Bulgaria - FACTWorld 10 years old!

The FACT group is ten years old this year!

05th Oct, 2009

We kept it a little bit quiet, mainly because although we would have loved to celebrate and have a big party where everyone of the three thousand plus colleagues in the network all come to Bulgaria to help put this event down in history, though we'd love to do have done that, we just didn't have the resources!

So, what we did is have a small event with a lot of heart and energy. In collaboration with Macmillan in Bulgaria we ran a celebratory workshop to mark the event of the 10th Anniversary of the FACT Group.

As you can see it took place at the Veren Bookshop from 2 to 5 on Oct 2nd. There were a number of presentations from colleagues, Lyubov Dombeva, Stefka Kitanova and myself, and there was a birthday cake too!

Colleagues came from a wide range of educational contexts to celebrate and do a bit of work. The group represented both the state and private sectors, primary, secondary and university courses and from a number of locations around Bulgaria! The agenda for the meeting was to take stock of what we've achieved, discuss the future, and to take a look at the IB programme in Bulgaria and projects between Bulgaria and abroad.
Teachers' house, Plovdiv, home to several FACT events
Anglo-American College, Sofia

The FACT Group started with a group of 30 teachers in 1999 during a teacher training course in Sofia. There were many events along the way, with many milestones.

There were 5 Summer Schools held in Varna with a varied international participation from Romania to China!
Special thanks to Macmillan for their support for this event. We probably couldn't have done it without them. Thanks also for the numerous gifts we were able to offer teachers in a lottery during the event including the Science VPS, the Geography VPS, Uncovering CLIL, the Macmillan Schools' Dictionary and others. Thanks very much!
Dan the man from Macmillan setting up

The work we did was based around what we've already achieved. I presented on the history of the group with the view to identifying what worked and why. We took this list as a focus for discussing what we could do in the future.
Browsing resources during coffee and cake.

There is a lot to say about the factworld group, it's past, present and future. You can download the PPT here if interested and would like to take a look. It's 18mb.
My presentation on FACTWorld

The feedback from discussion on the future of the group was interesting, and actually means that we'll be organizing more meetings as we used to do during the initial phase of the project. More about the outcomes of the meeting below.
Colleagues took things home with them apart from a tummy full of birthday cake!

Even I got a present. When I saw it I thought it would be something which explodes, but thankfully it was a lovely aromatic candle. Thanks colleagues, the candle has brought a new freshness to my office!
Gifts all round.
Colleagues discussing future initiatives
Stefka on projects in Bulgaria and beyond
William Shakespeare Language School, Sofia

The FACT Group met every six weeks or so over the course of 4 years in the beginning. This led to a number of successful initiatives, not least bringing Science Across the World to Bulgaria.

The Science Across the Balkans event in Plovdiv was to forge links with 13 countries around South Eastern Europe (and including the Baltics!).
SAB Group, Plovdiv
Varna summer school, 2

The summer schools led to the writing and publication of two books based on the Science Across the World programme. Both  are available here on the FACTWorld site in the publications section:

Ethical English

Share Your World

The FACT Group was in part successful due to its strong links with educational establishments in Bulgaria and beyond.
Plovdiv schools inspectors' meeting
Entrance to the courtyard venue for the workshop

You would probably miss the entrance to the courtyard where the Veren Bookshop is located in Sofia if you didn't know where it was. It's a great place for a workshop, they just need internet access! They tell us that it's coming.

One of the many products of the work of the FACT group was the publication of the Kose Bose (The Blackbird and the Fox) children's storybook. You can download the pdf here.
Using Bulgarian folk stories for teaching English
Dr Graeme Jones and DNA model building

We had a number of public Science activities during the initial project which led to the creation of the FACT group. DNA model building was one of them.
Lyubov Dombeva presented about the growth of the IB programme at the Ivan Zlatarski School in Sofia over the last five years. Lyubov teaches on the Biology course in the school's IB programme.
IB at Zlatarski School, Sofia
The old FACTWorld site - www.factbg.hit.bg is no longer valid, but with us in spirit!

We set up a website for Bulgaria to record FACT activities and spread the word.
The link to the FACTWorld Journal page no longer works. 

The move to an international domain at this site factworld.info couldn't have happened without the collaboration of Roy Cross of the British Council who set the wheels in motion for the domain to be bought and the site to be made live.

It's the enthusiasm of the teachers in the network that is the reason for the success and growth of the FACTWorld community. I'm privileged to say that I possibly know personally all of the 3000 plus teachers in our group.
Group work during summer school in Varna
Elka Stavreva sadly couldn't be with us the workshop to blow out the candles, so three of us did it on her behalf. Happy birthday!
White chocolate cake - yes, it was nice!

What did we achieve?
We had a great time. The cake was a cracker!
Actually, the outcomes are equally great. We will start regular meetings of the FACT group once again. The next one will be in November, location to be decided and published here.

We will produce further copies of the popular FACT Journal.
We will investigate sources of funding to support the work of FACT teachers.
We'll start a series of school competitions based around curriculum activities, school links, Science Across the World, and publish the results in FACTWorld.
We will have another party at another key landmark age!

Attached files