This first 18 months of the project have been fruitful with all the many things achieved:
- Literature review and compendium of successful practices
We identified, organised, and synthesised previous empirical research into the impacts of EOC practices on students (aged 6–18 years) in terms of cognitive, affective, social/interpersonal, and physical / behavioural outcomes; gender and geographical differences in these impacts; methodologies for assessing impacts; and effective tools and practices used by EOC practitioners to achieve these positive impacts.
- Stakeholder mapping and establishment of local stakeholder networks within each region
The stakeholder database was created in collaboration with the project partners. Over 100 potential stakeholders were identified, representing teachers, principals, researchers, NGO professionals, experts etc. from environmental companies from 7 different EU countries (Cyprus, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain).
- OTTER EOC Hub
An online OTTER Hub was created to carry out constructive discussions among stakeholders. OTTER Hub is a space to generate discussion, gather experiences, good practices and know-how from active EOC practitioners and teachers. It is also a network that will further allow the co-designing of new EOC experiences.
- Methodology for the OTTER Outdoor Labs
We generated a first draft of the methodological protocol for the OTTER Outdoor Labs to be implemented later in the project. The pilot partners shared it with the teachers collaborating with the OTTER project to receive their opinions and their vision on how to adapt this protocol to the four age groups foreseen by this project (two different age groups for each country). To do that, each pilot partner implemented a round of co-creational sessions with teachers from different educational levels to share this first protocol and to reflect on how to adapt and improve to the different age ranges.Each pilot partner collected the comments and suggestions of the teaching staff interviewed and the suggestions and conclusions obtained helped to design a first protocol for the creation of OTTER laboratories, presented in the Deliverable 3.1. “Methodological protocol to generate transformative EOC activities designed for specific age groups”.
- Adaptation of the OTTER Outdoor Labs to each country’s requirements
OTTER project designed the Deliverable 3.2: Report on the adaptations of OTTER’s programme to each region and country, setting the framework regarding the demanded adaptations for OTTER Outdoor Labs to be implementable in every European country. This task guarantees an appropriate adaptation of the OTTER EOC programme to EU countries’ national scientific curricula and needs.
- Development of overarching monitoring and evaluation framework
The task was completed between M4-M6. We produced the D4.1 Monitoring and evaluation framework for the whole project describing the main aspects of the evaluation and monitoring of the OTTER project. The document, consisting of four sections, contains a detailed description of the implementation, design, targets, and coordination strategies for evaluating and monitoring the project.
- Development of methodologies for monitoring and evaluation of project outcomes in terms of students’ scientific knowledge and 21st century skills
Quantitative and qualitative assessment tools were drafted for OTTER Labs. These assessments are structured to gather information on students’ understanding of topics that were only included in the EOC activities, those that were only included in the formal classroom curriculum, and those that were included in both. Quantitative assessment data came from assessment tasks specifically designed for this project adapted from previously validated survey instruments. Qualitative assessment data came from interviews with selected groups of students and teachers participating in the EOC activities. Adaptations were considered by pilot partners to ensure that the tools could be applied across country contexts and age groups.
- Development of the OTTER Learning Platform, including the practitioners’ toolkit, teacher training, and guidelines for teachers
This is an ongoing task where all content has been created and we are entering the stage of developing it in our website.
- Dissemination, communication plan and visual identity
We published “D6.1 Dissemination Plan and Visual Identity” in M3 which identified the target audiences and key stakeholders of the project, defined the dissemination objectives, what should be communicated, and how it should be presented to ensure the users’ uptake. D6.1 further detailed the means and channels to be used at a project and partner levels, as well as the types of events and conferences in which the project could be promoted, serving in this way as an action plan for the consortium, with individual responsibilities and a timeframe for implementation.
A distinct visual identity was created for OTTER project, including a logo, wordmark typefaces and colour palette that contribute to creating a familiar look of the project. Guidelines on how to use these were also provided, together with PowerPoint, Excel, Word and deliverable templates.
- Dissemination materials
Two types of dissemination materials were created: 1) digital materials, which are constantly disseminated through OTTER social media (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok) and the most relevant uploaded to the project’s website; and 2) printed materials which are used for physical external events and to be used in our OTTER Labs.
- Joint dissemination actions and scientific outreach
Dissemination and awareness-raising activities have been continuous; extensive visibility has been achieved through active dissemination via online and offline channels. Up to M17, OTTER organised 2 workshops while participated in one, presented at one conference, gave a detailed talk as keynote speaker and participated in one outreach event.
- Communication and public outreach to all societal levels
The OTTER project communication is centred on informing and connecting with all actors involved in the science education field to enable societal engagement at both stakeholder and citizen levels. We launched the project's website, had 206 social media posts, 3 OTTER newsletters issues, 1 appearance at a partner’s newsletter, and 16 publications (blog & news) in OTTER’s website.