On Saturday, 30th of May I conducted a Scientix workshop in Santiago of Compostela. That day the Centro Autonómico de Formación e Innovación (CAFI) organised a one-day event for teachers to share good practices in teaching STEM. The program of the day was available here (PDF).
My Scientix workshop was one of the six simultaneous workshops ran just after lunch in the afternoon session. Despite of competing with other interesting topics in different rooms the Scientix workshop caught the attention of 21 attendants (One over the number of seats and computers available). The expectation to learn about the integration of remote and virtual labs attracted chemistry, physics, maths and ICT teachers.
As you can read in this workshop guide (PDF), I began spending a couple of minutes talking about the Scientix project, browsing through the portal and showing with a special emphasis the valuable Scientix repository of STEM resources.
To guide the workshop session and organise the content I decided to use my own Escolas Moodle Platform. Participants could come to the course as guest participants (no registration was needed) or as registered users after creating and account and login later with their own credentials. I preferred to use my own moodle platfom because the current version of the Moodle of Scientix doesn’t support managing badges yet and, I wanted to gamify the workshop issuing a digital badge to those who were able to complete the requirements of the session.
Throughout the session I introduced the Go-Lab Project to participants. Go-Lab is a european STEM project whose aim is “allowing science teachers finding online labs and inquiry learning applications appropriate for their class, combining these in Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILS) supporting particular lesson scenarios, and sharing the ILSs with their students“.
Most of virtual and remote online labs tested by the teachers in this workshop were found in the repository of the Go-Labz Project. The goal for each teacher was to choose one lab which was already suitable for teaching her students or could be easily adapted. We didn’t have time enough to play with more than one or two labs so we focus on just one. After playing around for a couple of minutes trying to understand how it worked, I started to present the Graasp tool available as part of the Go-Lab project. Graasp is an online tool to create lesson plans based on an IBL (Inquiry-based learning) approach. Go-Lab refers to these lesson plans as Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILS) or sometimes as Learning Scenarios. Although at first the terms are a bit confusing once you put your hands on it you’ll appreciate the power of Graasp. It’s easy to manage and full of creative and useful inquiry learning applications (Apps) as for example one to create hypothesis dragging and dropping words predefined by teachers or another to easily create concepts maps about the lesson. The picture below is a screen capture of a Graasp’s page.
This post is not for talking about the great features of Graasp (it deserves a single post about it) but to report that we spent the last 40 minutes of our workshop working on it until the end of the session. Despite the short time (90 minutes) allocated to the workshop most of teachers were able to accomplish the goal of the session. They not only knew about Scientix and selected a virtual lab from Go-Lab but also started to design an IBL activity around it.
I really enjoyed guiding this workshop in a warm atmosphere where anyone could share his own experience so everybody learnt and me the first. Thanks a lot to the 21 attendants because there was not easy to select a workshop among the catalogue of interesting and simultaneous presentations. Congratulations to nine of them who wanted to play the game and were able to complete all the tasks required so they earned this cool digital badge.
The whole event was a success with inspiring keynotes and other interesting workshops in the morning and afternoon sessions. CAFI team did, once again, an excellent job and worked hard to make it work. Thanks for inviting Scientix to be part of the event. Hope to see again next time.