DiSTARS Summer School 2021

11-16 July 2021

The DiSTARS course is developed in the context of the project “Students as Digital Storytellers: a STEAM approach to Space Exploration”.

Its main objectives are to introduce teachers to the concept of (digital) storytelling, that enjoys a very long tradition in human history, as a catalyst for the effective interaction between Arts and STEM disciplines which share similar values, similar themes and similar characteristics towards promoting students’ Deeper Learning.
Furthermore, a new vision for teaching outlining strategies for how teachers’ roles and conditions can support and enable deeper learning for students will be presented.

Moreover, the course will support and facilitate the aforementioned approaches with meaningful digital technologies, such as advanced interfaces, learning analytics, visualization dashboards and Augmented/Virtual reality applications.

Find out more about the DiSTARS here: http://www.distars.eu

Exploration and pioneering have inspired and shaped civilizations since the dawn of history. Such endeavours are distinguishing characteristics of an advancing civilization. As people explore, they discover, innovate, prosper, lead— and become great. In the DiSTARS project and in this course, we have selected as the main topic two major challenges for the humankind: Exploring the Moon & The journey to Mars.

The DiSTARS Summer School includes presentations followed by practical sessions and workshops focusing on:

  • Concepts and skills of storytelling, inquiry processes and multidisciplinary teaching
  • Approaches to effective interaction between Arts and STEM
  • Familiarization with the DiSTARS digital storytelling platform and educational digital repositories
  • Assessment of Deeper (Science) Learning of students
  • Preparing educational resources and activities and designing and creating stories
  • Uploading and sharing digital stories for use in the primary and lower secondary schools
  • Hands-on sessions working on creating animations, videos and resources related to science.
  • Building a community of educators that will collaborate in the next few years and test their storytelling approach within the framework of the “Students as Digital Storytellers: a STEAM approach to Space Exploration” project.

Find out more about the DiSTARS here: http://www.distars.eu

  • The DiSTARS Summer School is specifically designed for teaching professionals in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). It will introduce teachers to the concept of storytelling as well as inquiry-based science teaching techniques in order to develop, improve and enhance their teaching skills and practices. The overall goal of the course is two-fold:
  • to acquaint participants with the significance and opportunities of storytelling using the DiSTARS digital storytelling platform;
  • to enable teachers to successfully use, develop and support the creation of students’ stories using innovative, ICT based tools and techniques, including VR and AR, that will help students use their creativity to learn about science topics related to space exploration.

Learn how to use and embody digital storytelling in your teaching and curriculum!

Storytelling is a great way to support the development of students’ inquiry skills and help them gain initial scientific experience while at the same time enable to them to use the potential of the imagination and creativity. Students that have been exposed to scientific topics by creating and designing their own story lines and using techniques such as creating videos and/or animations, are more likely to develop a long-lasting motivation and interested in science topics.
Consequently, the specific objectives of the course are to:

  • Introduce STEM teachers to the concepts and skills of storytelling
  • Demonstrate its various applications in science learning activities by combining science learning with artistic and creative activities
  • Familiarize participants with the DiSTARS storytelling platform as well as other educational digital repositories
  • Develop teachers’ ICT skills through the use and application of the Stories of Tomorrow storytelling platform, tools and services
  • Engage participants in preparing, uploading and sharing digital stories using learning resources and activities in the DiSTARS platform
  • Foster the culture of collaboration among teachers of different science disciplines in organizing multidisciplinary activities.

Overall, the course has a significant and important European dimension: Participants from all over Europe will become part of an active and growing community of practice to exchange and share ideas, experiences, concerns and educational resources with fellow teachers across Europe and introduce them to on-line learning repositories, portals and educational metadata.

Find out more about the DiSTARS here: http://www.distars.eu

The DiSTARS Summer School is designed to be highly engaging, creative and interactive. Participating teachers will work in small groups and thus be able to collaborate with teachers from other countries, discuss ideas and exchange experiences in order to create a group activity which will encompass all the features of a successful storytelling inter-disciplinary science activity.

The course will last for 6 days, consisting in total of ca. 25 hours of workshop-based training, such as presentations followed by hands-on sessions (9 hours of lectures and demonstrations, 16 hours of hands-on workshops). The lectures and the demonstrations of the training course will be held in an auditorium equipped with a data projector and a laptop, whereas, the workshops will be held in a multimedia laboratory where each participant will have direct access to a PC with internet connection and will carry out planned exercises.

Throughout the duration of the course teachers will participate in activities from two different points of view:

  1. as learners using and testing the storytelling platform and supportive applications,
  2. as creators developing and implementing stories connected to e.g. space exploration.

Therefore, special sessions are dedicated to showcase and practice how to collaboratively experience and use the innovative tools and Stories of Tomorrow platform, as well as how to design storytelling educational activities using educational material from digital repositories. Participants will learn how to set up and work in the storytelling platform, how to personalize it, how to navigate through digital resources and how to assess students deeper learning in science.

One important aspect of the training activities is the collected feedback and the common discussion among participants. We will provide a platform to exchange ideas sand talk in detail about the requirements with respect to various aspects of the tools shown in order to facilitate their further development, maximize their efficiency and enhance the adaptation potential.

To ensure the proper preparation for the training course an online workspace will act as a main hub of communication and for sharing and distributing preparatory material with the participants. Through this website the participants will have access to all materials necessary for their preparation (suggested reading, relevant websites, guidelines etc.) and a common workspace. Moreover, all the information regarding the training course such as the course description, the programme, travelling and accommodation guidelines will also be accessible through the website.

Participants will familiarize themselves with the training topics as well as the course methodology by accessing the relevant resources, materials and tools. Based on their interests they will be invited to participate into one of the working groups each of which will have a different main topic of focus.

At the end of the course, following the presentation of their work on the last day of the course, participants will receive a training certificate that confirms the successful completion of the course and its objectives.

As members of the DiSTARS community participants will have access to support provided by the training team, and they will be able to communicate with other teachers in European countries, who have a common interest, share their ideas and experience and collaborate in joint activities.

The summer school alumni will also become DiSTARS ambassadors and they will be given the opportunity to become trainers in the use of the platform themselves. Through the training sessions they will organize they will be able to further disseminate their work and inspire more teachers to use their activities and the DiSTARS tools and services.

In order to assess whether, and to what extent, the course has reached its objectives and expected results the participants will have to answer, during and at the end of the course, a set of relevant questionnaires that will be provided by the course providers. The results of the questionnaires/survey or a so-called evaluation report will be available to all participants of the course.

The DiSTARS Summer School programme will be announced soon.

Course fee

The course fee for all ESIA Summer Schools is 420€ (70€/per day) and fully within the funding opportunities of the Erasmus+ Programme.

The course fee covers:

  • Expert lecturers for lectures, seminars and workshops
  • All materials and equipment needed for the course
  • Participation in the social programme & excursions (e.g. Sunset and dinner at Cape Sounio, excursion to the Acropolis and visit to the Acropolis Museum and dinner in downtown Athens, traditional night and farewell dinner, etc.)

Subsistence & accommodation

The Summer School will be held at Golden Coast Hotel & Bungalows, an A-class/ 4-star sea-side hotel which stretches on the golden, sandy beach of the Marathon Bay, near the historic location of Marathon, at the outskirts of Athens.

ESIA has made special arrangement with the hotel and are happy to offer to all participants a single or double room with all-inclusive services (i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and free of charge services for outdoors sports and recreational activities).

The costs for subsistence are also within the ceilings of the Erasmus+ programme for KA1 mobility actions.

The Summer School will be held at Golden Coast Hotel & Bungalows, an A-class/ 4-star sea-side hotel which stretches on the golden, sandy beach of the Marathon Bay, near the historic location of Marathon, at the outskirts of Athens.

It is the area of Marathon, that has hosted since the times of myths when Theseus killed the terrible bull of Marathon, to the times of the Persian wars and the Battle of Marathon, further on to our days and the marathon race and Marathon Run, the emblematic symbol of man’s quest for freedom and the will to defend his most noble deeds which constitute the foundations of the Human civilization. The plethora of natural, historical sites and museums of the area reveal in all details this unique historical voyage.

Participants are expected to arrive through the Athens International Airport, approximately 25 km (15,53 miles) distance from the hotel.

Learn More

The Erasmus+ Programme supports the participation in professional development activities such as the ESIA Summer Schools.

This year, however, the Erasmus+ programme for the period of 2021-2027 has not been published yet. Therefore, no new applications can be currently prepared. As soon as the new programme is published (expected in April / May 2021), we will inform you and explain you how to apply in the coming years.

However, in case your school or organization has successfully applied for Erasmus+ funding in the past 2 years, you are able to use the existing funds to cover the costs for this year.

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