With colleagues from more than 65 countries converging in the historic region of Cappadocia, Turkey, the ESERA 2023 conference beautifully embodied its theme, Connecting Science Education with Cultural Heritage. The harmonious blend of diverse perspectives and cultural backgrounds underscored the paramount importance of mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation in science education within our interconnected world today. As the conference unfolded, it became abundantly clear that ESERA 2023 was not merely a gathering of researchers, but a celebration of shared experiences, collaboration, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence in science education.
Among the many enriching experiences at the conference, one standout was the opportunity to showcase our posters in the section about education outside the classroom and engage with fellow researchers. The OTTER consortium seized this chance to present two ongoing initiatives, which are pivotal in advancing research within the OTTER project. The discussions and exchanges that transpired during this session were enlightening and collaborative, cultivating an atmosphere conducive to sharing knowledge and ideas.
OTTER colleagues from The University of Groningen (Dr. Nathália Helena Azevedo) introduced a poster called “Out-of-Classroom Science Education in Europe: A Mapping Study of Practices and Paths to Accreditation” which presents the results of a mapping study aimed at contributing to the understanding of how EOC is structured in various countries in Europe to assess gaps and opportunities to further the discussion about introducing an EOC accreditation framework. Representatives from the University of Limerick (Dr. Deirdre O’Neill) presented a poster called “Bringing Education Outside the Classroom; Benefits, Challenges and Pathways Forward”. This study presents findings from a systematic literature review exploring Education Outside of the Classroom (EOC) practices. Findings from the study suggest that education outside the classroom can, in fact, help to connect science education to cultural heritage by engaging students to learn in, forests, beaches, mountains, museums, libraries and many more EOC sites.
All in all, it was a truly exciting event that brought together so many people looking to make the world a better place via science education - and we were thrilled to be a part of it.