How often do you get the opportunity to meet extraordinary STEM teachers from 15 countries? Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences had a pleasure to host such group in Warsaw, Poland, at the end of September (23-24th Sept) during one of 3 EDU-ARCTIC EDUCATORS’ FORA.
They came – sometimes a long way - from Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Poland, representing different school subjects, curricula and approaches, but all 38 of them eager, enthusiastic and full of ideas.
Our goal was to prepare teachers to their new role as ambassadors of the project in their countries; we were surprised by the scale of response – teachers are already presenting EDU-ARCTIC during educational events, or even organise local workshops, recruiting new teachers – for example in Macedonia, only one week after the event!
We also had an online call with “far North” - Lis Mortensen – geologist, straight from Faroe Islands and Anna Nadolna – meteorologist working currently in Polish Polar Station Hornsund on Spitsbergen.
During practical session even the most experienced EDU-ARCTIC teachers had fun discovering something new about possible use of portal and other project tools.
Moreover, during inspiration session 8 teachers who volunteered to share their experience on EDU-ARCTIC project presented their initiatives and activities made an oral presentation.
But another major objective of the workshops consists in gathering educators’ opinions and their recommendations for improvements of functionalities or topics that could be introduced within the project in order to adjust the program to users’ needs and organisational conditions. During round-table feedback session teachers came up with loads of interesting ideas regarding Polarpedia, Monitoring system and Arctic Competitions. We’re now working on introducing as many of them as possible, we’re looking forward to announce the results and new solutions. For now we can reveal that we aim at engaging students in collecting data for Monitoring system, “pump up” the rivalry and make our tools more attractive with interactive content.
The meeting was crowned with 2 lectures delivered by renowned scientists: Marek Lewandowski and Piotr Głowacki. The story of mysterious glaciers’ interior left everyone in awe. The first-ever public, semi-confidential at that time presentation on TIME-CAPSULE deposited near Polish Polar Station Hornsund in Svalbard was an unforgettable experience.
As for side events, several teachers managed to participate in extra STEM related activity – a visit in Copernicus Science Centre, a space with 400 STEM-related exhibits inspiring to observe, experiment, ask questions, and look for answers. Undoubtedly, networking dinner contributed to establishing new friendships and cooperation between teachers, while traditional Polish home-cooking for lunch won new “pierogi” (dumplings) fans.
It was a pleasure to meet all the participants in person. Like all of you, EDU-ARCTIC family, they make it all possible!
Photos: Heli Ilipe Sootak (EDU-ARCTIC teacher)