Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teaching Resources

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I'm Learning
Darin Madzharov, Maria Nikolova
Darin Madzharov, [email protected]
February, 2012
Online course, Web Site/Portal, Downloadable material
Problem solving, Peer education, Individual preparation. Every student using their own pace. Totally free
Fundamental Chemistry, Materials Science, Food Science, Environmental Chemistry
Primary School, Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
Please describe the teaching resource taking into consideration:
• The prerequisites
• The contents
• The aims
• How to use it in class
Please make sure the length of this section is at least 300 words.
The website (Уча.се) is an educational environment with the aim of making studying a pleasant and fun activity. A leading section of the website is a collection of educational chemistry videos covering the official school program. The videos are completely free of charge and presented with intriguing narratives. The website step by step becomes an indispensable resource for preparation of students, helping them study, revise, catch up and test their knowledge in the field. The main goal of is not to be just a collection of educational videos, but to be a dynamic place, where students go, study, interact with others and leave with increased motivation. Therefore, the website contains a live chat, where students discuss different topics and help one another. More specific questions are discussed also in the video sections, where the more experienced participants offer their assistance. It is not a secret that many books present the material not very attractively, which often demotivates students. The videos on the website are interesting and motivational, which explains the big interest in the website. For around 6 months the videos have more than 150 000 views.

As far as the chemistry section is concerned, currently the videos cover the school material form 9th and 10th grade. The sections are constantly extended, as every day new videos are uploaded on the website. In July, 2012 new chemistry sections for 7th and 8th grade will be started.

The 9th grade chemistry section starts by a detailed revision of general and inorganic chemistry of the elements from ІІА, ІІІА and VІА groups and the main classes of chemical compounds. After the revision the following topics are covered: structure of the atom and its relation to the periodic table, chemical bond, valence and oxidation state, intermolecular interactions, states of matter. Then follow videos on the elements from VA and IVA groups – nitrogen and carbon, their compounds, the lifecycle of these elements in nature. The organic chemistry section starts by videos on the structure theory and types of organic chains. The hydrocarbons are analyzed with respect to their structure, properties and usage. The hydrocarbon classes alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, arenes and the natural sources of hydrocarbons are presented in different videos. Videos on ethanol, glycerol, phenol, aldehydes and ketones are also available. Next - fats, oils, synthetic cleaning chemicals. The carbohydrates are studied by discussing the monosaccharides glucose and fructose, the disaccharides saccharose and the polysaccharides starch and cellulose. Then, a section on nitrogen containing hydrocarbons follows, including a discussion on narcotic chemicals. The 9th grade chemistry section ends with videos on complex molecular compounds on polymers, plastics and others.

The 10th grade chemistry section contains videos on the following:
- Chemical processes: thermochemistry, rate of chemical reactions, catalysis and chemical balance
- Solutions: real chemical solutions, solubility and types of solutions, properties, colloid solutions
- Electrolyte solutions: theory of electrolyte dissociation, acids, bases, salts, reactions of water solutions of electrolytes
- Oxidation-reduction reactions: concepts, galvanic elements, electrolysis
- Metals from the higher periods: characteristics of Pb, Zn, Cu, Fe, corrosion, methods of industrial production.

After the covered subsections often follow special videos with solved problems and tests, which assist students in their preparation for exams.

The website can directly assist not only students, but also teachers. The videos can be recommended for individual preparation at home, which will give teachers more time at school for practicing and solving problems. Moreover, it can be reported that already in different schools in Bulgaria teachers play the videos from during the school lessons, pausing when necessary and leading a discussion with the students.
Please provide information about:
• Points of strength
• Point of weakness
• Scientific reliability
• Pedagogical value
Please make sure the length of this section is at least 300 words.
The website contains a Chemistry section, containing educational videos currently for grades 9th and 10th, which will be extended for the whole school program. The methods and the technology for creating the videos have already been proven successful with videos in other languages. All videos on the website are in Bulgarian language, which is necessary for a better explanation of the material. The Bulgarian online education sphere is relatively poor and the website offers innovative and unique solutions. Especially in the field of chemistry, I claim that there are no other similar efforts.

The main advantage of the chemistry videos is that they are narrated in a friendly and popular among students style. Every process and system are explained by visual demonstrations – pictures, schemes, figures, as the main goal is to always look for the logic behind them and avoid ineffective learning by heart. The main idea of every video is to boost the interest of the students. This is often achieved by linking the concepts to everyday life. Often a lesson starts by asking an interesting question and step by step the explanations lead to the answer towards the end. Another big advantage is that they are created by a young man, who is familiar with the methods of effective presentation. The age difference between him and the students is very small and the students feel as if a friend of theirs is sitting next to them. This creates comfort, which allows students to learn better and faster. The current generation spends a lot of time in front of the computers and giving them the opportunity to use it for their studies is very precious.

The optimal duration of presentations is under 20 minutes, which has been applied also to the videos. Most videos are around 15 minutes long and if a topic requires more attention, the videos are split into different parts keeping them within this time frame.

Another big advantage of the website is the possibility to discuss the topics presented in the videos. Questions and comments can be easily posted, which are then answered by people with more knowledge – teachers, other students, parents. The answers can be rated, which allows for sorting out the best answers from the rest. The main page of the website has also a live chat, which turns the website into a social environment, where visitors go, study, help one another, discuss different topics and make new friendships.

The website contains also tests, problems, exams and their solutions, which makes it very useful for more efficient preparation.

All of these features make the website very popular among students from the whole country. Without any money spent on advertisements the website has reached a lot of people. This is achieved mainly by word-of-mouth, as students, teachers and parents recommend the website to one another. The ideas were well covered by the media, as well, by a few very nice articles and a few TV interviews. The website has been around for about 6 months and the videos have been watched more than 150 000 times.

A disadvantage of the website is that still there are no subtitles to the created videos, so that they can be also used by people with hearing problems. Another disadvantage is that currently the website contains only videos for 9th and 10th grade. It will be very helpful to introduce videos also for other grades – something that the authors are currently working on. Another suggestion for improvement to the website is creating a section with filmed laboratory experiments, which will definitely make the website a step more attractive.

I would not say that the website has direct scientific value, as it covers school program material. However, it has indirect impact on science, as it demonstrates to students that chemistry is interesting. A direct proof for that are the comments of students, who claim that they have started liking chemistry, because of the attractive videos.

The pedagogical value of the website is indisputable, as it offers an innovative way of teaching, bringing the school lessons as close as possible to the students. Learning is tailored to every person individually, as everyone can follow their own pace, without feeling the stress of possibly better students around them in the classroom. Students feel comfortable, which is the first prerequisite for efficient learning
Technical university Gabrovo

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National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.