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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Scientific evaluation of an intra-curricular educational kit to foster inquiry-based learning (IBL)
Author(s): Nathalie Debaes; Nina Cords; Amrita Prasad; Robert Fischer; Manfred Euler; Hugo Thienpont

Paper Abstract

Society becomes increasingly dependent on photonics technologies; however there is an alarming lack of technological awareness among secondary school students. They associate photonics with experiments and components in the class room that seem to bear little relevance to their daily life. The Rocard Report [5] highlights the need for fostering students’ scientific skills and technological awareness and identifies inquiry based learning (IBL) as a means to achieve this. Students need to actively do science rather than be silent spectators. The ‘Photonics Explorer’ kit was developed as an EU funded project to equip teachers, free-of-charge, with educational material designed to excite, engage and educate European secondary school students using guided inquiry based learning techniques. Students put together their own experiments using up-to-date versatile components, critically interpret results and relate the conclusions to relevant applications in their daily life. They work hands-on with the material, thus developing and honing their scientific and analytical skills that are otherwise latent in a typical class room situation. A qualitative and quantitative study of the impact of the kit in the classroom was undertaken with 50 kits tested in 7 EU countries with over 1500 students in the local language. This paper reports on the results of the EU wide field tests that show the positive impact of the kit in raising the self-efficacy, scientific skills and interest in science among students and the effectiveness of the kit in implementing IBL strategies in classrooms across EU.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 July 2014
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 9289, 12th Education and Training in Optics and Photonics Conference, 92891B (17 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2070773
Show Author Affiliations
Nathalie Debaes, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Nina Cords, Christian-Albrechts-Univ. zu Kiel (Germany)
Amrita Prasad, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Robert Fischer, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Manfred Euler, Christian-Albrechts-Univ. zu Kiel (Germany)
Hugo Thienpont, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9289:
12th Education and Training in Optics and Photonics Conference
Manuel F. P. C. Martins Costa; Mourad Zghal, Editor(s)

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