Dr. Sofoklis Sotiriou
Head of R&D Department, Ellinogermaniki Agogi
Sofoklis Sotiriou main research field is the design, application, and evaluation of virtual and digital media environments that could bridge the gap between formal and informal science learning. He has coordinated a long series of EU joint research and technology funded projects. The R&D Department of Ellinogermaniki Agogi has coordinated more than 200 EU funded projects the last 20 years. He is the Head of Research and Development Department (since 1998) and Director of the Centre for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development of Ellinogermaniki Agogi.
Research and Development Department
The work of the R&D Department which currently employs 14 full time researchers focuses on the following areas, relevant to this proposal:
- Building, monitoring and supporting learning communities of practice at an international level.
- Design of technology enhanced educational and learning activities and the development of innovative teaching methodologies and practices in education.
- Large scale implementation of learning activities in real school environments at national and international level.
- Design and implementation of short- and long-term professional development of teachers including the organization of international summer professional development courses for teachers.
- Development of methodologies and empirical classroom-based research to investigate processes of learning and knowledge acquisition in various subject matter areas.
- Cooperation and collaboration with Universities, research centers, museums and private companies for the development and testing of educational material and software;
- Design of technology-supported learning environments.
Its work in EU projects over the last 20 years has established EA as a leading pioneer in innovative approaches to school education. Since its establishment, the R&D Department has coordinated and supported the participation of EA, either as coordinator or as partner, in more than 200 national and international collaborative research projects and networks (H2020, eContentPlus, ICT-PSP, SiS in FP7 and FP6, IST in FP5 and ICT in FP6, LLP-ICT, Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus+), the majority of which have been concerned with the fields of science and new technologies in education. Overall, EA has a very strong and proven experience in the implementation of open schooling by actively extending the dialogue between scientific and the educational community, enforcing the collaboration between schools and research organizations, centres and museums, and helping young people to acquire better understanding of the role of science and technology in the society.
EA has a very strong vision-generated interest and rich research and development activity in the fields of formal and informal learning with an emphasis on social inclusion, combined with innovative technical solutions, and game-based education, aiming to empower learners and teachers to thrive in the landscape of unprecedented challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. Under this approach, EA has taken up the challenge to embed pedagogical practice that effectively uses ICTs in every classroom to overcome barriers and support inclusion, as well as driving up student academic outcomes across the school. EA has a very strong and proven experience in actively extending the dialogue between scientific and the educational community, enforcing the collaboration between schools and research organizations, centers and museums, and helping young people to acquire better understanding of the role of science in society. Furthermore, the EA team has long experience in implementing large scale projects to school communities, operating a network of more than 5,000 schools at European level (https://portal.opendiscoveryspace.eu/en). EA had a leading role in the Open Discovery Space Policy (ODS) Support initiative, which has developed and tested a self-reflection tool to assess the e-maturity of the schools. The SELFIE tool has been built using the ODS self-reflection tool as the main reference. Currently EA coordinates the large-scale Coordination Action Open Schools for Open Societies (OSOS) (www.openschools.eu) which has developed a new version of the ODS Self-reflection tool that aims to assess the openness of the school environment, that is currently used from about 1,000 schools in different EU countries. At policy level EA is a core partner at the European Education Policy Network which aims to formulate and promote policy recommendations on school innovation and teachers’ professional development for Member States.
Centre for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development
Ellinogermaniki Agogi (EA) is a Certified Centre for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development since 2002 (Center Code: 4 - 626 4230_01, 08/02/2002). The Center includes two labs for Physics, Chemistry and Biology, a computer room (capacity of 30 people), a FabLab (introducing teachers to 3D design), two small amphitiaters (capacity of 50 people) and an observatory that is hosting a robotic 16” RC telescope. Every year, EA offers courses on Technology Enhached Science Education following the specifications and training curriculum outlined by the Ministry of Education. Teachers are trained in the introduction of new technologies in the science class effectively and integrate them seamlessly in the learning process. Teachers are also trained in the integration of inquiry-based approach in their practice. In addition, the Centre also offers numerous international courses designed and carried out in collaboration with EU funded projects on a variety of topics. Some topics are:
- Introduction to cutting-edge pedagogies in the school class (among others: Inquiry Based Learning (IBSE), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Open Schooling approach, Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary learning)
- Effective design of Educational Activities that meet the needs of contemporary schools
- Introduction of contemporary Science in the school class (for example Space Exploration and High Energy Physics).
To facilitate the effective implementation of international training courses (face-to-face as well as online) EA utilises the European School Innovation Academy (ESIA, https://esia.ea.gr/) in which EA has a leading role. ESIA aims to support and promote EU educational policies related to school education and teacher training, offering international training activities and providing guidelines, support and qualifications for training providers to design the most effective Professional Development programs for teachers.
Through its national and international courses, EA is continuously introducing Space Exploration and Astronomy activities to teachers, offering training for their effective implementation and integration in their standard curriculum. Overall, since 2001, EA has carried out numerous workshops (up to 6 hours) and numerous short-term training courses (25-30 hours long) for Greek and international teachers (Table 1).Table 1: Courses of the EA Center for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development
Number of trained teachers
Official Training Programmes on Science Education approved by the Greek Ministry of Education (2002 – 2021)
ESIA International Courses
EA facilities used for Teacher Training Courses