Science@School – Educational Networking between Schools and Non-Formal Contexts

The aim of this book is to circulate the results attained by the European NetS-eu project (Network to improve non-formal science teaching in Europe), developed between 2010 and 2013 by a group of eight organizations based in as many European countries. The project has been coordinated by the Italian partner of the network, the Fondazione idis-Città della Scienza of Naples. The present work is divided into three parts. The first part briefly outlines the conditions applicable to school, education and culture (with special emphasis on their scientific side) in Europe: guidelines from the European Community, formal and informal education and teachers’ role, the new teaching and learning technologies and the relationships between the various dimensions of scientific knowledge: research, communication, dissemination and didactics. The second part provides a critical overview of the main tools that can be adopted today in order to feed the networking among different institutions on a European scale: the use of special web 2.0 platforms, the organization of conferences and workshops, the collaborative research and analysis of the context, both at desk level and on field. Finally, the third part provides a summary overview of the project which represents the opportunity to bring this book to life – namely NetS-eu, a networking and research-action project on a European level – and a hypothetical formulation of what may be the scope of any future action targeting school in its broad institutional, social and cultural orientations. The authors of this brief volume have all been involved in the NetS-eu project in many ways, in their function of managers of organizations dedicated to scientific divulgation or education, project managers, animators and didactic planners, professional training and counselling experts and trainers, university lecturers (with the most diverse educational backgrounds, includingphilosophy, psychology, sociology, literature, arts and music, as well as – naturally – science and maths). The choice to limit the authorship exclusively to those people, who actually took part in the project activities, has the intention of providing proof – already with the drafting of these written contributions – of the efficiency of the networking activity carried out by the key players starting from the project dimension of the intervention. With the conscious risk of a certain degree of heterogeneity among the contributions – to which the editor has attempted to give, in the most natural way possible, mainly only a hopefully coherent structure – such a diverse group of people as it is, without purporting to be a representative statistical sample, expresses how varied and rich it can be what we could define «the world in which the school expands»2. In its brief structure, the volume sets out – if it does not achieve the purpose – to go beyond the primary aim of its creation and provide a summary tool for confrontation and a more in-depth reflection or experimentation regarding networking methods and challenges among schools, museums, universities, associations and other non-formal organizations3; this in the certainty that, today, only networking represents a sound method of development and comparison among the various pressing issues posed by the so-called “knowledge society” in an educational, vocational, formative and professional sense.

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