Assessment of Transversal Skills in STEM Project Partner Meeting in “virtual Belgium”

Assessment of Transversal Skills in STEM Project Partner Meeting in “virtual Belgium”

In a parallel universe, the Assessment of Transversal Skills in STEM project team would have been in beautiful Belgium this morning. Sadly however, in the ‘new normal’ international educational research and development project teams no longer converge on some European city for a few intense days of meetings and workshops. Instead we continued the work of the ATS STEM project yesterday online and will meet again over the next two weeks as part of a series of all partner meetings in “virtual Antwerp”. Although there is much to miss about the physical meetings, there are a lot of positives about the current format — such as, less travel time, reduced carbon footprint and negative impact on the climate, space for valuable reflection between meetings and, of course, most critically keeping each other safe.

Mark Brown of Dublin City University and John Hurley of H2 Learning kicked us off by outlining how we have responded to the feedback on the first year report of the project to the European Commission. The feedback to date has highlighted how we have responded to the Covid-19 crisis but also points ways forward for us to continue to help teachers use digital tools in STEM education.

Nilay Aral and Sonja Bracht from Danube Krems University, who lead the Quality Assurance project work package, presented on the critical aspect of risk assessment via a SWOT Analysis. Given the uncertain, changeable nature of the current educational environment this is a key concern of the project. Currently a traffic light system is being used to help indicate how we can work in schools according to the levels of openness in the countries involved. The Strengths of the project were highlighted – in particular the skills of the partners and conceptual framework that has been developed. The importance was re-emphasised of continuing to make our conceptual and practical tools developed visible, compressible and usable for teachers. Stand by for more on this topic.

Finally, Ida Maria Peltoma of Tampere University presented on the ongoing work of teacher professional development from the Tampere team in co-operation with Dublin City University. If you are a teacher interested in using digital tools for assessment of key STEM skills and you would like to get involved, we are currently recruiting participant schools across several countries, so please get in touch with us. For more information, please contact Eamon Costello, Project Lead, or see the ATS STEM project website

Piloting an Online Version of the ABC Learning Design Framework

Yesterday a team consisting of Clare Gormley, Suzanne Stone and Rob Lowney  in the Teaching Enhancement Unit in the NIDL gave a presentation sharing  their experiences of developing an online version of the increasingly popular ABC Learning Design Framework. This talk was part of a webinar series organised by the ABC Learning Design team at UCL.


Since campus closures and social distancing restrictions were introduced back in March, the team has been working on piloting an online format of the ABC LD workshop to support DCU staff. Over 150 webinar participants were interested in hearing more about this experience and how the ABC LD Framework is being used more generally at DCU to help scaffold the pedagogical design of modules and programmes for teaching online.  In this respect, the ABC Framework is becoming a key tool alongside several other initiatives in the NIDL to help enable DCU’s teaching staff to better harness the potential of online education. A key strength of  the ABC LD Framework is its strong pedagogical focus which is anchored in one of the most well articulated theories of teaching and learning.

A recording of this presentation is available at the following link: