Hungary has a strong history in mathematical education. With the GEOMATECH project, it has also addressed today’s urgent challenge to develop our future STEM technologists and engineers using powerful tools such as GeoGebra.
This is a challenge for ALL of Europe and I am therefore very proud and determined to work with others in Hungary and internationally to develop new approaches which must be pedagogically sound and also provide safe and secure (in reality and perception) on-line solutions including remote access for both mainstream schools/students and disadvantaged students for example with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and expelled or otherwise excluded students such as in remote communities.
Tony Houghton is Educational Development Director at CCITE (Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education) and GeoMatech Visiting Professor BKF Budapest College of Communications and Business. He is also Director at TOMARTO Ltd.
He is a member of the University of Cambridge, Magdalene College with a degree in Psychology and a doctorate in Communications Engineering from University College, London, a year of which was undertaken with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT).
He leads educational programmes bringing together business, university, non- profits and schools engaging both local and/or global communities to foster equality of opportunity for all. His skills include Programme Design, Development and Delivery, Event Facilitation, Skills Development, On-line Collaboration and Evaluation. The common focus to all of his projects is Perception (individual self-esteem, aspirations and respect for self and others), People Skills (communication and collaboration, presentation, teamworking and leadership).
Previously, his Project Management skills include the £15m development and delivery of Customer Service Systems for eight European country joint ventures between BT and national partners. He was also Leader of a 12-person research and development team working on eSCFE: Expert System for Customer Facing Environments with implementation in BT Customer Service Centres and Call Centres. He has worked with Microsoft, CISCO, Pepsico, DHL, Essex County Council, Coventry University, Specialist Schools Academy Trust, Eurescom, IET, STEMNET, Nationwide, Chunghwa Telecom and Sony in Singapore.
He has presented at business, technical, educational and academic conferences in Europe, Asia and the US (many). His academic work has been published and presented in Europe, Asia and US (including IEEE, American Association for Artificial Intelligence, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Ergonomics Association).WORKING TOGETHER FOR DEVELOPMENT OF XXI CENTURY STEM EDUCATION IN HUNGARY
The importance of STEM-related skills, knowledge and training in Europe and Hungary
A workforce with an inadequate skillset and knowledge in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is expected to become one of the main hurdles of economic development all over Europe. The shortage of workers that are properly trained in technical and IT-related skills has also been a serious problem in Hungary for years. Many economic and social organizations have recognized this throughout the continent, and are taking firm steps for natural science topics to gain a better foothold in education, as well as to make it more attractive for students to study these subjects and to choose a career path related to engineering and natural science.
Piquing students’ interest and orienting them towards these vocations has to start as early as elementary school, so that children are allowed a chance to grow fond of mathematics and natural science subjects in their most receptive age, and thus end up being more motivated and successful in studying these subjects later in their lives. It is also commonly understood that, apart from the use of digital and interactive tools that today’s young students are already close to, it is important to improve students’ relationship towards subjects like mathematics, natural science, technology and computing: it is crucial to disperse the fears and preconceptions related to these areas that are still prevalent. Together, these advances can help increase the appeal of a career that is built on top of these subjects, such as the life path of an engineer or an IT professional.
Undoubtedly, the active engagement of decision-makers, educational institutions, educators and parents is key in reaching these outcomes. GEOMATECH, that was implemented in Hungary between 2013 and 2015 as a national, priority project with a focus on the development of public education, clearly proved that it is possible to teach all ages, including the youngest generation, in a fun manner with the aid of digital tools.
In addition to the above-mentioned goals, the Association for Hungarian Digital Education (Magyar Digitális Oktatásért Egyesület) also set out the maintenance and improvement of the GEOMATECH project’s outcomes as its mission. Representing practicing educators, school principals, education researchers, parents and the employment side of the private sector, the Association’s committed founders set out the long-term objective of tightly cooperating in order to proliferate the use of the newest digital educational technologies in Hungary in the future, in as many places as possible, in all levels of education.
We intend to achieve our mission by pursuing the following actions:
- Demonstrating up-to-date educational tools and providing methodological guidance to public education institutions in order to motivate them to use fun, interactive educational content based on modern technology, which are capable of fostering a positive attitude in students towards STEM subjects and increasing educational effectiveness.
- Popularizing various STEM occupations and possible career paths, portraying positive examples to motivate young students to choose these vocations.
- Organizing STEM events outside of school hours, contributing to the presentation of the latest advances of technological development, and using experiments and physically existing installations to illustrate that participation in the development of the most modern technologies is a possibility for everyone.
- Establishing and maintaining strong professional relationships with governmental, social and economic organizations that facilitate the achievement of the Association’s objectives and take part in ensuring and developing the operating conditions of the Association; as such, the Association participates in the preparation and implementation of national public educational programs that aim to develop STEM education.
- Continuing to keep up and improve the GEOMATECH digital educational system (tananyag.geomatech.hu).
- Establishing a cooperative network of schools and educators committed to modern STEM education.
- Popularizing modern technologies and methodologies that aid STEM education and inspire students to study these fields. As part of this, we search for and identify exemplary organizations who have an interest in having their activities and applied technologies popularized for students in public education.
- Initiating and organizing cooperative relationships for the benefit of public education between organizations related to reforming STEM education (public educational institutions, universities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, professional and economical organizations, etc.).
- Carrying out research to find technologies and methodologies that support effective STEM education, and measuring the prospect of their integration into public education and their educational effectiveness, publicizing the research outcomes, and making recommendations to public educational bodies to further the improvement of STEM education.
- Carrying out educational and consultancy activities to help public education institutions and teachers to integrate digital educational methodologies into everyday teaching and to mentor gifted students.
The Association wishes to involve all actors of education (students, educators, parents and institutions) in reaching their goals.
• 905 teachers of 417 Hungarian public schools from 201 cities representing more than 120.000 students
• 58 experts and researchers of digital Education
• 71 public schools/school masters