ARTIFEX is a Latin noun meaning "artist, craftsman, maker or builder". It can also be used as an adjective to mean "skilled, creative”. The ARTIFEX project aims to strengthen the competences of educators to make learning effectively happen in innovative learning spaces. By doing so, the project will develop a tool that can be used by schools all over Europe to identify existing educational competences of educators and a professional development tool to improve these competences. These online tools pave the way to delivering profiles that are needed for the 21st century labour market.
STEM competences are essential for the 21st Century thinking
Scientific and technical developments have an undeniable impact on our daily lives. According to the European Union, STEM competences are essential for the 21st Century thinking and acting by paying more attention to inquiry-based learning and working, problem-solving learning, enhancing ‘out of the box’ thinking and collaboration. The report concludes, inter alia, that there is a still lot of untouched potential in young people. Additionally, the European labour market demands job profiles that are insufficiently met by contemporary education. We refer to the European Horizon 2020 priorities: more support for innovation and activities close to the market, leading to a direct economic stimulus; a strong focus on creating business opportunities out of our response to the major concerns common to people in Europe and beyond, i.e. ‘societal challenges.
http://ec.europa.eu/research/swafs/pdf/pub_science_education/KI-NA-26-893-EN-N.pdf, consulted on the 12th of January 2016.
Bridging the gap between labour market and education
The ARTIFEX project is designed to bridge the gap between the (local) labour market and education by establishing a practical European framework for STEM education in innovative out-of-the-classroom learning environments. While currently the main focus of most of these spaces is on adult citizens, they present a unique opportunity to tackle the existing underachievement in STEM-literacy of students. Using these innovative and creative spaces as a learning environment for students presents specific challenges to teachers and educators. For the professional who is working in these spaces (the operators), the target group of students is very different from their usual user (motivated and engaged adult citizens); for teachers the spaces present and environment in which learning is radically different from learning in a classroom setting. The use of these open spaces in order to facilitate STEM-literacy, requires for both groups a specific set of competences.
An unique consortium with complementary competences
Building on above-mentioned findings, the ARTIFEX project develops resources to help teachers and educators to improve their own educational competences for improving the STEM literacy of their students. This will be done in a co-creation between teachers, FabLab educators, applied educational researchers, educational designers, and teacher trainers. Applied research, development and implementation are inextricably linked in the ARTIFEX project.
The ARTIFEX project brings together an unique consortium with complementary expertise. It is composed of partners that do research (universities), others that will be responsible for development (university colleges for teacher training) and others will be involved in the implementation of the tools (local school authority and schools) or dissemination (all). The consortium is geographically spread over Europe. The partners are situated in the North, Center, South and East of Europe.