The European project LINKS, or Learning from Innovation and Networking in STEM, organized international seminar in Helsinki on 13th of December 2018. The seminar program consisted of experiences in implementing effective continuous professional development for STEM teachers in European countries and also from the viewpoints of different business representatives on teacher-enterprise cooperation and why teaching in natural sciences, mathematics and technology is also seen important in companies. In the seminar workshop, international teams discussed and developed new models to strengthen cooperation between schools, teachers, employers and employees.
The themes to be debated in the conference were, among other things, cooperation between schools and businesses, support for teachers and what kind of benefits the business community has with cooperation with schools. An example of a well-functioning cooperation model was suggest by Karen Brunyee The STEM Learning Ltd, UK. In the Insight into Industry -model companies fund teacher’s substitute for a school as a teacher participates in a science or technology traineeship in the company. The Insight into Industry -model offers teachers the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest technology and practical work in the field. Experiences of training are shared within the school, as well as with other teachers and with students.
LUMA Centre Finland also promotes effective continuous professional development for STEM teachers. This autumn the University of Helsinki launched a Massive Open Online Course, MOOC (in Finnish) that aims to provide support and ideas for teachers to find and utilize a suitable nearby businesses as learning environments. In addition, the course provides tips for planning and implementing a good visit and for creating a learning material.