With the end of the second JOBSTEM project year, we can sum up some of the activities we've engaged in during this time period. The second full team meeting was held in the beginning of the year, during which the activities of last year were discussed in the context of the main research aims and the agreed-upon plan of the project, as well as the schedule for the upcoming year being agreed upon. The experiences and recommendations stemming from the previous year were taken into account, and a new, updated testing schedule was made to address the issues encountered in the first research wave, and the organization of testing in the field. In the second research wave, we tested students from the 5th, 6th and 7th grades, in the schools involved with the project. Testing was organized in two parts in the beginning of 2017, and the collected data were added to the project database soon after. Following this, longitudinal data analysis began based on the data from the first two waves of testing.
The second year also marked the end of the STEM intervention program for the students of the schools from the experimental condition. The intervention was organized in two parts. The first part consisted of workshops conceived by the collaborators from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (University of Zagreb) for the purposes of the project, and included the areas of robotics, programming, computer science and electronics. The workshops were based on a series of guided, interactive exercises in which students worked to solve the given tasks in teams. In the second part, students visited three research institutions dealing with STEM domains: the fifth graders visited the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, the sixth graders visited the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, and the seventh graders visited the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb. Focus groups were held with the students who had attended the intervention-related activities to collect qualitative data for the evaluation of the process and content of the STEM intervention and further our understanding of its outcomes.
Apart from the above, the members of the JOBSTEM team attended several workshops organized by international institutions during which they acquired valuable methodological insights in the domain of educational research. We have also prepared five new research papers and presented the results of the project at several international and Croatian conferences, with the addition of being visible in many press outlets. Finally, many valuabale collaborations were established, of great importance for the visibility of the project, as well as potential research collaboration. Among those, the collaboration with dr. Louise Archer, the leader of the ten-years-long ASPIRES project at the University College London, which focuses on the question of the development of STEM aspirations and career choice, can be singled out. Through all of the aforementioned activities, the goals set for the second project year have been met.