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Following the recent expansion of ESA’s European Space Education Resource Offices (ESEROs) to several other European countries, a new #esero Office has also been officially inaugurated today in Austria.
The official launch event took place at the Ars Electronica Center, Linz, with the participation of Ingolf Schädler, Deputy Director General of Innovation of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), and Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Head of ESA’s Strategy Department. Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica, opened the event.
Hosted at Ars Electronica, #esero Austria will utilise both the #educational and scientific networks of the centre, as well as links with ESA and with the Austrian space sector, to introduce innovative school teaching and learning strategies in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). It will use space as a context and apply new accredited approaches in STEM pedagogy (learner-centred approach).
In the spirit of the #esero project, established by ESA ten years ago and now operational in 13 European countries, #esero Austria will focus on inspiring and enabling teachers to inspire pupils. In fact, from a teacher’s point of view, space has it all. It can be used as an incredibly fertile context to trigger the students’ natural interest and curiosity in the world around us, help engage them in learning sciences, stimulate the acquisition of scientific methodology, and enable the development of the critical thinking they need to master their own future.
ESERO will train teachers so that they can use space in the classroom and make their lessons more inspiring and effective. Teachers will also be offered a great variety of information and classroom material, and take advantage of the wealth of space-related resources already made available by ESA and the whole existing #esero network.
ESERO Austria will also enable Austrian pupils to meet with space experts working at the Austrian space industry and academia as role models, helping to bridge the gap between theoretical science in the classroom and real space practices and professions. This will in turn help inspire students to choose scientific and technical careers. #esero will also raise awareness of the importance of the European and national space programmes for modern society.“The success of the #esero project is increasing year after year, and we are really pleased to have a new #esero office in Austria,” said Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Head of ESA’s Strategy Department. “Each #esero is part of a strong European network, where the grand objectives are shared but the activities are tailored to the national needs, and where best practices and resources are exchanged. This is the key to its success”.
“Through national partnerships, #esero is able to respond to the specific needs of each ESA Member State in the field of primary and secondary education,” continued Kai-Uwe Schrogl. “In Austria, with #esero we wish to contribute to the advancement of research and innovation, which is also in the agenda of the Austrian government”, he concluded.
Ingolf Schädler, Deputy Director General of Innovation of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology is proud that Austria is now part of the #esero network and provides another link between national education communities and ESA. He wishes Ars Electronica Center and ESA all the best for bringing space into the Austrian classrooms.What is ESERO?
ESERO is ESA’s umbrella #educational project supporting formal education of the sciences (STEM) in European primary and secondary schools. By offering #educational activities specifically tailored to the national curricula and priorities of the ESA Member States, the #esero offices play an important role in supporting science and technology education, and in inspiring the next generation to pursue STEM-related studies and careers, particularly in the space domain.
Modern societies strongly rely on the availability of advanced knowledge, innovation, and continuously evolving technology for the efficient functioning of their economies. In particular, the Europe of today recognises the pivotal role of space in providing the knowledge base and the services required for its smart and sustainable growth. One of Europe’s highest priorities is to reinforce research, innovation and education, in particular related to STEM fields, to guarantee its own future competitiveness.
STEM education in Europe is therefore a clear priority, and ESA, through its #esero project, is contributing to make a difference. ESA has a unique offer to STEM education, providing access to exciting and real scientific data, expertise, scientific methodology, role models, and state-of-the-art facilities across Europe.
Space is cross-curricular and encompasses an immense variety of disciplines. In addition, space has an increasingly essential role in the life of citizens. The next generation of European citizens should grow up with the word ‘space’ on their lips. Even if they do not enter jobs in the space programme, they must know about Europe’s connection to space and the way it enhances all of our lives, from health, communication, navigation, safety etc.
In addition to #esero Austria, #esero offices currently operate in Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland), Poland, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom.
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