Inspiring minds research-engaged STEAM outreach: How we can and should change our practice
Lawson, F. and Colley, S. 2022. Inspiring minds research-engaged STEAM outreach: How we can and should change our practice.
|Authors||Lawson, F. and Colley, S.|
There is global agreement that we need to increase the number and diversity of people studying STEM at HE and entering the STEM workplace. When this is considered alongside the role of “sustained and progressive” outreach activity in creating shifts in students’ aspirations and attainment a picture emerges that seems to point to the need to prioritise activities that work more intensively with fewer numbers of students to maximise the impact of the opportunities we provide. However, with increasing divergent pressures on educational finances, it is becoming even more important to understand the impact outreach activities are having so that stakeholders can make informed choices and assess the cost to gain ratio of high-reach low intensity versus lower reach higher intensity/ more sustained activities.
The Inspiring Minds Programme was conceived and developed in 2017 as a collaboration between the School and College Engagement Team and the LASAR Research Centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. The aim of the collaboration was to design a STEAM engagement programme that reached students who felt disconnected from their experience of STEM within the formal curriculum and, importantly to assess if the development of an outreach programme built on research-informed pedagogy (epistemic insight) could affect attitudinal and aspirational shifts in the young people attending. In 2021, by working with colleagues at HEAT we were also able to measure the impact on attainment for the first cohort of Inspiring Minds Scholars.
The programme was designed to address multiple engagement barriers within a single intervention, including relationship building with student ambassadors, access (and transport) to a university site, student-led inquiry, access to a range of university academics, and an alternative to the dominant knowledge generation/application narrative of STEM outreach driven by schools’ demand. The Inspiring Minds model is time and resource intensive but the research, embedded into its development shows significant shifts in students’ aspiration and attainment, including post-16 study of STEM-related subjects.
|Keywords||Epistemic Insight; Inspiring Minds; Widening participation; STEM education; Informal science learning|
|Conference||NEON Summer Symposium|
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|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||18 Jul 2022|
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