The zdi-BarCamp 2021 - future visions, digitality and good STEM work for girls

At the end of August, more than 60 representatives from the zdi community met in the digital space for the 4th zdi BarCamp. Discussing, exchanging ideas, networking and learning from each other - the coming together of the zdi community is more important than ever in the current pandemic. This time there was a new format with CreateMINT, which was based on a hackathon.

The zdi BarCamp is now an integral part of the zdi community. Once a year, the employees of the zdi networks and zdi student laboratories, the zdi state office and representatives from the Ministry of Culture and Science NRW come together to address the topic of STEM education in NRW. At the beginning of this year's BarCamp, the new MINT network point in Germany, MINTnetworked for short, is presented. MINTvernetzt is the nationwide service and contact point for all MINT actors who are supported by networking spaces, transfer offers and innovation impulses in making innovative and sustainable MINT educational offers. MINTvernetzt works hand in hand with regional and national networks, including zdi.NRW. The MINTvernetzt platform, which is currently under construction, will be the ideal complement to the zdi community platform. One focus of MINTvernetzt is on addressing even broader and more diverse target groups, including girls and young women in particular. Addressing female MINT young talents should also concern the zdi community in the Create MINT sessions that take place after the presentation.

Create STEM: zdi community advances STEM education

In the morning, the zdi BarCamp was characterized by the CreateMINT sessions, in which small and randomly selected groups could work together on specific issues that advance MINT and the zdi landscape. A wide variety of topics were discussed, for example the possibility of training volunteers, specifically addressing girls and young women or MINT offers of the future. The zdi community is particularly concerned with the topic of girls and STEM.

Magdalena Hein moderated the 4th zdi BarCamp

Half of the CreateMINT sessions took place on the subject area, in which the participants intensively exchanged ideas, discussed and worked out solutions as to how their respective offers could inspire more girls and young women for the MINT field in the long term. Following the zdi-BarCamp, the exchange of the zdi community will be shifted to the MINT community NRW. Many of the individual sessions have formed groups in order to be able to continue working on the CreateMINT topics afterwards.

The Bar Camp sessions: Digital offers, funding opportunities and much more

A BarCamp is an event format in which no fixed topics are specified in advance, but the participants themselves decide what they want to exchange ideas about. The BarCamp sessions in the afternoon were determined by the zdi networkers themselves. Very practical topics were discussed, such as specific funding programs or the possibility of setting up a zdi school laboratory completely digitally. There was also exciting input from the first and so far only digital zdi school laboratory, the YouthIndeLab. The central role of social challenges for STEM education, such as sustainability or digitization, also became clear in the discussions. For example, the session on the topic was in demand education for Sustainable Development, in Claus Trimborn, country coordinator at the Ministry of Schools and Education, explained how Education for Sustainable Development can be applied in non-curricular STEM education.

PStS Klaus Kaiser in the big zdi summer interview

In a pre-recorded summer interview, Klaus Kaiser, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science, together with Magdalena Hein, the zdi project manager, has to take a look at the past year and into the future. This was broadcast for the first time at the zdi-BarCamp. Both discussed intensively the past year in the corona pandemic, the special features of zdi, the challenges in girls' STEM work and the prospects for the future of STEM funding.


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Conclusion: Close exchange of the zdi community on urgent topics

The fourth zdi-BarCamp showed once again how important it is to exchange ideas within the community. And how much fun it is to work together on concepts, develop ideas further and share insights. Because all 47 zdi networks and the more than 70 zdi student laboratories have built up a wealth of knowledge over the past 15 years that is unique in Europe. The exchange of experience within the zdi community is one reason why extracurricular STEM education is so successful in NRW. And zdi.NRW serves as a blueprint for many initiatives. 

The zdi regional office would like to thank all participants for the nice day and the exciting input. We look forward to the next zdi-BarCamp with you, then hopefully together again on site!

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