Author: Cristina Nicolaita
For every teacher, the Coronavirus lockdown came with a big challenge, which for me was Teaching Science during school closure. We had to reshape our teaching style, taking into consideration our students’ needs during these days. The current situation of not being able to meet each other in our classes is a huge change. Our educational ministry has sent us a “letter of recommendation”. However, it was mostly up to every teacher’s creativity, skills and motivation to guide our students that are learning online. Sharing experiences with other colleagues helped a lot, like here, on the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign. This is why I would like to tell you about my experience, as a Physics and IT teacher.
Teaching Science online
My first concern was my students’ online security and how to make sure everyone in the online class feels comfortable. It is also important for everybody to understand the teaching material keeping their own individual pace. Being the eTwinning ambassador for a long time, I have already known the answer: eTwinning platform. With its great functionalities, it allows us to share resources, communicate and collaborate in a safe environment. It became a solution for my 6th – 8th grade students learning physics. Together with my colleague Marusia Gabriela Cobel, on 4 April 2020, we co-founded “The virtual class of Physics”.
About our virtual class
Following the national curriculum for physics, in the project, we used the TwinSpace tools. We also used some scientific videos and platforms for remote or virtual experiments. Padlet was used for collaborative work and KAHOOT! for online challenges that could be launched and kept open for a chosen period of time. I had met my students once a week via Zoom, under the supervision of their parents. I guided them while using the materials on TwinSpace and through the challenges they had to solve.
Students were very enthusiastic, happy to see their colleagues online, and eager to make something creative. They made some experiments at home, with domestic materials. Sometimes they were helped by their parents, posted their results on Padlet and solved the KAHOOTs. They could also comment on their colleagues’ posts, appreciating each other’s work, keeping the optimistic spirit.
Collaboration with teachers
Being the eTwinning & Scientix ambassador and a teacher trainer for physics in my region, my second concern was to keep in touch with my like-minded colleagues, encourage helping each other during these challenging times. I kept connected with my colleagues through social media, on professional groups. I tried my best to share my experience which would help teaching science during school closure through the three most important activities.
eTwinning and Scientix ambassador activities
- On the 11th of March was the first day of school lockdown in Romania. I took part as an expert, together with my colleague Cornelia Melcu, in an online event. It was named ‘eTwinning and Scientix: a friendship on the serve of eTwinners’.
In this online seminar, the Scientix opportunities for eTwinners (teachers who are a part of eTwinning projects), including courses, workshops, webinars, campaigns, resources were presented. During the event, we took a closer look at the relationship between eTwinning and Scientix. We also tried to inspire eTwinners in developing STEM projects related to the annual topic – Climate Change and Environmental Challenges. More than 200 participants took place in this webinar.
- On the 28th March, I took part in the 6th Unconference in the Creative Classroom Group in eTwinning. Teachers presented projects related to Climate Change and Environmental Challenges.
My presentation was about our Erasmus+/eTwinning project ‘We are creating STEAM embassies in the European school network’. STEAM activities related to climate change organised in the frame of the project were presented to more than 400 participants.
Resources for teaching Science
First of all, this repository contains all ideas and platforms that can be used in virtual classes. Ideas for experiments with everyday materials that can be made at home are illustrated with pictures and videos. You can also find a collection of KAHOOT! physics tests I created. Also, some recommendations for online projects and courses to follow when in lockdown are included. I highly recommended my colleagues projects like Scientix and STEM Alliance, Edu-Arctic, ESA, Esero, Space Awareness, GoLabz, OSOS. Courses on European Schoolnet Academy and School Education Gateway, Teacher Academy are among the recommended ones as well.
More than 10 000 individuals viewed the items until now. It proves that this repository is interesting for many teachers. This is my humble contribution that hopefully will help other teachers. Take care, stay safe!