The Swedish gifted doctoral programme and The Nordic Network for Gifted Education

The Swedish gifted doctoral programme and The Nordic Network for Gifted Education

The Swedish gifted doctoral programme and The Nordic Network for Gifted Education

Symposium248Elisabet Mellroth, City of Karlstad, Karlstad University, Sweden; Helen Brink, Karlstad University, Sweden; Jóhann Örn Sigurjónsson, University of Iceland, Iceland

MississippiSat 09:00 - 10:30


This symposium aims to spread knowledge from two relatively new initiatives within gifted education from the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Island, Norway and Sweden. A Swedish doctoral programme on gifted education that started in the end of 2021 that aims to develop knowledge on gifted education related to the Swedish education system. Ten doctoral students will focus their research on education of gifted students in Swedish pre-school, primary and secondary school. The doctoral students will cover a wide range of areas and subjects such as for example language, sports, digital competence, dyslexia, and mental health in pupils. Methodologically there will be both quantitative and qualitative studies. The doctoral students will build capacity for gifted students needs in the Swedish education system. Professor Valerie Margrain at Karlstad University lead the doctoral programme in collaboration with Associated professor Johanna Lundqvist at Mälardalen University and Professor Mara Westling Allodi at Stockholm University, the program is founded by the Swedish Research Council. In this symposium we get the opportunity to listen and discuss the research plans of one of the doctoral students.In parallel with the development of the doctoral program, researchers in the Nordic countries found a need to create a Nordic network. The Nordic countries have similar education system and in many ways similar culture and traditions, in addition all Nordic countries are relatively small countries which makes collaboration extra important. The aim with the Nordic Network for Gifted Education (NNGE) is to connect and support Nordic researchers in the field of gifted education. In addition, the network aims to find and nurture research on gifted education that spans over some or all of the Nordic countries. An important part will for example be to apply for funding. We expect the researchers in the network to develop important research on gifted education that fits into the inclusive school systems in the Nordic countries. An important goal is that the results will help to improve practice to better embrace gifted pupils learning needs. Since this network is relatively new, cross-country projects are still not started, but sharing Nordic research in the network is another important aim. In this symposium two separate research projects are presented one ongoing Swedish project in mathematics at upper secondary and one that through a literature review presents current opportunities and possible future directions for gifted and talented students in Iceland.

Presentation 1: Digital design tools in gifted students technology education

Author: Helen Brink, Karlstad University
It is common to teach about design and product development using digital design tools when teaching technology in lower secondary school in Sweden, and all students are supposed to develop digital competence. Digital design tools enable differentiated teaching and it is important to learn more about this, especially regarding gifted students.The aim of this study is to develop knowledge about teaching design and product development to gifted students, and to explore if and how digital design tools can stimulate and challenge these students. The study also aims to identify important features regarding gifted students’ technology education, of use for both teachers and teacher educators.The study is planned as a design study where researcher and teachers together develop and analyze the teaching. It is expected that the result of the study can be used to guide teachers in technology to better include their gifted students in learning, the results are also expected to increase the knowledge base of differentiated teaching in technology in inclusive settings.

Presentation 2: Gifted education in Iceland: Current state and future directions
Author: Jóhann Örn Sigurjónsson, University of Iceland
Iceland follows a Nordic model of education: a school for all with inclusive education policies. The national curriculum states a right to “appropriate study opportunities” and “more demanding and meaningful study” for gifted and talented students. This presentation aims to describe current opportunities for gifted and talented students and possible future directions for policy and practice through a review of literature and documents. The Icelandic national curriculum both permits acceleration, a common offer to gifted and talented students’ needs, and encourages “deepening of knowledge”, e.g., through electives based on interest. The proportion of Icelandic students at the highest levels in PISA is low. Systematic support for teachers and their practice of deepening remains unclear. De-facto extracurricular opportunities exist for gifted and talented students in secondary school, mostly mathematics-specific. Currently, no specific extracurricular opportunities exist for gifted and talented students under the age of 12. A wide space for innovation and development is evident in offering richer opportunities for gifted and talented students. An argument is made that future directions for gifted education policy and practice in Iceland may involve further international research collaboration and to establish systematic support for teachers, e.g., through professional development or specialization programs.

Presentation 3: Online mathematical challenges for gifted upper secondary students
Authors: Elisabet Mellroth1,2 and Attila Szabo3,41 Karlstad University, 2 City of Karlstad, 3 Stockholm University 4 City of Stockholm
Empirical studies on gifted students are unusual especially in the Swedish educational context. In Sweden, teachers are obliged to offer all students learning opportunities and expected to educate and stimulate also these students in regular, mixed-ability classrooms. This study aims to, from a student perspective, investigate benefits and disadvantages of an online initiative meant to support mathematically talented upper secondary student. It was performed in an upper-secondary school with ca 900 students at programs intensive in mathematics. A challenging task is placed in students’ individual online platform, in which the student also places his/her solutions. Students are encouraged to contact the teacher through a chat function when they have a solution or if they need help. Afterwards, the teacher give feedback on their solutions, as well as proposing them new, challenging tasks, and so on. To investigate the student’s perception of this way of getting challenges, the study consists of a survey-based investigation. Preliminary results will be presented at the symposium. This study is also presented as a poster at the 12th international group for mathematical creativity and giftedness conference in September 2022.

Connecting Research & Practice in Meaningful Ways
_RESEARCHERS, Doctoral programme, Nordic countries, Research network
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