The Raw MatTERS Ambassadors at Schools (RM@Schools), an active learning project, has achieved success and recognition by involving experts from EIT RawMaterials to engage students in experiments, and efforts to disseminate the results of those experiments.
RM@Schools is a KAVA project, lead by CNR, Italy, which sees 10-19-year-old students conduct experiments with Raw-Materials-related hands-on educational kits, produced by our consortium – and in communication activities. The project started in 2016 and runs in 2017 under the umbrella of Raw Material Academy.
Students are introduced to the Raw Materials topics by RM Ambassadors (experts from the Consortium), in classes held at schools, research centers or other appropriate venues.
The classes are transformed into a “lab” through hands-on experiments that allow for active learning. The students also conduct tests to evaluate the efficacy of RM-related educational pathways. Some classes also perform excursions to industrial sites.
Afterwards, the older students, aged 14-19, are asked to become Young RM Ambassadors themselves, by creating mother-tongue and English-language dissemination products focused on Raw Materials. The best dissemination products are presented to the public by students themselves during a European Conference of participants in the programme, held at the end of the year.
Young RM ambassadors are also involved in open-access events and collaborate with RM Ambassadors in including the public in simple hands-on experiments.
Educational hands-on RM toolkits (experiments) and dissemination tools – game-based tools and approaches, etc. – that have been designed, developed, and used by RM Ambassadors during the school visits, are available on the e-learning platform.
The project has wide geographic coverage, starting in 2016-17 in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Hungary and Austria. It will be further extended in 2018 to 11 European States and will include all the CLCs of the EIT RawMaterials.
Awards and recognition
The methodology has won awards in several National and European contexts. Most relevant cases include:
- European Parliament hearing of EIT RawMaterials: Best Education project on Wider Society Learning (Brussels, 14 November 2016).
- European Commission Raw Materials Week: Best Education project on Wider Society Learning (Brussels, 30 November 2016).
- Italian Parliament: Hearing with the Counselor on the Parliament (Rome, 16 February 2017).
- Special guest at the IdeenExpo at Hannover, Germany (16-18 June 2017).
EIT RawMaterials contribution to the achievement
RM@Schools project is based on a successful national project, “Research Language”, launched in Italy in 2003. EIT Raw Materials provided the necessary support to scale up this idea so that it can be successfully conducted in many countries. All the activities of the RM@Schools project were funded by the EIT RawMaterials in 2016, and the EIT RawMaterials Academy in 2017, due to its relevance as front-runner project in the Wider Society Learning segment. The project will be continued in 2018, to run until 2020.
Knowledge triangle integration: Involvement of education, research and business sectors
The project allows establishment of one EU Network of RM Ambassadors, which comprises a wide and diverse consortium, involving RTOs (CNR, Bay Zoltan, CEA, Fraunhofer Institute, GeoZS, SGU, Wetsus), universities (UniBO, KTI, MU Leoben, PoliMI, RWTH, TTU, UPM, FCT NOVA, UniMIB, UdL) and companies (ECODOM).
Many industrial partners that are not taking part in the “official” Consortium, are available to collaborate with it by accepting students’ visits.
Furthermore, the project allows the creation of local networks at the national level, involving the participation of many local resources such as schools, companies, museums, and scientific organisations, which collaborate in the implementation of methodologies and activities. For a complete list of involved institutions see the dedicated webpage.