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Hands-On-Remote – Conducting Hands-On Student Experiments With Virtual Support at Remote Location

Researcher in charge of the IE team

Pedro Reis

Team

Luís Tinoca

Mónica Baptista

Raimundo Etaides Freire Chaves

Abstract

In the first phase of the corona pandemic, barriers to education affected nearly 1.5 billion young people worldwide. Even if schools are cautiously reopened, education is no longer possible in the familiar form. Particularly in the limited time span of vocational training, a quick, systematic, and professional approach is important to ensure the quality of training and to keep the chances of the students for their career entries alive.

The pandemic has clearly shown the lack of digital structures in our school systems, both on a technical level and on a content-related-didactic level. Accordingly, there is a need to build capacities for online and hybrid learning, for high-quality content and, generally to further develop the skills of students and teachers for remote learning and teaching. New, innovative teaching formats that can be used in various scenarios – virtual, hybrid, or on-site – are therefore essential. The main objective of the project is to improve the digital skills of teachers and students and to provide teachers in vocational education with free resources so that they can react flexibly, with innovative approaches and high-quality concepts in various corona-related scenarios.

Practical work is part of general school practice in vocational schools and essential for learning technical, IT, and scientific methods. However, due to Covid-19 measures, a lot of this has now become simply impossible. This is exactly where our project comes in: We want to enable vocational training teachers to carry out classic hands-on student experiments with virtual support in flexible locations – at home, in several locations at the same time, or with appropriate distance in a classroom – depending on the current (hygienic/security) requirements.

A second challenge of the pandemic situation is the isolation of people, thus a lack of a ‘school community’. By linking experiments as well as students, a shared experimental situation is created that awakens motivation and interest and promotes cohesion – both locally and in Europe. In the search for answers to the Covid-19 crisis, all sides benefit from European cooperation. The project partners cover the full range of expertise needed (hands-on experiments: DM, Copernicus; didactic: TUM, UL; online learning: UL) and will work closely and strategically together to quickly find tailor-made and transnationally applicable solutions. All partners have solid connections to schools and teachers in their respective countries, allowing direct feedback and effective dissemination. The resulting action-oriented concepts should be exemplary for other EU countries.

Teachers from vocational schools are the main target group of the project. Through didactically based further training, we comprehensively promote their digital competencies. With having trained around 40-60 professionals at schools in each country, a first spread of the developed resources is ensured. Each country will develop a teaching concept for a different subject resp. a different vocational training. A compact analysis will assess the actual demands of schools and teachers to define the key features of the program. Teachers themselves will be involved as co-creators of resources. Implementation support will not only ease the uptake through the teachers but at the same time allows a continuous quality enhancement of the teaching modules. To enhance the sustainability of the intellectual outputs, the teaching modules will be accompanied by step-by-step instructions that enable independent implementation of the concepts. A standalone guidebook will instruct teachers, who were inspired by the project to develop their own concepts and supply the required framework for developing new units. At the end of the project, we will have at least three tried-and-tested teaching modules on different topics, each in four languages (DE, PL, PT, EN), that allow easy, direct integration into teaching.

The dissemination plan is adapted to the current pandemic situation, running multiple smaller events, as well as using participants as co-multipliers. The events will give an overview of the training and an insight into the practical work. With the help of the guidebook, the developmental system established in the project will be made transparent and re-usable for participants.

The desired impact is to provide schools, teachers, and ultimately students with high-quality learning opportunities even in pandemic situations. For teachers, the aspired effects are to further enhance their digital competencies, their self-confidence in handling digital technologies, and their self-image as learning guides for their students. For students, the aimed-at effect is a differentiation that enables them to learn according to their needs – with the focus on vocational students especially strengthening practical work. By doing so and fostering the schools’ “community feeling”, we also wish to promote joyful learning processes.

Participating institutions

Deutsches Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik – Munchen, DE;

Centrum Nauki Kopernik, PL

Technische Universitaet Muenchen, DE

Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa, PT

Development period

2021-2023

Source of funding

ERASMUS +
Project number 2020-1-De02-Ka226-Vet-008295

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