A closer look into our Round Table on Proactive anticipatory policies

With the participation of more than 50 researchers, professionals and students, the roundtable organised by FEDORA last Thursday 3 November at the University of Bologna conveyed a myriad of reflections through the contributions of its 4 keynote speakers and the conversations sparked during the event. Facilitated by Dr Antti Laherto,  professor in Science Education at the University of Helsinki,  the event kicked off with a presentation by Dr Olivia Leverini, Coordinator and Lead of the FEDORA project. She walked the audience through the main components and achievements of the EU-funded project, which is looking deeply into the dissonances between the historic science education models and the needs and questions of modern societies. The bottom line is how to grasp the future and enable action and agency in the present through science education.

Dr Levrini highlighted that the studies, interviews and surveys deeply tried to understand interdisciplinarity from different angles and the fact that we need disciplines. They are lenses through which we can look from diverse perspectives and help to understand boundaries and moreover, inhabit boundaries. Metaphors become helpful to bring understanding to the complexity of where we live and it is here where new languages are needed and are invited to guide us through possible paths that foster actions in the present, thinking into the future.  

Each of the invited speakers contributed from their field of expertise to what the conference aimed for: an active exchange of different perspectives, coming from transdisciplinary fields of work.

A poster session was installed on one side of the auditorium and participants were invited to share their thoughts and questions, while looking at the answers given by the public on "Postcards for the future".

 You can enjoy the video, which summarises the whole event: Video FEDORA roundtable  and our gallery with a selection of pictures of the day!


On the next day, the FEDORA project participated in the Conference on Interdisciplinarity in STEM Education organised by the IDENTITIES project. It was a synergy action that brought together 6 different European projects that are researching different aspects of science education and open schooling. For more information, please visit  https://identitiesproject.eu/conference-on-interdisciplinarity-in-stem-education/



FEDORA's work on the blind spots in science education has been summarised in these Learning Briefs, which present the work on Interdisciplinarity (WP1), New Languages (WP2) and Futurisation (WP3). They show the issue addressed, the framework showing the underlying principles and the working flow and recommendations.

You can download them here:

Learning brief on Interdisciplinarity

Learning brief on New Languages

Learning brief on Futurisation





The FEDORA partnership is inviting all professionals and researchers interested to the policy-oriented roundtable entitled “Proactive anticipatory policies on science education and sustainability” that will take place on Thursday, November 3rd at 4 p.m. Aula Prodi, Piazza di San Giovanni in Monte, Bologna.

The roundtable will be chaired by Dr Antti Laherto from the University of Helsinki and will consider the participation of:

Following the roundtable, the impact of FEDORA’s project on local and European policies will be discussed. The event will end with a social reception.

Before the roundtable, starting at 3 p.m., the participants are invited to visit the project’s exhibits and the poster session and discuss personally with the researchers involved

Local policymakers such as mayors, council members, heads of schools and universities, researchers, and pre-and in-service teachers are particularly welcome to this event which aims at initiating synergies at local and European levels. 

Registration to the event is free: https://forms.gle/g7dBGqqBUy5nuWMHA.

On Friday, November 4th, at the same venue, the FEDORA project will participate in the Conference on Interdisciplinarity in STEM Education organised by the IDENTITIES project. More information at this link: https://identitiesproject.eu/conference-on-interdisciplinarity-in-stem-education/





The vibrant city of Kaunas, 2002 European City of Culture and its Kaunas University of Technology hosted the first in-person meeting of the FEDORA project. After two years of online and very well-coordinated work, we had the time for conversations and dialogue face to face and this was celebrated by each of the participants. With 16 experts in the field of science education, the meeting went through a very content-rich agenda, prepared by FEDORA's coordinator Olivia Levrini and the hosts Raminta Pucetaite and Rimantas Rauleckas, from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

The main topic of the meeting was to craft a common vision and a clear path for the results we want to achieve during the last year of the project. An important milestone is ahead of us: On the 3-4 of November, in Bologna, we will hold our first policy event and in May next year, we will share the final outcomes at the FEDORA Conference in Brussels. The contents and the way we will share them were the main themes of the discussions. And of course, the desired futures for the project were part of them as well.

The agenda included a visit to the Čiurlionis National Art Museum, where fiction,  metaphors and sharp messages about these times melted in compelling works of art.

PHERECLOS was a shipbuilder in Greek mythology, whose fleet helped to cross unknown passages in the Mediterranean Sea and combat foreign enemies at the time of ancient Greeks. In modern times, an asteroid was given the name of this Greek artisan, a Jupiter trojan in a far-afield orbit around the sun.

This was the 3-years guiding image that brought together the 15 partner organisations into a united but diverse vision of how to support the Open Schooling movement in the PHERECLOS EU project, funded by Horizon 2020. The project was aiming to combine the incubatory role of Children’s Universities with the understanding of Science Capital and a commitment to an Open School culture. All PHERECLOS partner organisations have long-lasting experience in these fields and cover relevant views on these issues from different stakeholder perspectives.

Its final conference was hosted by the National University of Agronomy USAMV in Bucharest, Romania, between 7-9 September. Keynotes, workshops, open spaces and overall a very open and reflective atmosphere were backstage for these 3 days of inspiration and practical learning. The networking opportunities and the fact of having so many open schooling practitioners were two relevant aspects that brought us FEDORA, to Bucharest. We also showed some of our metaphors through our printed posters and postcards and shared the freshly-launched manifesto. We participated in two workshops as well, sharing closely with other participants representing schools and universities: Empowering scientists and scholars for OS. Sharing practices, and discussing problems led by Paola Rodari, from Sissa Medialab in Trieste Italy and Parental Engagement through STEAM, led by Judit Horgas, from Parents for Science Association.

A room with white desks where women and men, aged between 20 and 40, look to the same direction, to the front. (Source: www.phereclos.eu)

The first keynote  “Another brick in the wall” presented by Claudia Aguirre, director of Traces Association in Paris, France, stressed the importance of relevance, as a driving force for commitment, collaboration and transformation. The second keynote was held by Peter Gray. In his “Precise but vague: the European Commission and its educational interventions, 2007-2022” talk, he challenged the audience with some insights about the impact of the EC intentioned support for more than a decade and how the field has now well-connected actors, experiences, experts ready for the awaited transformations. 

The project has a myriad of resources on its website and launched a content-rich White Book on Open Schooling: A reference guide https://www.phereclos.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/PHERECLOS-WHITE-BOOK.pdf

‘Let’s explore the future, it is unknown and exciting’  - quote from a workshop in Breda, NL.

We are delighted to share our Manifesto for Future-oriented Science Education! In this 7-page document, you will find 10 recommendations to set the tone and foster future-oriented discussions and spaces, especially in your classroom. You will also get familiar with the context that explains why FEDORA has been busy thinking, reflecting and researching what can make education in science more in tune with the future.

Future-oriented science education manifesto PDF

Futures-oriented science education manifesto _ Printable version

We recognise a significant overlap exists between futures thinking skills and scientific competencies, such as problem-solving and critical and creative thinking. However, extending the scientific competencies with additional skills related to futures thinking, like time perspective, agency beliefs, openness to alternatives, systems perception, and concern for others, will further enrich science education and prepare students for tomorrow. This is our take on this and we extend the invitation to open spaces for dialogue about these topics. Watch our animations that will further support these conversations: Teach the future!

Computational simulations are fundamental tools not only for scientific research but also for education. They are frequently used as virtual laboratories to foster students’ understanding of the theoretical concepts that lie at the basis of the simulated systems. Recent research works in STEM education have started to explore the potential of simulations as future-oriented objects, to support students in the development of future scenarios for real-world situations.

In a recent paper published on Frontiers, for the special issue on Future-Oriented Science Education for Agency and Sustainable Development, Eleonora Barelli, post-doc researcher at the University of Bologna, presents a teaching-learning module targeted to upper high-school students on simulations of complex systems. Following the core ideas of the FEDORA project, the peculiarity of this course is that by guiding the students through the conceptual and epistemological analysis of some computational agent-based models, the author was able to ground on these disciplinary bases the introduction of key concepts of the futures studies, like that of scenario.

This paper addresses an original future-oriented activity in which the students were required to choose an urgent problem of their interest, imagine possible and desirable scenarios based on a simulation and identify the sequence of actions to be undertaken to reach the preferable future. In presenting the results of the module’s implementation, the focus is narrowed down to two groups of students who spontaneously decided to address a problem related to the current educational system.

From the analysis of the students’ discourses, it is shown how the students suffer a great problem of anxiety about their school performance and imagine that this can be mitigated in the school in the future. They see the importance of the role of technology in school innovation but also that no innovation is possible if school knowledge is not re-thought of its times and forms. The students dream about a school as a place for relationships and that can become at the centre of the youngsters’ routine. In particular, students deeply recognize the power of their own agency and that of their teachers in the process of school transformation and hope that the tragedy of a pandemic can be transformed into an opportunity to trigger change.

However, the school that the students imagine as their desirable one is not idealized as a utopia. The participants were able to see a scenario - even the preferred one - as a complex interaction of many stakeholders and as a tension between opposite interests that the different agents have regarding a topic. The scenarios envisioned by the students are authentically sustainable.

Read more about the methods and findings of this study in the research paper “Imagining the School of the Future Through Computational Simulations: Scenarios’ Sustainability and Agency as Keywords”.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This is a story about an event that happened not so long ago, which ripples are reaching further...Let's recap. Thursday, May 19 at the scientific “Liceo” A. Einstein in Rimini: the final event of a laboratory “Quantum Atelier” took place.  The project was born as a result of the PLS – Piano Lauree Scientifiche – a course on the Second Quantum Revolution hosted by the high school and the need of finding new languages, in particular, evocative, personal, and new artistic forms to "talk" about the two quantum revolutions. The Quantum Atelier involved six students in their last school year and four teachers of different disciplines that gave rise, in full FEDORA style, to a model of relationship that has allowed to break down the institutional and emotional barriers that sometimes make the interaction between teachers of different disciplines and between teachers and students very complex and demanding. Furthermore, the Quantum Atelier challenged and paved the way to rethink the standard way to conceive the arts as a tool to communicate science, breaking this functional relationship and opening the possibility to design languages and aesthetics in which the first purpose is not to teach content but to foster a mutual enrichment that poses new questions to rethink this relationship. 

The day, which was also the final event of the Italian quantum week organised by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, lasted two hours and included several speakers in its programme. After a presentation of the Italian Quantum Week by theoretical physicist Elisa Ercolessi, Francesco Minardi, an experimental physicist at the University of Bologna, presented the passage from the first to the second quantum revolution following one of the two greatest mysteries of quantum physics, the entanglement. After the introduction of the project FEDORA by Sara Satanassi, the stage was left to the protagonists: first teachers Maurizio Giuseppucci (teacher in Italian and Latin), Michela Clementi, Paola Fantini, and Fabio Filippo (teachers in Mathematics and Physics) who presented the Quantum Atelier as an experience, and then to the students who presented the works.

The Quantum Atelier has marked a step forward for the FEDORA project and we will continue to work with teachers and students to rethink new languages and extrapolate the model of interaction and relationship implemented.


Soon it's going to be a year since we had the opportunity to listen and talk with Andri Magnusson, the Icelandic writer who has taken as a personal quest the protection of glaciers by employing a very simple yet powerful and deep tool: language and narratives. His last and most famous book, "On time and water" conveys a collection of messages, stories and knowledge from unknown times that flow together as in a river, making our understanding blossom and provoking a sense of strange-making that feels familiar. And here I say "feels" because, through his words, data becomes much more than a number, but a call to action, a pair of hands shaking our shoulders, an awakening light. The melting glaciers, our sleepy answers to what nature is showing us, and our inability for a radical decision to make the temperature sink are some of the pictures we face while reading his stories. 

Andri reflects on this lack of languages, which is making us pay a high price: the apathy and lack of empathy can be explained by a lack of understanding and therefore, his claim for new languages is as loud as the one made by Aldo Leopold a century ago. Leopold could also perceive that our comprehension of cranes and their cry, a trumpet in the orchestra of evolution, was limited and that cranes were symbols of our untamable past. Contemporary artist Christine Sum Kim's huge drawing at the MoMa in NYC, "The sound of temperature rising" also pulls our attention to sounds we are ignoring. Are we losing our hearing capacities as well?

With glaciers being sacred cows, and rivers seen as nurturing milk, Andri invites us to wrap ourselves in the universal blanket of stories, not to bring us to bed but to awaken our hearts and refresh the sense of urgency.

In FEDORA's mid-journey, we have invested time in talking about the gaps and misalignments we see, these unfilled empty holes, the new languages we need to give existence to the set of skills that will help us enhance the comprehension of our powers for shaping the present and the future. People don’t always understand data, but they always understand stories, a scientist told Andri. We are bringing our creative powers into craft work, so we contribute to stories that will be told, heard and embodied by teachers, students and us, researchers.

Picture: alteration based on a photo by Leonardo Cendamo
What is the understanding of policymakers about future-oriented skills in science education? Olga Ioannidou and Sibel Erduran, from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford and FEDORA partners, have just published a new paper that elaborates on this big question, based on stakeholders’ views about what these skills are and how they should be taught. Given the pivotal role that policymakers play in education policies, this study investigated the views of 35 policymakers based in the United Kingdom, Italy, Finland, and Lithuania. You can download the publication here: FiEducation_Policymakers views or go to Frontiers in Education website.
Picture: drmakete_lab via @unsplash.com
FEDORA, Future-oriented Science Education to enhance Responsibility and Engagement in the society of acceleration and uncertainty, is a 3-year EU-funded project. It started in September 2020 and will deploy its activities until August 2023. It gathers 6 partner institutions from 5 European countries.
FEDORA has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 872841
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