The living lab is a fresh approach that lets students use outdoor spaces for research and demonstration projects, independently driven projects and new contexts for research and sustainability. It has the potential to change the education process, bringing in engagement, inspiration and a holistic attitude. For this reason, the EU-funded SALL project aims to introduce the living labs methodology in schools as a novel technique for the development of open schooling activities linked to science learning. The project engages in dialogue school communities, research institutions, science museums and centres and spaces of open-learning; together they will construct the living labs schooling methodology. The new approach will be implemented and evaluated in the real-life system, demonstrating its ability to radically change the scene for science education programmes in European schools.
SALL proposes the living lab methodology as a new technique of unique value and possibilities for the development of open schooling activities linked to science learning. The project positions the technique of living labs as a new, powerful element of the impactful OSOS framework for open schooling, and demonstrates this through the use of the food system theme, due to its strong links to science education, current challenges, as well as ambitious European policy making.
SALL brings together school communities, including teachers, students and their families, research institutions, science museums and centres, spaces of informal learning and open innovation such as existing living labs, as well as policy makers, and engages them in intensive dialogue, mutual learning and exchange, so as to:
a) co-construct the proposed living-lab-based open schooling methodology, by building on existing knowledge and best practices as well as on the power of synergy in the stakeholder community of contemporary science education
b) closely study living-lab-based open schooling practices and their impact, through implementation and evaluation in real-life conditions in school communities in different European countries; and
c) prepare the ground for sustainable living-lab-based open schooling activities in Europe’s schools after the end of the project, through strong community-building, networking, dissemination, as well as policy-oriented interventions.
In this way, SALL proposes a concrete new way for schools across Europe to approach their science education programmes, in order to make STEM teaching more relevant, systemic and inclusive for their students, collaborating with their local communities and research centres, and with the active support and involvement of science centres and museums in this process.