Category

Events

Internet of Things workshop at the 4th National Conference “Chemistry in Education”

The Media, Cognition, and Learning (MCL) Research Group successfully carried out the workshop entitled “Internet of Things – Atmospheric Air” during the 4th National Conference “Chemistry in Education” which took place on Saturday, March 16th, 2019, at the University of Cyprus, Nicosia.

The workshop was attended by secondary school chemistry teachers, who had the opportunity to learn about the learning module “Applications of the Internet of Things in Education: The Relationship of pollutants with the quality of the air”. The driving question of this learning module has students engaging in IOT-related, inquiry learning activities using mobile devices. The workshop leaders shared their experiences from the pilot implementations of the module with 35 high school students. The learning module was collaboratively developed by members of the MCL group and the IoT Lab both at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies.  The learning module represents an innovative effort to introduce IOT technologies into science teaching, and chemistry education in particular.

If you are interested in implementing the learning module “Internet of Things – Atmospheric Air” in your class, you can have access the learning materials by contact us!

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MCL participation in the EARLI SIG20 & SIG26 conference

The Media, Cognition, and Learning (MCL) Research Group had  a strong presence during the EARLI SIG 20-26 Conference at Jerusalem, held between 9-12 of October 2018.  In particular, the conference was attended by Associate Professor Eleni A. Kyza (Coordinator of the MCL research group, Secretary/Treasurer of the EARLI organization), Dr. Yiannis Georgiou (Ph.D. graduate of MCL and JURE coordinator of the EARLI SIG 20), as well as by Mr. Markos Souropetsis and Ms. Andria Agesilaou (doctoral students in MCL).

The coordinator of the MCL research group, Dr. Eleni Kyza, who was invited as a keynote speaker,  delivered an inspiring talk entitled “Transforming learning and teaching through inquiry for responsible citizenship”. Her keynote presentation triggered an interesting conversation between the conference participants about citizenship education, the role of learning technologies and designed learning environments, and the contribution of inquiry-based pedagogy to cultivating informed, responsible citizens.

Dr. Yiannis Georgiou gave a paper presentation on how inquiry-based Augmented Reality (AR) field investigations can be enhanced with physical objects, and thus contribute to students’ increased immersion and subsequent learning. This work was a follow-up study, based on his doctoral dissertation findings on immersion in relation students’ learning in AR location-based settings. Finally,  Mr. Markos Souropetsis delivered a poster presentation sharing some preliminary findings from his ongoing Ph.D. research. In particular, Markos’ Ph.D. research is focused on the investigation of upper elementary school students’ co-construction of knowledge in non-formal learning contexts, during the collaborative use of an AR learning environment at a cultural heritage site.

For more information about the MCL presentations and research work contact us!

Summer club for 5th-9th graders

The MCL Research group participated in the 2018 CUT Summer Club with fun educational activities for 5th-9th graders.

The younger participants (5th & 6th grade)  had the opportunity to: (a) practice their coding skills and develop interactive stories with the Scratch program, (b) participate in the evaluation of a mobile AR learning environment (“CompARe”) which supports a collaborative inquiry learning scenario about a unique 6th century wall mosaic, (c) engage in creative writing activities and challenges.

The activities designed by the MCL group during the summer club, aimed to unleash students’ creativity, develop their collaboration skills, and cultivate a team-working spirit, while also being lots and lots of fun.

Another major goal of the MCL activities, in collaboration with the Internet of Things lab at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, was to familiarize students with the most trending educational technologies, like augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IoT).  Older students (7th-9th grade) were introduced to the applications of IoT and participated in co-design sessions contributing to the development of an IoT-based mobile application about air quality.

MCL Summer Club for 5th-8th graders

The Media, Cognition and Learning (MCL) research group organized a five-day summer club for primary and secondary school  students from 17-21 July 2017. The overarching goal of the summer club was to provide students the chance to interact with innovative learning technologies.  A total of 30 5th-8th graders participated in the summer club, and were involved in various fun and learning activities, some of which are described below.

Meeting with the Rector of the University: During the first day, the participating students were welcomed by the Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology, Professor Andreas Anayiotos. As part of their visit, the Rector explained to the students how the Cyprus University of Technology operates, and discussed how studying at the undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral level of CUT works. During  the second part of their visit the students had the opportunity to ask several questions in relation to university studies or to duties and responsibilities of the Rector.

Learning with activity trackers: An activity tracker was provided to each participating student during a sequence of learning activities, to interact with and explore its capabilities. As part of these learning activities students also had the opportunity to perform several tasks using the activity trackers and engage with real-time data. Finally, students explored how can such technologies can help us learn more about the human body and proposed ideas about how they can be used in formal education.

Solving mysteries using Augmented Reality (AR) technologies: Students working in pairs used augmented reality  apps  to solve two problem-based cases for biology learning. During their investigation, students were asked  to collect and synthesize virtual and real data and provide an evidence-based explanation of the problems.

Exploring Augmented Reality (AR) apps: Students explored some of the endless possibilities of Augmented Reality in various thematic areas and interacted with AR apps about the planetary system, famous monuments of the world, space ships and 3D drawing figures. During these activities they had the opportunity to experience the affordances of the AR technologies as an emerging technological field.

Becoming radio producers: A unique opportunity was given to the participating students, since they had the opportunity to visit the CUT radio broadcasting university station (95,2 FM). During their visit, and with the help of a CUT radio producer, students produced various radio spots which were performed live from the studio to the CUT radio audience.

Designing digital projects: Students developed their own digital projects using the Scratch Jr application, a mobile application for enabling young children to easily learn programming and create various digital projects such as digital games or interactive stories and animations.

A closing party to thank all students for their participation, was organized during the last day of the summer school. The party included pizza, jokes, riddles and songs!

RRI Festival: A public event about RRI in relation to science education at Cyprus

The European RRI projects Engage (University of Nicosia), PARRISE (Cyprus University of Technology), and Ark of Inquiry (University of Cyprus) co-organized a public event about the integration of  Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in K-12 science education in Cyprus. The joint event took place on Saturday, March 11th, 2017, from 9:00-13:00 at the University of Nicosia.

The goal of the event was to promote the discussion on how students’ everyday life can be related to science education, how students’ interest in learning science can be enhanced, and to highlight the social aspects of science education.

The event started with a presentation by the Inspector of Primary Science Education in Cyprus, Dr. Marios Charalampous, regarding the Curriculum Reform efforts for primary science education in Cyprus.  The coordinators of the European programs Engage, PARRISE, and Ark of Inquiry presented each project and their efforts for integrating RRI in K-12 science education in Cyprus.

The final part of the event consisted of presentations delivered by science teachers who participated in the three RRI projects; these presentations focused on the teachers’ experiences on the development and implementation of RRI-based modules in their science classrooms. The event concluded with a public discussion allowing the audience to interact with the local RRI project coordinators, as well as with the science teachers who had presented their work.

PARRISE Cyprus 2016-17 national conference: RRI in inquiry-based science education—The role of education in promoting students’ active citizenship

The 2nd round of the PARRISE Cyprus TPD program concluded with a national, public conference, entitled “Responsible Research and Innovation in inquiry-based science learning: The role of education for promoting students’ active citizenship”. The conference took place at the Cyprus University of Technology on May 6th, 2017, from 8:30-13:30. The aim of the conference was to give the opportunity to the different science education stakeholders in Cyprus to learn about the PARRISE project and its philosophy, focusing on the PARRISE Cyprus teacher network activities in 2016-2017, and participate in a public discussion about science education in Cyprus.

More than 100 stakeholders responded positively to our invitation and attended the 2nd national PARRISE conference at Cyprus. Participants included policy-makers, academics, school administrators, science education teachers, parents and students. The conference started with welcoming addresses from the Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology, Professor Andreas Anayiotos, and the Chair of the Department of Communication & Internet Studies, Associate Professor Nikos Tsapatsoulis.The local coordinator of the PARRISE Cyprus project, Associate Professor Eleni Kyza, gave an introductory speech presenting the PARRISE Cyprus project. During her presentation, Dr. Kyza highlighted the main actions which were realized during the PARRISE 2016-17 TPD courses, focusing on:

  • Promoting Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) through the Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning (SSIBL) approach
  • Science teachers’ professional development for promoting teachers’ understanding of the SSIBL approach
  • The design and implementation of innovative learning modules integrating the SSIBL approach for the promotion of students’ active citizenship and RRI attitudes.

A highlight of the program was the presentation of the SSIBL modules teachers had co-designed and implemented. In addition, students from primary and secondary education schools, who participated in the PARRISE implementations, shared their impressions for the PARRISE SSIBL modules.

During the event, seven posters, prepared by the participating students and teachers, were posted outside the auditorium allowing attendees to learn more about the classroom implementations and giving the opportunity to PARRISE teachers and students to present their work to everyone during the breaks.

The last part of the event consisted of a roundtable discussion, titled “The role of education in the context of Responsible Research and Innovation”. The roundtable discussants were the coordinators of the European programs “Ark of Inquiry”  [Associate Professor at the University of Cyprus, Zacharias Zacharias] and Engage  [Assistant Professor at the University of Nicosia, Maria Evagorou], and representatives from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus [Giorgos Yiallouridis, Inspector of Primary Education; Chrystalla Koukouma, Chemistry Education Inspector; Dr. AndreasHadjichambis, representative of the Biology Inspector]. The discussion was coordinated by Dr. Eleni A. Kyza. The event concluded with a public discussion allowing the audience to interact with the invited speakers by asking additional questions.

Summer Club 2016

Designing digital stories on contemporary environmental problems

From 27-30 June 2016, the MCL Research group enacted a four-day workshop which was addressed to primary school children. In particular, a total of 66 primary school children participated in the summer club, and were invited to develop their own digital stories on waste management, employing Scratch Jr. In this way, the Summer Club served as an empowerment activity, for enhancing children’s environmental knowledge and programming skills.

Scratch Jr is a mobile application released in 2014 and was developed by Tufts University, with grants from the NSF. Scratch Jr is based on a simplified version of the Scratch graphical programming language for enabling young children to easily learn programming and create various digital projects such as digital games or interactive stories and animations. Scratch Jr, in contrast to traditional text-based programming languages, employs the building block approach; children as young programmers have the opportunity to develop programming algorithms simply by dragging and dropping colorful building blocks that indicate different commands (e.g. motion commands, triggering commands, sound commands, control commands etc.). The goal of Scratch Jr is to “develop and study the next generation of innovative technologies and curricular materials to support integrated STEM learning in early childhood education” (ScratchJr.org).

Overall, the Summer Club activities were designed to develop children’s knowledge and skills on the follow topics: (a) the use of new technologies (specifically designed for small children) to produce digital stories, (b) the development of creative thinking, (c) raise awareness on environmental issues, and (d) take active citizenship actions on these issues.

During the Summer Club all of the participating students were excited and collaborated in groups of 2-3 for developing their own digital stories. By the end of the project, all of the students expressed that through the activity had the opportunity to learn more about programming and waste management through an amusing and creative way!

PARRISE: Teacher’s Professional Development 2015-16

by Eleni A. Kyza, Yiannis Georgiou, Andreas Hadjichambis, Andria Agesilaou

The review of the literature, and our own research-based conclusions from previous professional development projects (PROFILES, CoReflect) all point to the need to engage teachers in extended professional development experiences (Loucks-Horsley, Stiles, Mundry, Love, & Hewson, 2010). Change is slow, especially when dealing with innovative approaches, such as SSIBL, and the desire to bring about reform in actual practice. The PARRISE Cyprus approach sought to not only inform teachers of SSIBL and help them gain a deeper understanding of the SSIBL framework, but wished to go a step further to supporting teachers in designing problem-based SSIBL modules that address all SSIBL pillars, and test them at their schools with their students.

Therefore, we recruited in-service teachers from elementary, lower secondary and upper secondary classrooms, from the disciplines of biology, chemistry and elementary science. Since the TPD took place during the teachers’ own time, and given the multiple demands on teachers’ schedules, we opted for a blended approach to professional development that combined face-to-face (f2f) and online professional development meetings. The approach is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Forty-one teachers participated in the TPD course between October 2015 and June 2016. Teachers formed eight collaborative design (co-design) teams, each led by a teacher educator; in total, there were two biology co-design groups (lower secondary, upper secondary), three chemistry co-design groups (one lower, two upper secondary) and three elementary science co-design groups.

The TPD approach combined experiential learning, occurring during five face-to-face meetings, co-design meetings (most often taking place online during the evenings), and continuous reflection activities. Four main aspects of the TPD served as the main mechanisms for supporting TPD processes: experiential learning, co-design, the opportunity to enact and assess the effectiveness of the SSIBL implementations, and continuous opportunities for reflection. Reflection was a key aspect of the TPD and was fostered through teacher educator scaffolding, peer feedback, feedback between interdisciplinary groups, the co-design process and the opportunity to enact, evaluate and reflect on the SSIBL framework.

The experiential activities were based on a constructivist approach to learning, and engaged teachers in an inductive exploration of the need and meaning of the SSIBL pillars (inquiry-based science education, socio-scientific issues, citizenship education) and how they relate to the grand ideas of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Meeting 1 focused on discussing the nature of science and its role, especially on controversial socio-scientific issues, in addressing societal needs. The teachers were introduced to the idea of Grand Challenges and the need to discuss the role that science education can play. In the main experiential activity, the teachers assumed the role of students and engaged with a problem-solving online learning environment on the use of antibiotics in livestock. Through this situation, teachers were implicitly exposed to issues of socio-scientific controversy and the notion of responsible research, innovation and active citizenship.

The next meeting, which was again a face-to-face meeting, introduced teachers to the SSIBL framework explicitly, but without defining the pillars of IBSE, socio-scientific controversies, citizenship education and how they all contribute to RRI. Rather, teachers were guided to research online, collaborate, discuss and reflect, to make sense of the terms on their own. In addition, Meeting 2 marked the formation of the disciplinary co-design groups, which were asked to identify curriculum areas which could then be modified or extended to integrate the aspects emphasized by the SSIBL framework. These groups collaborated until the end of the course to create and enact these PARRISE modules.

Co-design is an important tenet of situated learning during in-service teacher professional development (Kyza & Georgiou, 2014; Kyza & Nicolaidou, 2016). The co-design groups met online for 90-120 minutes each time on eight occasions between November 2015 and March 2016. These meetings supported the co-design, which was also strengthened by email communication and the two face-to-face meetings (Meeting 5 and Meeting 8). The classroom enactments (implementations) offered the unparalleled opportunity of testing out and refining SSIBL ideas, as the teachers’ reflection on the enactments indicated. Based again on our prior experience, we believe that enactments offer invaluable opportunities for situated learning (Kyza & Nicolaidou, 2016).

Figure 2 highlights the iterative and cyclical nature of the Cyprus TPD model, while also emphasizing that through these four aspects of the TPD teachers rotated through all four roles of teachers as: learners, designers,innovators, and reflective practitioners.

Figure 2

Each of the teacher teams co-designed a learning environment which was then implemented in different schools across Cyprus by the co-design team members. These eight SSIBL modules were enacted in 25 schools and 28 classrooms; they were taught by 26 teachers and 476 students who participated in these enactments. Preliminary analyses indicate positive results in terms of students’ perceptions of active citizenship and motivation to engage with SSIBL and PARRISE ideas. More analyses are underway and will be shared soon with the PARRISE community.

References

Kyza, E. A. & Georgiou, Y.(2014). Developing in-service science teachers’ ownership of the PROFILES pedagogical framework through a technology-supported participatory design approach to professional development. Science Education International, 25(2), 55-77.
Kyza, E. A., & Nicolaidou, I. (2016). Co-designing reform-based online inquiry learning environments as a situated approach to teachers’ professional development. CoDesign, 1-26. doi:10.1080/15710882.2016.1209528
Loucks-Horsley, S., Stiles, K. E., Mundry, S., Love, N., & Hewson, P. W. (2010). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin

RRI and Active Citizenship

RRI and Active Citizenship through teaching science in the context of the PARRISE European project

by Eleni A. Kyza, Yiannis Georgiou, Andria Agesilaou & Andreas Hadjichambis

The 1st round of the PARRISE Cyprus TPD program was completed with a national conference entitled “RRI and Active Citizenship through teaching science in the context of the PARRISE European project”. The conference took place at the Cyprus University of Technology on June 11th, 2016, from 8.30-13.30. The aim of the conference was to give the opportunity to the different science education stakeholders in Cyprus (e.g. policy-makers, academics, school administrators, science education teachers, parents and students), to learn about the PARRISE project and its philosophy, focusing on the PARRISE Cyprus teacher network activities in 2015-2016, and to participate in a public discussion about Science Education in Cyprus.

A total of 90 stakeholders responded positively to our invitation and attended the 1st national PARRISE conference at Cyprus. The conference started with a greeting from Dr. Eleni A. Kyza, coordinator of the PARRISE Cyprus project, a greeting from Dr. Demetrios Mappouras, Inspector of Biology at the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, and a greeting from Mrs. Chrystalla Koukouma, Inspector of Chemistry at the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture.
Next, Dr. Kyza, gave an introductory speech presenting the PARRISE Cyprus project. During her presentation, Dr. Kyza highlighted the goals and philosophy of the PARRISE project, introduced the Socio-scientific Inquiry-based Learning (SSIBL) framework and presented the main actions which were realized during the PARRISE 2015-16 TPD courses.

After that, the local PARRISE 2015-16 teachers presented the SSIBL modules they had developed and implemented, while also sharing their views on this process.

As one teacher participant stated:

“Designing our SSIBL module was real fun. Employing a participatory design process allowed us to interact with other colleagues, to exchange our views and ideas, and to collaborate on developing innovative teaching material for our students.”

Another teacher commented afterwards:

“It was a really interesting experience, as we also had the opportunity to implement the SSIBL module within our science classrooms. This allowed us to integrate the SSIBL framework into our teaching practice.”

In addition, 16 posters, prepared by the participating students and teachers, were posted outside the auditorium throughout the event allowing attendees to learn more about the classroom implementations and giving the opportunity to PARRISE teachers and students to present their work to everyone during the breaks.

As reported during the poster session by one student:

“With our participation in the PARRISE project we have learned how to act as future citizens. In particular, we learned to be active citizens and to look out for the most sustainable solutions.”

On the same note, according to another student:

“The topic we have investigated was very interesting. We have realized that as responsible citizens it is important to shape our personal views about the different socio-scientific controversies, so that we can create a better future for us and for the future generations.”

The programme continued with a presentation by Mr. Yiannis Georgiou, Research Associate of PARRISE Cyprus; the presentation focused on the evaluation of the SSIBL implementations. During the presentation, Mr. Georgiou highlighted the effectiveness of the SSIBL-based implementations in terms of promoting students’ motivation, scientific thinking and active citizenship.

The conference concluded with a discussion about the goals of science education in Cyprus, including the main problems and challenges encountered in the local educational system.

The App Inventors Experience

The “App inventors” experience: Empowering students to change their community through blocks-based visual programming

During the Spring semester of 2016, the MCL Research Group enacted the “App Inventors” program with a total of 18th graders from Laniteio A’ Lyceum.

The program aimed to enhance students’ awareness of contemporary socio-scientific issues and help them develop computational thinking skills. As part of the program, students were divided in pairs; each pair employed the App Inventor web-based app.

The App Inventor web-based application was developed by Google’s Mark Friedman and MIT Professor Hal Abelson. The App Inventor transforms programming from complex language of text-based coding into visual, drag-and-drop building blocks. Tools such as MIT’s App Inventor (Abelson, 2009), a visual programming language with “low threshold, high ceiling” potential, seek to demystify computers and empower, by allowing users to easily design and run their own mobile apps.

The program aimed to help students learn how to program and develop mobile applications to investigate socio-scientific issues. In particular, during the program, the students participated in a sequence of experiential activities, aiming to develop their knowledge and skills on the follow topics: (a) the use of new technologies to produce digital stories or interactive digital games through programming, (b) the development of creative thinking, (c) raise awareness on contemporary socio-scientific issues, and (d) take active citizenship actions on these issue.

Overall, these activities enabled the students to develop simple apps and check their functionality on their mobile phones or on tablets supplied by our research group. Once familiarized with the app creation software (AppInventor), students worked in groups to develop their own apps focusing on a variety of socio-scientific issues, such as waste management or food conservatives.

The program takes place simultaneously in schools in Germany and USA, in cooperation with the Saarland University (Germany) and the Penn Graduate School of Education (USA).