Duration: 01/10/2004 – 30/09/2007
Coordinators: Ecsite (the European network of science centres and museums) and EUN (European School Net)
Funding: Sixth Framework Programme/Structuring the European Research Area


Pencil is the recipient of the European Commission’s single largest financial contribution in the area of “Science and Society” and combines field programmes and academic research with the aim of identifying the keys of success that transform informal science activities into innovative quality tools for science teaching.

14 science centres/museums had the task of creating mini-networks involving schools, pupils, teachers associations, research laboratories, educational authorities, and education and science communication specialists to run “pilot projects” on new science teaching methods.

At the same time, an academic “Resource Centre” was created in order to provide state-of-the-art education research, science communication, formal/informal learning, and best practices. Moreover, the Resource Centre assessed and monitored the pilot projects in order to disseminate the results and identify the criteria of innovation and quality that should become the standards for setting up future science teaching efforts.

The European Science Educational Portal (ESEP) is the tool for managing the project, setting up exchanges between partners and enabling diffusion of project results to the science teacher community.

The Institute and Museum of the History of Science was the leader of the pilot project “Online Access to History of Science Museum Objects” which anticipated the development of educational multimedia applications about objects preserved in the museum through the use of new technologies and with particular attention to e-learning. An innovative didactic laboratory was created: “Galileo and Experimental Science”. It was devoted to schools and focused on the evolution of Galileo’s experimental research as he came to master the elementary laws of motion.


Explore Galileo at the Museum of the History of Science With a Virtual Visit

This application was developed with the aim of offering, primarily for students, an exploration of various aspects of the life and work of Galileo Galilei.

The application was created with the technological support of the Laboratorio Percro of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa as part of the European project Pencil (Permanent European Network for Informal Learning).