How to conduct inspiring: webinars for STEM classes in secondary schools: experiences from EDU-ARCTIC program on the arctic and polar research
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Webinars for schools are an innovative tool, which helps to establish strong links between the research and education communities by connecting schools to scientists working in various places in the world. Webinars conducted by researchers allow to inspire pupils to engage in the learning process and to better understand the role of scientific research in the modern world, scientific messages and scientific language. They help to increase their knowledge about nature, geography, natural resources, history, social sciences, and political sciences and to raise awareness about environmental issues and climate change. They may also encourage young people to choose STEM careers, so crucial for the development of knowledge-based societies. One of the projects using webinars to strengthen science education curricula across Europe is EDUARCTIC. EDU-ARCTIC is an EU-funded project focused on using Arctic research as a vehicle to encourage pupils aged 13 to 20 to pursue further education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), setting them on a path to careers in one of these sectors, or even to become a scientist. Pupils participating in the project will have a unique possibility to get to know what scientific careers are like and to learn more about different research disciplines while learning how to apply the scientific method and also to learn crucial problem-solving skills. The EDU-ARCTIC project uses a mix of different interactive, innovative tools to bring a fresh approach to teaching STEM subjects. In the paper, various aspects of conducting webinars are presented. The author gave explanation, why the Arctic and polar research may be used as interesting and engaging topic for webinars for schools. Some advantages of this method were presented, but also potential barriers and problems, which may occur while proposing and conducting webinars, were discussed. The results of requirement analysis survey conducted among STEM teachers from secondary schools were presented. In the discussion various initiatives (EDUSCIENCE, ERIS, Scientix) were also indicated as a useful source of experience. The paper ends with a set of recommendations concerning preparatory of webinars, conducting a webinar and some technical aspects.