The Department of Multimedia Engineering of the Kaunas University of Technology 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 project aims to involve new generations (through forms of formal, non-formal education and active learning activities) in the study of scientific subjects (STEM field), starting from current topics of interest to them, such as social impact and environmental aspects of new technologies (BioSciences, Bio-Engineering, Bio-Architecture, Bio-Technology, Bio-Photonics, etc.). Young students (14-18 years; generation Z) are more connected and more attentive to the environment and social issues as well as psychophysical well-being, compared to “millennials”. Within the project, a European network of teachers will be created who will share ideas, practices, methods in order to develop innovative learning paths for students on these specific topics, disseminate and put them into practice.

The Lithuanian focus group has been organized on January 18, 2021, with the objective to present the project to the stakeholders, e.g. to STEM teachers, and discuss the following aspects:

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

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

Some opinions from the focus group:

“When schoolchildren have to take school graduation exam, usually Information Technology exam choose 12-15 boys and 2-3 girls of a class. The boys are more inclined to choose programming and engineering subjects. It is more complicated to engage girls into the STEM projects.”

“In my class, everyone is involved in the projects. There is no such division between girls and boys. And I would say, that girls are more engaged in STEAM subjects, because they don’t look into the surface, but they look a little bit deeper.

The teacher should be a leader and can make an impact on team formation and project implementations. During lessons, when schoolchildren work in the teams, they can’t leave their teams and they want to finish their projects…”

“There are a lot of interesting topics, but at first, we have to prepare teachers and motivate them to integrate different topics.”

The teachers were enthusiastic and thankful for the possibility to participate in the focus group of this project. The respondents had a possibility to provide their opinions and points of view, talk about their concerns and difficult aspects in STE(A)M learning process, as well as about their ideas and hopes for the future of education in common. They gave us unique insights and we will try to transform these ideas into the learning units and inform them about the results of the project.