Write a Science Opera (WASO) is a creative professional development approach to inquiry-based music and science education in which pupils of different ages, supported by teachers, opera artists and scientists, are the creators of an educational performance. WASO is an application of the widespread Write an Opera method, which has been successfully implemented in many countries during the past three decades. WASO integrates science education into the original method by involving scientists who lead an inquiry-based creative process demonstrating common impulses shared by science and the arts. The WASO concept was developed at Stord/Haugesund University College (Norway), based on researchers’ meetings with RESEO as well as the Royal Opera House (London)’s Education department.
The first WASO projects, realized by RESEO member Bergen National Opera, received much positive media and policy-maker attention.
Context and Framework: WASO emerges at a time when the following science and creative education trends hold true: The European Union is facing challenges recruiting students to Science/Technology/Engineering/Math (STEM) careers. At the same time, there is European determination to explore ways in which creativity may be supported, as put forth in the European Ambassadors’ Manifesto of the European Year on Innovation and Creativity (2009), underlying the need for integration of science education, creativity and culture and the arts. These tendencies are strengthened by further European and American policy documents regarding future research in the field. Accordingly, WASO presents the following qualities:
· Fusing inquiry-based arts, science, and education in creative ways, thus providing an innovative look at opportunities of transversal activity.
· Providing potential and framework for original ways of questioning and knowledge creation in the classroom.
Future development: Five WASO projects have so far been realized in Norwegian schools (6th grade to high school), in collaboration with the Universities of Stavanger and Bergen, Bergen National Opera, Stord Haugesund University College, Kværner Stord and the VilVite Science Center. These projects’ scientific themes have included, among others, the Northern Lights, Energy, Marine Life, Gravity and more.
In the framework of the EU Comenius Multilateral project CREAT-IT, seminars for teachers as well as complete WASO projects will be realized in Norway as well as Greece, Belgium, UK, Serbia and Italy.
The first WASO training course for teachers, scientists, artists and others will take place at Stord, Norway in August, 2014.
Support: WASO was developed during the CREAT-IT project (Creative Approaches to Inquiry Based Science Teaching) with financial support by the Norwegian Research Council, Stord Haugesund University College, the Universities of Stavanger and Bergen, UH nettVest and Music West. A WASO Research Group has been established at Stord Haugesund University College, led by Prof. Espeland and Associate Prof. Ben-Horin. Its goals are to further support WASO projects while researching and describing its activities and potentials within creative education.
WASO for you? For further information about WASO or how to realize a WASO project in your country/school/university, please contact Oded Ben-Horin at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information regarding WASO in Asian countries, please contact Ms. Thanh Dao: email@example.com