Dissemination is core to mascil. To be most effective, we incorporated dissemination strategies into the earliest planning stages of mascil and designed them prior to project begin.
Our rich experiences from previous research projects, including the prestigious PRIMAS project (www.primas-project.eu, funded under FP7, Science in Society) supported us in creating a systemic dissemination plan. In doing so, we, as researchers and teacher training providers, considered four key questions:
(a) Goal: What are the goals and objectives of the dissemination effort? What impact do we hope to have?
(b) Audience: Who is affected most by the research/actions? Who would be interested in learning about the study findings? Is this of interest to a broader community?
(c) Medium: What is the most effective way to reach each audience? What resources does each group typically access?
(d) Execution: When should each aspect of the dissemination plan occur (e.g., at which points during the project and afterwards)? Who will be responsible for dissemination activities?
Systemic Dissemination approach:
To meet the requirements of an effective dissemination plan, a systemic approach targeting all layers and communities involved in education was developed. This includes a professional marketing strategy in developing the various materials (available under: http://www.mascil-project.eu/reports/Marketing). Core to our systemic approach are the advisory boards. In each partner country, a National Advisory Board is comprised of key-actors from communities such as school authority leaders, industry experts, representatives from vocational, general, and informal education and parents associations). At the international level, the European Advisory Board consists of international experts in the field of science and mathematics education, and members from National Advisory Boards.
This systemic approach includes across the project consortium key partners in general schools, vocational schools, industry, and informal education providers. Teachers, students, parents, school authorities and policy makers complete the picture of the target groups mascil is approaching. Teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development activities and to implement inquiry in their classes. Other groups are informed about inquiry based learning, connections between school and the world of work (WoW), and what these groups can do to support such innovative ways of teaching. Targeted numbers are very impressive as mascil expects to reach over 5000 policy-makers and science professionals, 65 000 teachers, and more than 1 000 000 homes (students and parents).
Almost every possible strategy for dissemination has been employed in mascil. Dissemination events take place in each partner country and internationally, and adopt an iterative approach of improvement; national case studies and comparative reports facilitate the discussion and the improvement of the dissemination activities. These strategies include:
(a) Conferences: Two major conferences will be held during the lifetime of the project that will bring together relevant key-actors from the areas of mathematics and science education. Conferences will also provide a venue for young and experienced researchers from the project consortium to share ideas, good practices, and experiences within mascil. Further, national, European and international research conferences and teacher conferences provide ideal possibilities for disseminating mascil.
The first conference: ‘Educating the educators - international approaches to scaling-up professional development in maths and science education took place from 15 to 16 December 2014 at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Campus Essen, Germany. Conference hosts are mascil and the DZLM (German Centre for Mathematics Teacher Education). For more information, please visit the conference website at: http://educating-the-educators.ph-freiburg.de/
(b) Scientific publications and publications in teacher journals: Research findings and reflections on training events with teachers are being submitted to peer-reviewed research journals and teacher journals for publication.
(c) Talks and workshops, open school lessons and round tables: All partner countries deliver talks and workshops to teacher trainers, parents and other target groups. Open school lessons and round table discussions provide a venue for teachers, head teachers, inspectors and parents to discuss and share ideas on inquiry.
(d) Media coverage: Mascil uses local newspaper and radio outlets to disseminate project ideas, events and training programmes. Examples of mascil media coverage are available under: http://www.mascil-project.eu/resources/publications.
(e) Press releases: This is one of the most efficient and effective ways to disseminate information, particularly to the media and other organizations. Mascil issues press releases at the local level in the partner countries.
(f) Flyers, posters, brochures and research briefs: We have developed a clear professional marketing strategy that includes flyers, brochures and posters. These means offer a concise and visually-appealing way to disseminate information to broad audiences. The international mascil flyer is available here: http://www.mascil-project.eu/resources/flyer.
(g) Web presence: Our presence in the Web is multidimensional, including international and national websites, multiple twitter accounts, a teacher communication platform and teacher materials available for download.
(h) Policy briefs: Cooperation with policy makers is crucial since a wide range of policies define teachers’ working conditions, and may support or hinder the implementation of inquiry-based science teaching. Advocacy groups and legislators look to current research trends and information to make decisions. Related information will be presented in the form of policy briefs, outline the rationale for choosing inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning, and be available under: http://www.mascil-project.eu/reports/policy
(i) Newsletter: Distributing a regular newsletter that summarising findings and actions is an ideal way to update project participants and other target groups. The benefits of newsletters have proven to far outweigh the time and effort involved in preparing them. Within project lifetime, four newsletters are planned and will be available under: http://www.mascil-project.eu/resources/newsletter