IDENTITIES: Integrate Disciplines to Elaborate Novel Teaching approaches to InTerdisciplinarity and Innovate pre-service teacher Education for STEM challenges








Unibo structure involved: Department of Physics and Astronomy - DIFA, Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies - FICLIT, Department of Computer Science and Engineering – DISI

Scientific manager: Olivia Levrini
Unibo Team: Olivia Levrini, Giulia Tasquier, Eleonora Barelli, Sara Satanassi, Matteo Viale, Simone Martini, Michael Lodi, Marco Sbaraglia
Project Web page:
Erasmus+ Action type: Strategic Partnerships for higher education
Project reference: 2019-1-IT02-KA203-063184
Start Date: 1 September 2019
End Date: 31 August 2022
Budget: Total € 381,365 - UNIBO € 111,970


The contemporary societal challenges (e.g. climate change, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, big data) that the young generation has to deal with require the acquisition of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills that current teaching of science and mathematics, organized in disciplines, is not able to develop.

The main goal of the project is to build innovative and transferable teaching modules and courses to be used in contexts of pre-service teacher education (e.g. curricula in Physics Education, Mathematics Education or Computer Science Education within Master’s degree courses). The central theme of the modules is interdisciplinarity in STEM fields, with a focus on the links and interweaving between physics, mathematics and computer science. Specifically, the modules will be constructed to provide prospective teachers with professional skills to be used in the design and implementation of teaching activities for upper secondary school (students aged 15-19).

The project foresees the implementation of the modules in two international summer schools with university students from the 5 different university partners. Summer schools will also be the contexts for the training of a dozen university professors.

At the end of the project, the modules will be made available online so that they can be used entirely or partially in different European contexts; Open Educational Resources will be designed so that the students can also use them independently.

Seven multiplier events (4 national and 3 international), supported by an intensive activity of dissemination, will lead the project to involve and reach about 1000 prospective teachers, about 600 teacher educators, 1000 researchers in physics, science, mathematics, computer science and STEM education, 100 policy makers, 500 secondary school teachers.

The IDENTITIES key aspects of innovation concern:

a) the focus on two types of interdisciplinary topics: a) advanced STEM topics, intrinsically interdisciplinary (e.g. climate change, artificial intelligence, quantum applications) whose teaching requires the elaboration of new materials; b) interdisciplinary curricular topics concerning “border problems” that are currently object of ministerial or school initiatives aimed to make science and mathematics teaching more engaging, relevant and meaningful;

b) the approach to interdisciplinarity, explicitly aimed to overcome two forms of trivialization: interdisciplinarity as a-disciplinarity (comprised only of transversal themes) or interdisciplinarity as an instrumental use of concepts taken from one discipline (e.g. mathematics) to solve a problem formulated in another discipline (e.g. physics). The respect of the epistemological IDENTITIES of the individual disciplines and the search for an emergent “epistemology of interdisciplinarity” are the basic principles for the design of modules;

c) the choice to analyse interdisciplinarity also through the lens of linguistics. Grappling with interdisciplinarity requires the development of sophisticated linguistic skills to compare languages of different communities and recognise a common discourse emerging from them. Because of these two lenses, the local teams involve very different types of expertise, including experts in linguistics and philosophy of science;

d) a solid research approach in the development of modules, that will guarantee their reliability and transferability. An Advisory Board comprised of outstanding researchers in mathematics, physics and computer science education will check the design and test.

The partnership is formed by five Universities from 4 different countries, who will strictly collaborate in order to realize five Intellectual Outputs:

-        Teaching modules on emergent interdisciplinarity in advanced STEM topics (responsibility: University of Bologna);

-        Teaching modules on curricular interdisciplinary topics (responsibility: University of Montpellier);

-        Guidelines to design and implement modules on curricular interdisciplinarity and STEM emerging interdisciplinarity in pre-service teacher education (responsibility: University of Barcelona);

-        Open Education Resources for Blended modules and MOOCs (responsibility: University of Parma);

-        Recommendations for policy makers to promote interdisciplinarity and innovate prospective teacher education for STEM challenges (responsibility: University of Bologna);

We expect that the IDENTITIES results will impact at local, national and European level by: improving teacher education and teaching at secondary school level; boosting the interest on interdisciplinarity within the research in STEM education; contributing to fill the gap between school and society by promoting a smart, inclusive and sustainable growth of the young.