46 et al., 2017). They need to start using ICT tools and technology or out-of-classroom settings to make the knowledge more interesting and tangible. Science teachers tend to ignore that experiences outside school, such as visits to science museums, hands-on centres, galleries, botanical gardens or working in nature can influence students’ attitudes, motivation to learn and effectiveness (Kubilay et al., 2012). An exception to this is Finland, for example, where the official school curriculum gives freedom to teachers to utilise informal learning settings (Salmi et al., 2020). This inability or reluctance in using innovative teaching approaches, ICT tools or informal settings seems to be the reason why maintaining students’ interest for science is challenging even in regular times, before the pandemic crisis (RannastuAvalos et al., 2020). The traditional teaching approaches are not even effective for teaching Physics, Chemistry or Maths. These subjects need student-centred approaches, hands-on activities, investigation & experimentation, and even small group-working. This is why teachers usually face classroom management issues & interruptions (Seals et al., 2017). They are unable to stimulate students’ excitement and motivation to participate in the lesson (Seals et al., 2017) and can hardly promote and develop the 21st-century skills required to raise active and critical citizens of tomorrow (such as communication, teamwork, creative thinking and problem solving). The current guidelines at least in Cyprus enable little or no flexibility in implementing innovative approaches (such as inquiry-based learning), since the main aim is to cover the school curriculum and succeed in the final examination, instead of developing holistic personalities. 3.2 CHALLENGES IN AN ONLINE OR BLENDED SETTING The OTA project seeks to go beyond the classroom setting and investigate the main challenges of teaching science subjects in a specific social context: the remote teaching & learning processes, which were adapted due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in all European school systems. What was previously done face-to-face has been transferred online or even in a blended mode. This new way of teaching and learning seems to have highlighted and even intensified the already existing challenges the teachers face in a classroom setting. It also resulted in new ones, such as the lack of socialisation. No educational system seems ready to go completely online, especially the Cypriot one which has been entirely based on face to face learning (Nisiforou et al., 2021). Online education highlighted the already existing issues of time limit, inadequate infrastructure in schools, low digital literacy and lack of digital readiness of students and teachers, limited internet access and lack of online laboratory environments (Sofianidis et al., 2021 & Katić et al., 2021).