Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) STEM Education workshops.

The School of Education (SoE) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have strengthened our joint commitment to the development of teachers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by jointly delivering STEM Education projects under the British Council Going Global exploratory grant and International Partnership Development Funding 2021 and 2022 . Dr Gabriella Rodolico, UoG SoE, and Dr Neeraja Dashaputre IISER Pune  led several colleagues from both institutions, 3rd sector professionals and teacher students as well as NQTs through  Collaborative Online International Learning  (COIL) STEM Education workshops.

The collaboration generated outcomes that went far beyond expectations.

Dr Gabriella Rodolico

As coordinator of these projects, I would suggest team leaders harness the social capital and sense of community that a multi-stakeholder project creates. In education itself, such an approach also models that authentic learning results not from transmissive pedagogy but via the dialogic facilitation of learning.

The best feedback is provided by Mrs Deborah Simpson  SoE PGDE Primary 2019-20 Alumna, who not only took part to the several stages of all STEM Education projects but also became co-author and active collaborator on several conferences, book chapters and SoTL articles.

Mr Deborah Simpson

Over the last 3 years during and after completing my PGDE Primary  programme at SoE UoG, I have worked in professional partnership on an equity basis with Gabriella, on several Sustainability STEM projects in Scotland and India within both mainstream primary school and ASN school settings. By taking part in these projects, I have gained not only a wealth of knowledge and understanding in teaching STEM subjects through a variety of methods, including enquiry-based learning, problem and project-based learning, but I have also gained confidence in planning and delivering STEM lessons within every level of primary school. Actively taking part in Gabriella’s projects,  also enhanced my professional development at  academic level, whereby I was asked to co-author 2 book chapters and several papers on collaborative learning both in HE as well as COIL projects.

The COIL  STEM Education projects were conducted through a series of workshops and online communications via Zoom, What’s App, Google Classroom and TEAMS. It had a positive impact on my life-long learning. In particular, I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone by having to further develop my digital skills in a very short time in order to be effective contributor to the online format of the international workshops. Due to this, now my digital and communication skills within my everyday classroom setting are at such a high standard that not only I can fulfil my duty to my pupils, planning for lessons based on the  21st century skills such as communication and digital literacy, but  I am also supporting my colleagues on a current collaborative professional enquiry within my school.

The success of this international partnership facilitated a trip to IISER Pune India in June 2022 that Gabriella invited me to attend.  The trip aimed to visit IISER Pune and contribute to the IRiSE teacher training programme with a Virtual Reality  workshop and a knowledge exchange on teachers’ reasoning and reflective practice. I had a great opportunity to further develop my confidence and skills in engaging in professional conversations with other teaching in a teacher training programme setting, which I had never done before. I gave an active contribution to the trip by talking at the first day of the IRiSE programme where I explained the connection between the theory taught at university level on the importance of Reflective Teaching Practices and the reality of putting it into practice in everyday teaching life. 

My gain from the Indian teachers, tutors and IISER Pune is a wealth of incredibly useful and well thought teaching resources that they developed and uploaded on their website. I can certainly assert that this will be a great benefit for my own teaching practice here in Scotland. I am particularly impressed by their ability to use everyday objects to create experiments or to teach Scientific Concepts on a small budget, and the use of Yoga/Mindfulness techniques in relation to health and wellbeing matters which I will certainly propose to my managers to compliment the nurture ethos throughout my school.

Therefore, it is safe to say that I have benefitted hugely from each of these projects and in particular from the trip to IISER Pune, India.  I feel empowered to start my teaching career and plan for further professional development. Gabriella and the Indian colleagues as well as the international environment I had the chance to explore, helped me to understand my own capabilities and the type of teacher I wish to be. None of this would have been possible if I had not been approached by Gabriella to work with her on an equity basis, which I am very glad and honoured to have agreed to and continue to do so.

It is with certainty that I can strongly say that all the opportunities I was offered at UoG, SoE from PGDE primary courses to Gabriella’s projects and the final trip, gave me the chance to develop those skills and confidence that enhanced my employability in within 3 years from graduation with now a permanent, full-time job as primary school teacher.  

  • University of Glasgow Connect


Mrs Deborah Simposon SoE Alumna as Co- authors publication

  • Rodolico, G ., Simpson D., and Barrett, G. Tutors, students, and other stakeholders at the roundtable: A matter of equal partnership. In Abegglen S., Burn T., and Sinfield S., Collaboration in Higher Education In press (May 2023)
  • Rodolico, G. and Simpson, D. (2021) Overcoming obstacles when teaching STEM during the COVID-19 pandemic a collaborative approach. In: Tasler, N., O'Brien, R. and Spiers, A. (eds.) Being creative in the face of adversity - Annual creativeHE collection 2021. Creativity for Learning in Higher Education community (#creativeHE), pp. 72-75.

First published: 21 September 2022

<< News