University of Koblenz partner in Horizon 2020 Project SellSTEM
With University of Koblenz as a partner and consortium member, an international research project will be conducted that aims to enhance the spatial ability of young people and to help to close the gender gap in STEM (Science – Technology – Engineering – Mathematics). The multi-agency project Spatially Enhanced Learning Linked to STEM (SellSTEM) coordinated by colleagues from Technological University Dublin, Irland, was awarded €4.12M in funding from the Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Network under Horizon 2020, an EU 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.
Research has shown that those with high levels of spatial ability are much more likely to succeed in STEM subjects, enjoy doing them and select them for further education and careers compared to those with low spatial ability. The large gender gap in spatial ability in favour of males means women are over-represented in the low spatial ability group and more disadvantaged in STEM learning. Over four years SellSTEM, which is a consortium of ten European universities and eight non-academic partners, will recruit and train 15 PhD students to develop innovative and practical approaches to improve spatial ability among young people in Europe, so they are better prepared for learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Speaking about the project, Dr Gavin Duffy, TU Dublin, said, "SellSTEM will develop methods to foster spatial ability among children through online learning, tactile activities, maker-space workshop, project-based learning, and integrated with the STEM curriculum. They will work with teachers and teacher educators to identify barriers and enablers to developing spatial ability so they can provide sustainable classroom solutions to raise the spatial ability of children above existing levels. SellSTEM brings fresh thinking to promoting STEM education and careers, including addressing the gender gap in STEM enrolment, thereby enabling Europe to achieve its agenda for growth and jobs."
Prof. Dr. Claudia Quaiser-Pohl, Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Educational Sciences, named scientist-in-charge for the consortium at Koblenz University, adds: "This will be the first large scale study in Europe to determine the impact of spatial ability level on education and career choice and how this varies by age, gender and region. At Koblenz university we will create knowledge about the role of spatial ability for successful STEM education in primary and secondary schools and its implementation in teacher training. “
Prof. Dr. Claudia Quaiser-Pohl
University of Koblenz-Landau