were contacted.

The focus group lasted about 1 hour and consisted of two sessions:

1) Presentation of the BioS4YOU project idea and of the methodology proposed by the Consortium for the creation of the teaching / learning units;

2) Brainstorming of ideas, suggestions, criticisms relating to the teaching of STE(A)M.

The teachers were interested in the project, giving their points of view, talking about their concerns and difficulties, but also about their ideas and hopes for the future of education. They gave us a unique insight and all of them want to be updated about our progress.