Special Education STEAM Academy gathering representatives of universities, ministries and institutions from Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Bulgaria in an open dialogue to strengthen the Education Framework for STEAM in Special Education for students with mild disabilities in Primary Education
From September 22nd to 23rd, 2022, in Athens (Greece) the Hellenic Open University (HOU, Greece) hosted ministry representatives, teachers, professors, and managers of 11 education institutions from Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Bulgaria. The purpose of this meeting was to launch the project SpicE, co-financed by the European Union through the ERASMUS+ programme. This 3-year project is meant to promote visibility and inclusion for primary education students with mild disabilities, as well as to improve and promote STEAM techniques in Special Education at European level.
SpicE aims to enhance Primary Education Teachers’ ability to implement effective STEAM instruction for protecting students with Mild Disabilities (Special Education) from educational and social exclusion. STEAM is used both as the means and as the purpose for enabling a much-needed shift in Special Education in Primary Education both at an in-service and pre-service level. It sought to uplift barriers for a significant number of students that are silently, slowly, and indirectly marginalised from the early stages of European school systems due to the lack of Teachers’ STEAM skills and the lack of a methodological between STEAM and Special Education educational models.
The event allowed for a warm welcome from Prof. Achilles Kameas (HOU), the project coordinator, to the tour de table where partners met and got to know each other, which helped establish the connections that will ensure a smooth project implementation. The meeting was also available on Zoom for the participants that could not attend the meeting in person.
The objective of the kick-off meeting was to make sure all partners have a clear understanding of the expectations of the project, to understand the structure and workflow that will be followed throughout it and to be able to discuss the various work packages and their expected outputs, so that each partner understands their roles and responsibilities.
More specifically, partners discussed the project overview, project management, how special education practices will be collected and analysed, the educational and competence frameworks for STEAM in Special Education, the quality assurance in SpicE, the project’s dissemination means, channels and materials, and a shorter overview of the work packages concerning the professional development of STEAM special educators as well as the pilot testing and evaluation of future project results.
Moreover, Ms. Evita Tasiopoulou and Mr. Eddy Grand-Meyer from European SchoolNet presented EUN activities related to SpicE as well as two STEAM projects focused creating a conceptual framework of reference for integrated STE(A)M education, developing a capacity building programme for primary and secondary education teachers and designing an improvement journey with different stages associated to intervention steps based on research and proven experiences with recommendations.
Other activities carried out throughout this meeting include the approval of the Project Management Handbook and the establishment of the Steering Committee.
In the holding of this event in Athens, partners could share their experiences as well as become familiar with important aspects of the newborn project, and also enjoy the academic, cultural and geographic aspects of the City of Wisdom during their stay.
Additionally, it was hoped that the creation of synergies, and the coming results of the following working tasks and sessions will bring clarity for the implementation of the activities planned in the first year of work for this project.