In the last three decades, the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) continued to increase as a potential solution to overturn declining numbers of students choosing careers in STEM disciplines. The emphasis on STEM continued with increasing number of STEM centers in the UK or MINT (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences, technology) centers in Germany. STEM literature emphasized on supporting design, for instance Turkish Ministry of Education made several updates in the elementary and middle school curriculum to add design based thinking into the curriculum. 2023 Vision aimed to start design studios in all schools, and the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) also added design based thinking into teacher education. On the other hand, European reports underlined the lack of a coherent agreement to support design based pedagogy.
Departing from this need, teacher education programs shared thinking about how to leverage design to improve coherence and relevance of instruction during this project. The biggest difference of this project was to change the emphasis on completing the design products to creating a learning environment around design products. Previous studies focused primarily on completing design products. This project aimed to change the emphasis on the teaching environment created around the design products. By looking at its nature, the project was the first of its kind about design based pedagogy. The project offered guidelines for teacher education programs and teachers by presenting activities supporting interdisciplinary thinking and offer assessment items to measure design based pedagogy. The project started with creating the Booklet of Design Based Pedagogy. Then the Project shifted to Practical Applications of Design Based Pedagogy and Online Learning through eTwinning projects.
When creating the Booklet of Design Based Pedagogy, the main goal was to offer a common framework and set of activities to implement design based pedagogy. The partners collaboratively created the booklet that will include three steps: (1) Reviewing Design Challenges and Design Products across European teacher education programs, (2) Supporting Scientific and Engineering Practices with Critical Thinking, (3) Assessing Design Based Pedagogy.
Reviewing design challenges and design products across European teacher education programs helped to picture the existing practices across European teacher education programs. In the next step, activities supported critical thinking when engaging with scientific and engineering practices were created. Finally, partners worked on creating tools for assessing the design based pedagogy. After reviewing the existing practices, the booklet offered guidelines to implement design based pedagogy with critical thinking and ways to assess design pedagogy.
The booklet was prepared in English and then translated into Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Dutch. All documents can be accessed by clicking on different language options under intellectual outputs.
The project team worked on organizing their courses (such as making changes to ECTS) and offered the following sample course for all educators: https://designbasedpedagogy.wordpress.com/