Today´s generation of students is widely characterised as ‘Digital Learners’ (Generation Y and Z). Most of them use digital devices, internet applications and/or social media on a daily basis, mostly for communication and entertainment.

When the traditional “talk and chalk” teaching approach fails with these students, we have to take up the challenge to offer teaching methods resonating with their way of learning.

Furthermore, the digital competence has been acknowledged as one of the eight key competences for a life long learning by the European Union. The digital competence can be broadly defined as the confident, critical and creative use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) to achieve goals related to work, employability, learning, leisure, inclusion and/or participation in society. It is practically a transversal key competence which, as such, enables acquiring other competencies (e.g. maths, science, learning to learn).

According to the comparative research executed in the MASS project teachers find significant ‘added value’ in using digital tools compared to conventional tools. A survey conducted within the MASS-project showed that the majority of the respondents  state that using digital tools in science classes:

  1. Is more attractive for students.
  2. Is more effective for the learning process.
  3. Is easier for students because they are familiar with these tools.
  4. Helps a self paced learning.          
  5. Is time saving.
  6. Provides the possibility to evaluate the students and the learning process.


Every child is gifted with inborn creativity and curiosity, but at traditional school, as critics (e.g. Sir Ken Robinson) of the traditional education system points out, instead of developing this potential, is “educated out of it”. If an individual has a natural and meaningful experience with science in a very young age, it is more likely they will respond positively to the complicated learning challenges later on. In this ‘curiosity golden age’, as Rocard et al. call it (Science Education NOW, 2007), the inquiry-based science education (IBSE) proves to be a very effective method. Pupils ask questions in a spontaneous manner, enthusiastically investigate and make observations of the world they live in (= the core of IBSE methods). Young beginners in learning science should not be overexposed to the very strict and systematic approach of the “adult” science. As any routine and highly theoretical approach is exactly the opposite of the exciting moments that every child should have been given a chance to experience during the science lessons. This line of argumentation is supported by the findings of Osborne and Dillon (2008). They recommend that “children’s early encounters with science before the age of 14 should be as stimulating and engaging as possible”.

According to the results from IBSE research synthesis for the years 1984-2002 (Minner et al., 2009) “having students actively think about and participate in the investigation process increases their science conceptual learning”. Yet, there is still doubt on how effectively the prioritized and highly recommended inquiry method is used by teachers in the classrooms. There is evidence that teachers’ training in inquiry method is not as successful as we may expect and wish (Science Education in Europe, 2011). Still, there are major obstacles that restrict an effective transfer of inquiry approach to students.

The research doing by working groups will gather examples on how instruction based on inquiry method is applied in teaching science. Particularly, it will concentrate on the key aspects that influence student´s motivation to investigate and explore the environment and get a long-term positive attitude to this way of learning.

Science is broadly perceived as the domain of the talented. There is no dispute on this view when we are talking about the professional careers. However, if we look at the science as a setting where we learn important lessons about real world, then we are committed to deliver learning through science to every child. Osborne and Dillon (2008) remind the fact that “the primary goal of science education cannot be simply to produce the next generation of scientists”. Since there is no specific policy to support low achievers in science in European countries (Science Education in Europe, 2011), yet there is an EU Education and Training 2020 Benchmark aiming to decrease the percentage of low achievers in science to maximum of 15% as EU average, we want to focus on the best practices in this field (most probably from the range of hands-on, context based, collaborative or experiential learning).

Generally, the low-achievement students are the less motivated. Therefore, the third pillar of the project is dedicated to the factors that proved to be critical to low achievers motivation to learn science.
Working groups will research into an ordinary classroom where we can find low achievers in science. The aim is to identify the barriers that restrict these students from building a positive attitude to learning science or to science topics as such. The outcome of this working groups will be positive examples of engaging low achievers and making science lessons meaningful for them as well.