Written on Water: new models of work-based learning for promoting European scientific careers.
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training
Link to WoW Project on Erasmus +
European policies have highlighted work-based learning as a key strategy that can play a crucial role in reducing youth unemployment and facilitate the transition of young people from school to employment.
National laws are increasingly promoting WBL as an effective method to help students acquiring skills and competences relevant for the labour market, benefiting both learners and employers. At the same time, future employment opportunities are expected to be high for professionals with science-related skills, which highlights the necessity to make science education and careers attractive for young people. Within this context, the main objective of the Written on Water (WoW) project is to develop an innovative model of transnational work-based learning for the promotion of European scientific careers.
The project aims at bridging formal and non- formal education to get students close to work realities, by offering an innovative practical training focusing on the issue of rivers and water pollution. More specifically, WoW’s objective is to encourage the development of environmental awareness and green skills of young people, in order to promote their interest in scientific careers. This will be achieved by WBL paths for students, in which water analysis experience will be the main goal. In addition, the project aims at supporting the professional development of teachers and trainers by increasing their relevant didactic and methodological skills, and to promote collaboration between schools and companies/organizations across Europe.
The project consists in students’ first-hand experience of water sampling and analysis, which will be delivered in three different partner countries, namely Italy, Poland and Croatia.
The partnership is composed by 3 schools and 4 organizations with a long- standing experience in the scientific field and environmental conservation. The main targets are a selected group of students from scientific high schools/technical institutes, their teachers and trainers, as well as other European educational institutes, organizations and a wide range of stakeholders, which will be able to benefit from the project results. The work-based learning activities include 6 transnational mobilities (2 in each partner country) and at least 32 students per school, for a total of 204 students.
The activities consist in a preliminary theoretical training and practical fieldworks involving students directly in the activities of water sampling and data analysis. The methodology used is based on the principles of learning-by-doing, peer-education, team working and collaborative learning, with a strong focus on developing problem solving skills.
Central to the project is also the collaboration between teachers and trainers, and their exchange of didactical and scientific methodologies. Rivers will be the central topic, as they are an essential resource that needs to be acknowledged, understood and protected. In fact, they are part of a larger mechanism, the water cycle, which connects nature, air, soil and water, but it is also crucial for humans. Through the project activities students will see that the intrinsic value and function of this resource is “Written on Water”, and they will learn this not because they will read it in books, but because they will actually be able to “read” it in water.
The encounter of European citizens from different countries provides an opportunity to compare different national environmental and social conditions, which will ensure a chance of professional, cultural and civil development. The exchange and combination of a variety of working methods, teaching styles and competences will also allow to develop a common, work-based learning methodology, which will be replicable and adaptable to different contexts and in different European countries.
The project’s final results will be the elaboration of two guidelines, one about the development of European work-based learning programmes and one about specific didactic methodologies to train students in environmental policy , in addition to a third Intellectual Output on experimental activity, a practical framework of biological and phisical-chemical water analysis. These will be disseminated through a total of 4 events, carried out in the three partner countries.
The desired impact of the project is therefore:
- to increase students’ interest in scientific careers (with a positive impact on their future academic/career choices and employability)
- to improve teachers and trainers’ methodologies
- to enhance collaboration between schools and organizations involved in work-based learning.
In the long-term, the project aims to foster the adoption of the proposed work-based learning model in other
schools and organizations at a European level, and to influence work-based learning systems at the national and European level, contributing to EU policy recommendations in the field of VET, employment and environmental education.
Link to project card: Show project card