Stay informed on our latest news!
Engaging With Children
This section of our website is designed for people working in organisations to encourage and support them to engage with children, to learn from them and to provide them with opportunities for learning.
At the heart of SiS Catalyst's work is the recognition that we have to find ways of taking account of children's hopes and dreams when we make decisions today that will affect their futures.
We also aim to inspire and empower children - especially those who are disadvantaged - so that they will have a brighter future through education.
Here you will find resources, tools and information to help you to egage effectively with children and opportunities to share your own experiences and ideas.
Let us know what you think... and what else you need!
SISSA Medialab have organised a two day training for 40 educators in Trieste’s 13 Ricreatori - municipal centres open to all children, free of charge, for tutoring, recreational activities, sport, culture. It will be based on the SiS Catalyst project results: reflections, experiences, and the tools developed to listen and empower young people.
In their official statute approved by the town council in 1997, Ricreatori di Trieste affirmed the participation of children in their governance. This has not yet happened, not through lack of goodwill, but due to the difficulties of implementing such participation.
Through this training, SISSA Medialab hopes to help make this wish a reality. Alongside a general discussion of the principles of listening and dialogue, this training will provide an opportunity to discuss and design a structure for the participation of children in the Ricreatori governance. Through theoretical presentation, group activities, and practical workshops, the educators will explore creative solutions and methods of putting the principles of participation into practice.
SISSA Medialab has invited Andrea Bou-Vinals from the University of Innsbruck, who has recently organised a children’s advisory board in her own institution to share her experience and the outcomes of this new organisation and take part in the discussion with the educators.
Last year SISSA Medialab developed la Jota Primordiale, a science magazine produced entirely by the children of one of Trieste’s Ricreatori. You can read more about it here.
Peter Gray has recently been invited into SiS Catalyst as an adviser, looking at how its activities fit into national policies, priorities and perspectives. Peter works for the Social Science Faculty of the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, as adviser on European projects.
He was project manager for S-TEAM (Science-Teacher Education Advanced Methods) from 2009-2012 and is now involved in the INSTEM project, bringing together the results of previous and current projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. With Eilish McLoughlin and Katja Maass, he was a founder of ProCoNet, the STEM project coordinators’ network.
Although nominally an ‘adviser’, Peter sees his role as a listener, reflecting back core ideas of SiS Catalyst and relating them to national policy discourses. This is a major concern at the moment, since politicians are increasingly promoting national self-interest at the expense of a larger European or global vision. Projects such as SiS Catalyst have to create a new transnational space for policy and practice, just as new spaces have been created by technological innovations such as Google or Facebook. These spaces have previously existed within projects, but the challenge now is to extend into a wider space across multiple projects. ProCoNet is holding a meeting in Brussels on June 11th 2013 to discuss this issue in relation to science and maths education.
Peter is excited about being involved in SiS Catalyst, as it moves the idea of young people’s involvement with science away from the technical aspects of classroom teaching and into society as a whole. As an MML, SiS opens up the idea of co-creation in a new way, moving out of the restricted orbit of conventional funded projects.
Despite the Norwegian connection, Peter lives and works in Edinburgh, with his partner and their teenage son.
Ethics is the latest theme to be published on our resources pages and contains a range of useful articles, books and online resources suggested by some of the speakers at our recent conference in Tartu.
Our resources page is a living library of books, articles and online resources based around certain themes. It is a space where practitioners, academics, students, and any others who may be interested can share resources, learn something new and exchange ideas with other users.
Currently, our themes include Ethics, Technucation, Enquiry based learning and Children's Perceptions of Science. You can vote for our next theme in our poll and suggest new themes via the comments function.
This week, project partners Matteo Merzagora of Traces, Paris, and Paola Rodari of SISSA Medialab, Trieste are presenting at the Euro-Med Young Reporters on the Environment Seminar in The Israel National Museum of Science in Israel.
The seminar aims to equip facilitators with the knowledge and skills to enable them to train young people to become environmental reporters.
Matteo and Paolo will be running several sessions including the presentation of case studies of the work within their own organisations, and their work as part of SiS Catalyst, and lectures and discussions around listening to, and empowering young people.
On the 10th of July the Children’s-Summer-University Innsbruck was opened by rector Tilmann Märk, and vice rector Sabine Schindler led the participants through the widening of the universe with special videos and computer simulations.
It is the 10th time that the summer workshops of the Junge Uni Innsbruck in cooperation with the Innsbrucker Ferienzug have taken place. Several workshops were prepared for children between 8 and 14 years, and for the first time young people between 13 and 17 were also welcomed to the sessions. Scientists from several different faculties such as human and cultural science or natural science led the workshops.
The SiS Catalyst Practical Guide was launched last night in a special event attended by Šasa Zelenika, the Croatian Assistant Minister for Science.
The launch event took place in the Rectorate of the University of Zagreb, with tradition Croatian singing and dancing, and an inspiring presentation from young members of the Roma community.
The launch took place following the SiS Catalyst Second PPI Conference. During the conference, partners and advisors mixed with newcomers to take part in workshops based around mutual learning.
Pictures of the launch can be found here with other photos from the SiS Catalyst Conference.
More information from these events will be uploaded shortly.
Tell Your Science is a new workshop organised by Traces and Paris Montagne in collaboration with the 3-year European Commission-funded project KiiCS, Knowledge Incubation in Innovation and Creation for Science (EU-FP7-Science-in-society-2011-1).
It will take place today and tomorrow - 18th and 19th of June and will combine the objectives of SiS Catalyst and KiiCS by involving 15-17 year olds in a creative process through which they can identify key choices that will characterise a science in which they can recognise their expectations.
It will mix creativity, science and technology in a process of co-construction by bringing together students, researchers, play writer and actors. The aim is to reflect on how science can become a tool to design the world we would like to live in. High school students must choose science to build their future.
The KiiCS project aims to build bridges between arts, science and technology by giving evidence of the positive impacts of their interaction for creativity as well as for triggering interest in science.
For more information on the KiiCS project, please visit their website
As part of the SiS Catalyst project a delegation of young people aged 13-15 will be given the opportunity to come to Bucharest alongside the Bologna Follow-up Ministerial Conference in April 2012. They will participate in a workshop with 20 young people from various countries about the future of higher education in Europe. The results of this workshop will then be presented to the Ministers to show them the importance of listening to young people as a key step in designing any change in higher education.
For more information visit http://wearethefuture.siscatalyst.eu/.
"From Providence to Evidence" - Governance and Strategic Development of SiS Activities for Children and Young People in Context of Change. SiS Catalyst EUCU.NET Joint Conference at University of Ankara - 28th- 30th November 2011. Call For Papers
The conference is going to support quality development and capacity building. It will underpin policy with current findings from practice within the area of Science in Society activities - where Children's Universities definitely have been playing a relevant role in since years. Moreover, all this shall be reflected in the light of the individual learning journeys, presented from and issued among participants in SiS activities for children and young people in previous years - who are possibly adult students nowadays.
Children's Universities have developed even further and have notably diversified since the massive emerging of such activities under this particular term almost 10 years ago. However, a literature research within the first two-year period of EUCU.NET has uncovered that verification of the mid and long-term effects of Children's Universities (and similar SiS activities) is still missing, fragmented or vague. Case by case, the scientific interest may also be limited to local conditions or particular interests, which can't be transferred into other contexts or generalized easily. This Goes hand in hand with recognizable lack of well defined organizational, institutional, or strategic concepts behind Children's Universities.
SiS-Catalyst aims at theoretical and empirical reflection to impact on policy development and benchmarking and to justify public funding or sponsoring for Children's University activities by proof of practice. This is an ongoing issue within EUCU.NET likewise. It was decided at the EUCU.NET constitutional meeting to put a major emphasis on evaluation and research within the EUCU.NET work programme of the next four years.
The upcoming conference is a perfect opportunity to promote, compare and reflect methodologies, methods and findings from current research in the area of SiS-activities for children and young people. These may be Children's Universities, but also similar activities arranged by science organizations. Focus is on governing such activities as well as impact on institutional or political levels, on society at large.
More about this proposal, presentation formats and key data, and background of EUCU.NET and SiS Catalyst you can find in the PDF document bellow - the official call for papers.