On 14 February 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) officially launched the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) in Italy. The project will be led by ANISN, the National Association of Natural Sciences Teachers.
This joint project puts forth the strong commitment of the two space organisations in supporting scientific and technical education, recognising its vital role in Europe’s growth and development, and for society at large.
ESERO uses the theme of space as a fascinating state-of-the art scientific context, proven very successful in increasing the effectiveness of the teaching and learning of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at school.
ESERO will mainly address teachers – the main key of access to students – through means of teacher training and an innovative didactic offer based on real-life professional models and practices. The ultimate objective of ESERO is to increase the literacy and competences of young people in STEM subjects, equip them with the set of skills, attitudes and core values expected from them in the 21st century, and motivate them to pursue a STEM career - space sector included.
A dedicated launch event took place at the ASI headquarters in Rome at the presence of: Anna Sirica, ASI Director General; Piero Benvenuti, Special Commissioner of ASI; Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director General; Kai-Uwe Schrogl, ESA Chief Strategy Officer; Anna Pascucci, Director of ANISN; Giuseppe Valditara, Head of Department University and Research of MIUR; Mario Rusconi, President ANP Lazio; and as well as 200 students and teachers, representatives of Italian industry, University La Sapienza, CNR, ANP, and other Italian institutions.
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano sent his congratulations via video message for the launch of ESERO Italy.
ESERO Italy joins a strong European ESERO network coordinated by ESA, currently active in 16 other countries, where the grand objectives are shared, but the activities are tailored to the national education needs, and where best practices and resources are exchanged.
“ESERO is a remarkable example of the multiple range of tangible benefits space can provide to citizens – a way for ESA Member States to get an exceptionally valuable return of investment to society”, said Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director General. “Each ESERO is also part of a strong and successful European ESERO network coordinated by ESA, where the grand objectives are shared, activities are tailored to the national education needs, and where best practices and STEM resources of the entire network are exchanged.”
“The dissemination activities on the importance of studying STEM subjects is a primary mission for ASI,” said Piero Benvenuti, the Commissioner of the Italian Space Agency. “The ESERO project is one of the essential elements of our activity. We have the object of stimulating the interest of younger generations to bring them closer to scientific subjects. This allows young people to open up to the understanding of a world capable of generating development and growth as well as a sector with significant potential of employment for their future. In this framework, the role of teachers is vital. With ESERO we are aiming at a high level training of teachers and at a stronger relationship between schools and research community, a great opportunity for a country, like Italy, that cannot longer afford to delay the training of younger generations in technical-scientific subjects.”
“The vision and the operational strategies of ESERO Italia coincide with those of the ANISN regarding the innovation of the teaching and learning processes of the STEM disciplines, and this synergy of objectives enhances its impact and sustainability over time”, said Anna Pascucci, President of ANISN. “ANISN supports ESERO Italy as host organisation, and reinforces itself, as a stable and continuous reference, with a systemic vision and multilevel strategies, for teachers seen as key actors and multipliers agents of change, through continuous long-term training and support for learning communities, sharing and capitalization through networking.”
ESERO in Italy
Under the leadership of ANISN, and with the continuous support of ESA and ASI, ESERO Italy can count on a group of key national partners in the project. These include the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and the National Research Council (CNR), as well as, two organizations operating in the field of teacher training: the Educational Cooperation Movement, with the Pedagogy of Sky Group, and the Italian National Association of School Principals (ANP), through the Lazio section.
During 2019, the first year of the project, ESERO Italy will identify and train about 30 lead trainers, with the aim of training a minimum of 200 primary and secondary school teachers nationwide in the course of the year. The ANISN's Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) centres, present throughout Italy, will guarantee one of the key objectives of the ESERO project: to reach the whole territory in an inclusive way, and ensure equal opportunities to teachers across the country.
The trainings offered by ESERO Italy will be entirely free of charge and accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). ESERO will also offer for free sets of innovative classroom materials catered for the Italian STEM curriculum, interdisciplinary school projects, and access to STEM career and role models. It will also contribute to increase awareness about the importance of space as a backbone of contemporary society and economy.
For more information on ESERO Italy training courses, materials, school projects, and opportunities for both teachers and students: www.esero.it
ESERO in Europe
ESERO is ESA’s flagship educational project targeting primary and secondary school education in Europe. In particular, the scientific and inquiry-based methodology used across the project and the continuous links to advanced space research aims at bridging the gap between the STEM theory taught at school and the real practice of science.
Through offices established nationally, offering teacher trainings, exciting classroom projects and classroom resources tailored to the national languages and school curricula, ESERO trains teachers so that they can bring space to the classroom and make their lessons more inspiring and effective.
The large experience of the ESERO project in Europe, active for 12 years, has already amply demonstrated that the ESERO training clearly contributes to reinforcing the confidence of teachers in teaching science, broaden their methodological package, and increase their capacity in engaging students in an active and inspired learning process.
Through its innovative approach, in some European countries ESERO has also demonstrated its ability to contribute to an evolution of the school system from the inside. In some cases, ESERO offices directly contributed to the rewriting of STEM school curricula.
With Italy, the European network of ESERO offices now covers the following 17 ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.