Using a blended-learning approach to support parent education in math and science
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At a time when mathematics and science provide essential knowledge tools and the foundations for lifelong learning skills, cross-national studies of student achievement indicate lack of mathematical and scientific competence for a considerable proportion of the student population across Europe. Acknowledging the central role of parents in children's learning, the EU-funded project SMASH (Success in MAth and Science at Home) aims to raise the educational standards of European youth in mathematics and science by cultivating underlying home cultures as springboards for learning. The project consortium is currently developing, and will then pilot test and deliver an innovative intercultural parent-trainer training course and related resources for professionals involved in parent education initiatives. Through the adoption of a blended learning approach that combines elearning with physical meetings, the course will equip these professionals with current knowledge, techniques, and implementation tools for the provision of high-quality, culturally differentiated parent training in mathematics and science education. Individuals completing the course will be trained to offer programs designed to educate parents of elementary and middle school children (ages 6-15) in how to best support their child's mathematics and science learning at home using pedagogically sound strategies and technologies. Parents unable to attend parent-training sessions could still study independently using the project knowledge base, which will provide open access to all of the project's outputs and resources. This, in turn, will contribute towards improved parental participation in children's learning. Parents will be empowered to understand and implement reform, providing a home environment that enhances children's scientific development and prepares them to meet the challenges of the digital age.