Science at a distance presentation

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A CDE seminar held on 19/4/11: Roger Mills, Guest Editor of a special issue of the journal Open Learning on science teaching will give some examples of innovative science teaching at a distance and …

A CDE seminar held on 19/4/11: Roger Mills, Guest Editor of a special issue of the journal Open Learning on science teaching will give some examples of innovative science teaching at a distance and discuss whether in some areas online teaching of practical skills might be better than traditional face-to-face laboratory or field work

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  • 1. Teaching Science at a Distance
    Roger Mills
  • 2. Background-It can’t be done
    ‘In 1969  I discussed the Open University with scientific and academic friends and colleagues. With very few exceptions, they were sceptical. It was clearly a preposterous idea, to try to teach university-level science at a distance to part-time students, many of whom would have had little or no secondary school qualifications and many, if not most, of whom would not have studied science before.
    Perhaps, one might be able to teach some arts subjects this way, but science....? What about laboratory work for a start?’ It can't be done!', they said’ Mike Pentz, Founding Dean of Science OU
  • 3. Before the web (BW)
    Summer Schools
    Day schools
    Television- Professor Steve Rose quote: Starting with a piece of liver- and other classic introductions- THE (15th Dec 2006)- issues of Health and Safety
    Home Experimental Kits- McArthur Microscope
    Early experience of teaching OU Science Foundation Course
  • 4. Convergence
    ICT has driven convergence between distance education and more traditional forms of teaching science
  • 5. AW ( after the web)
    Gradual recognition of power of the use of the Web in the teaching of science across distance education and traditional institutions
    Some examples from the Open Educational Resources offered by the OU in science and related topics
    http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/
    http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn/?gclid=CLGc0ZiBmqgCFUtC4QodMm9bCQ
  • 6. Use of web in different educational contexts
    Adult and primary/secondary level
    I spot This site is of great interest to children and adult educators. Includes the OPAL Biodiversity survey http://www.opalexplorenature.org, http://www.ispot.org.uk/
    In higher education: ‘The Role of Virtual Microscopes in Distance Learning’ Whalley, Kelley and Tindle: The Open University Open Learning, 26, 2, pp 131-138, June 2011
    Screen-based microscopes .. Offer significant pedagogic advantages for science disciplines involving the observation of natural samples
  • 7. Further examples from HE
    Simulations – Blake and Scanlon 2007
    Behaviour of a pendulum
    Natural selection
    Electron Diffraction
    Virtual Environments
    Value for Disabled Students
    And beyond disability ‘Students felt they learnt more from the virtual environment than standing in the cold identifying biological specimens’-Whitelock and Jelffs,2005 ‘Would you rather collect data in the rain or attend a virtual field trip? International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning 15(1-2) pp 121-131
  • 8. Remote Experiments
    Manipulation or control of real apparatus at a distance
    Helpful for all students
    Trends
    Experiments providing public access to scientific apparatus or findings ( enhancing the public understanding of science)
    Consortia where university share facilities ( Durham 1961)
    PEARL project (Colwell 2002)- aim was to explore how high quality learning could occur by bringing the teaching laboratory to students ( see Scanlon, E., Technology enabled science learning at a distance Open learning June 2011)
  • 9. Some References
    Blake, C. and Scanlon, E. (2007). ‘Reconsidering simulations in science education at a distance: features of effective use’. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23(6), pp. 491–
    Colwell,C et al (2002) ‘Using remote laboratories to extend access to science and engineering’ Computers and Education, 38 (1-3) 65-76
    Ross, S. and Scanlon, E. (1995).Open Science: the distance teaching and open learning of science subjects. Paul Chapman Publishing
    Whalley, Kelley and Tindle(2011) ‘The Role of Virtual Microscopes in Distance Learning’ Open Learning, 26, 2, pp 131-138
    Whitelock, D. and Jelffs, A. (2005). 'Would you rather collect data in the rain or attend a virtual field trip?': Findings from a series of virtual science field studies. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 15(1-2), pp. 121–131
    Scanlon, E(2011) ‘Technology Enabled science learning at a distance: remote experiments, mobility and open educational resources. Open Learning, 26, 2 pp101-116
  • 10. References 2
    Kennepohl, D and Shaw, L (2010) Accessible Elements: Teaching Science On-line and at a distance, AU Press, Athabasca University. Paperback ( $39.95 CAD) and on-line Open Educational Resource at: http://web.mef.hr/web/images/pdf/access_elements.pdf
    It can’t be done!
    Yes it can!