How teachers are shaping the future of education with Science on Stage’s European Code League. Meet this year’s inspiring 2021 winner
In the 1940s Albert Szent-Györgyi – a Nobel-prize winning Hungarian biochemist known for his work in science – wrote that “the future will be, like the schools are today”. In 2021, these words still ring true, even more so for the winners of the European Code League competition, Dr Corina Toma, Mihaela Giurgea and their students from Tiberiu Popoviciu High School of Computer Science in Romania. The second and third places went to teams from Turkey and Greece.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, around 65% of children who start primary school today will work in professions that do not even exist yet. Their future lies in the hands of educators and to date, Science on Stage reaches about 100,000 teachers and teacher trainers in over 30 countries, providing a necessary network to exchange great ideas and to scale them Europewide. With 79% of participating teachers implementing the teaching ideas they’ve seen at Science on Stage festivals over the years, European Code League has proven that it’s possible for teachers and students to work together – even in the midst of a pandemic – to create inspiring, real-world STEM projects.
Organised by Science on Stage with the support of SAP Corporate Social Responsibility for Middle Eastern Europe, the European Code League is a competition for teacher-student teams to apply with innovative coding projects. It was launched in 2020 as a follow-up to Science on Stage’s successful coding project for STEM education – discover more about this exciting project here.
“Science on Stage gave me the opportunity to find new ways to motivate my students to learn physics using ICT,” says Dr Toma who became a teacher after 10 years working as a physicist. “Physics is everywhere and happens at any time. In the classroom, I am at home. I like to talk with my students and explain all kinds of topics.”
Science on Stage Europe is a network for STEM teachers focusing on the exchange of best practice teaching ideas. The ultimate goal is to improve STEM teaching by supporting educators in their professional development and growth.
“Teachers are often the ideas, the starting point. Students who finish high school do not know what their role in the world will be. These projects show how important it is to code but also to learn STEM subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology,” adds Dr Toma.
The winning coding project – ‘CaeliBox’ – used sensors to measure different air parameters such as concentration of CO2, humidity, pressure, temperature, noise, and other noxious substances in their town. The data was transferred to a server so the students could access and work with it at any time.
“My town in Romania used to be small but now it is very big and as a result, the air is polluted because we have so many cars. CaeliBox is a useful device for STEM education and our students were happy to combine coding with physics and technology,” explains Toma, who adds that she faced many challenges trying to complete the project from broken sensors to realizing they needed more space and swapping out their Arduino Uno for an Arduino Mega.
For Dr Toma, Science on Stage is far more than a networking opportunity for teachers, it’s a community of like-minded educators: “At first, I saw that the education in Romania is very different from other countries but then I realised that as teachers, we have the same goals and can make the same activities. Science on Stage is a community to challenge our ideas and to understand that we are in the same place,” she adds. “SAP can be very proud for supporting STEM teaching training in Europe.”
By spreading innovative teaching concepts among Europe’s science teachers, Science on Stage enables more students to gain the digital skills they need for a challenging future and encourage them to consider a career in science, ICT or engineering. In a world shaped increasingly by technology and digitalisation, teachers make the difference. Look out for the 12th European Science on Stage festival taking place next year from 24-27 March in Prague, Czech Republic.
About Science on Stage Europe
Science on Stage Europe brings together science teachers from over 30 countries across Europe. They exchange best practice and teaching ideas and concepts with passionate colleagues. Science on Stage Europe believes that the best way to improve science teaching and to encourage more schoolchildren to consider a career in science or engineering is to motivate and inform their teachers. The non-profit organisation was founded in 2000 and reaches 100,000 teachers Europe-wide.
The main supporter of the Science on Stage network is the Federation of German Employers’ Associations in the Metal and Electrical Engineering Industries (GESAMTMETALL) with its initiative thinking.
About SAP Corporate Social Responsibility
SAP is committed to making the world run better and improve people’s lives. It means connecting people and information to address the world’s biggest challenges. That’s why we engineer solutions to fuel innovation, foster equality, and spread opportunity across borders and culture, Together, we can transform industries, grow economies, lift up societies, and sustain our environment. SAP Corporate Social Responsibility leads the company in putting our purpose into action. We focus on three strategic pillars that foster digital inclusion and create opportunity for all people by: Building digital skills, accelerating best-run non-profits and social enterprises, and connecting employees with purpose.
SAP has been supporting Science on Stage since 2011 focussing on the development of teaching material and their dissemination throughout Europe.