TOPIC 1: INQUIRY BASED EDUCATION
- The majority of teachers agreed in the fact that IBSE does not only mean to use a specific method, set of activities or technology, but it means to get students to ask questions and formulate ways to find an answer and to think by themselves.
- Most of the teachers agreed that IBSE is an approach that needs to be tried out through experience. It is necessary for teachers to overcome their doubts and try out the methods. Personal experience is the best way to understand the good and bad sides of IBSE.
- In some European countries, IBSE education is already being included in the national or regional education curricula, or at least in some specific thematic areas, but there are many other countries where it still needs to be further implemented.
- IBSE is still quite a challenge for teachers. One of the main implementation difficulties is that some educators teach with technologies with which they haven’t experimented before; this is why it can become a slow process and why there is a need for a lot of Continuous Professional Development. This rationale also applies to collaborative work as it is demanded to students but not to teachers. Teachers need to first learn or experiment by themselves before teaching with methodologies through which they didn't experience at school.
- Concerns were expressed by several participants on the particular usage of new technologies in the classroom. New generations must be taught on how to do use those devices to inquire based learning activities and not only for recreational purposes.
- IBSE is a very flexible approach in terms of implementation. There are plenty of different protocols and teachers’ strategies. Some participants have commented on very original approaches, using role games or internet applications. Nevertheless, the most common method used is still that of posing questions to students, whether is through question grids or using different inquiry methods (Confirmation Inquiry, Structured Inquiry, Guided Inquiry or Open Inquiry)
- The lack of recourses and finances is still one of the biggest obstacles to carry on an IBSE-based curricula. We found out that this lack of resources is forcing teachers to take on their own initiatives to implement extra-curricular activities which, in some cases, they even need to finance themselves.
- Educational authorities, teachers and parents should all recognize the pedagogical value of IBSE approaches. Nowadays schooling system rates the students’ success in a marking system that mostly just evaluates the facts the student memorizes and not the processes through which the student has gone through to come to a certain conclusion.
- Some of the abilities teachers need to learn in order to teach through an IBSE method are: To introduce the activity to students in a motivating and engaging way; To encourage students to work in teams; To supervise experimental activities and offer some feedback and guidance about it; To establish experimental conditions and differentiate between dependent and independent variables; To decide upon the best way to organize and represent data; To analyse results; To draw conclusions based on the available evidence; To make students familiar with the production of a scientific report and; To promote communication skills through the performance of oral presentations and to encourage discussion and debate on experimental results.
- The internet is used as a search engine by lots of motivated teachers. In particular, to search for international projects and others platforms that can offer them a wide range of resources to use and implement in the classroom while they promote IBSE learning. Of course, Scientix is one of the projects that offers this type of materials.
- IBSE certainly is an excellent educational approach. It develops creativity, hands skills, autonomy and knowledge. It helps you learn how the student thinks. It also develops activities in which the student comes into contact with their social environment while preparing for a future career.
TOPIC 2: TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
- Some studies have proved that teachers are still in need of a portfolio of technology-based resources. The CoP participants have shared a great deal of resources. From software to develop 3D designs and 3D printing materials, to online laboratories and virtual simulations, programs to use mathematics tools or even concept mapping tools.
- Every teacher has different high-tech essentials to use in the classroom. One of the most widespread devices is Youtube, as it has been a revolutionary step to democratize the making and the distribution of films.
- Some of the main advantages of using technologies in the classroom are the following:
- Higher quality lessons through greater collaboration between teachers in planning and preparing resources
- Attractiveness of the activities to the students that makes them be more stimulated
- Improvement of students scholar success through innovative methods that, in turn, makes them more motivated to learn and increases their self-confidence and self-esteem
- Large amount of resources available online at any given time
- Safety that some resources based on simulations guarantee in regard to experimenting with young learners
- Broadband technology that supports the reliable and uninterrupted downloading of web-hosted educational multimedia resources
- Some of the main disadvantages are the following:
- Lack of materials to use the large amount of resources available
- Difference in the level of resources between different schools which sometimes depends on the school management and how they support the implementation of ICT equipment.
- Lack of qualification and/or knowledge of some educational professional
- There is still disputing points between those teachers who are willing to introduce new technologies more actively in their classroom and those who don’t see its potential. Some participants point to the lack of formation from those who do not want to implement ICT resources but there is another theory that introduces the idea that those teachers are concerned with the lack of control in the educational process (which can lay in other specialists, such as media experts or education technologists) which makes them return to traditional pedagogic techniques.
- To invest not only in technologies devises but also in educational plans or portfolios aimed at teachers to enhance their abilities in using IBSE education activities and in introducing up-to-date devices and resources in their lessons.
- To promote Continuous Professional Development aimed at train educational professionals and enable them to feel more confident in regard to applying new pedagogic methods and resources
- To include IBSE education in regional and/or national curricula and to overcome the digital gap that may arise from the diverse management styles from different educational centres or authorities.
- To inform the educational community of all the resources available that help introducing IBSE and technology in the classroom so not only the more motivated teachers are aware of it. In sum, to democratize the resources.
- To update rating systems in schools that could hinder the introduction of new methodologies in the lesson plans by assessing through very restrictive ways.
- To encourage the educational community to see IBSE as a very flexible approach in terms of implementation and to discuss on the efficiency and the appropriateness different protocols and teachers’ strategies.
- To get control of the educational process while implementing new pedagogical techniques so teachers don’t stay stuck in traditional methodologies.