Last October 2, science teachers from a non-profit organization, Teach for the Philippines, had the opportunity to find out how to use digital tools to create more effective and engaging science lessons.
Held in collaboration between Education New Zealand (ENZ) and Teach for the Philippines, the latest edition of the School Influencer Workshop was led by Dr. Srirparna Saha, a Ph.D. candidate in GeoEducation at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
Leveraging New Zealand and the Philippines’ geographical similarities with volcanoes, Dr. Saha shared with the 50 participants her experience and knowledge of using digital resources throughout her work on Caldera volcanoes.
Teachers were introduced to an array of different digital tools to teach science, with a focus on volcanoes. These digital tools include virtual field trips, online platforms, and digital storytelling that can further enhance science curriculums for students.
“It was an incredible opportunity to design and conduct the workshop for the teachers in the Philippines. During the workshop, we managed to bounce off ideas on the various ways to integrate information and communication technologies into different classrooms – keeping in mind that the main objectives of our lessons are not only to make learning enjoyable and meaningful for them, but also to satisfy their thirst for knowledge to the best of our abilities,” Dr. Saha shared.
The workshop also encouraged teachers to develop a contextualized activity around a virtual field trip that can be used during their science lessons. Beyond that, interested teachers can choose to create digital storytelling lesson plans based on learnings from the workshop and submit short videos showcasing their key takeaways.
“The workshop facilitated by Dr. Sriparna Saha was helpful in enhancing my teaching-learning process especially amidst the challenges brought by the pandemic. It emphasized the need for cultural appropriation and contextualization when discussing scientific concepts. The session left an impact on me by teaching us the value of creative strategies such as digital storytelling to promote the veracity of science while ensuring we connect with our learners. Through interactive tools, such as online field trips and interviews with locals, I found that integrating technology and storytelling in the lesson flow makes it significantly relatable for students,” said Curt Marvin B. Cruz, workshop participant and Learning Support Staff at International School Manila.
The workshop was the latest in ENZ’s series of School Influencer Workshops that first began in 2017. The series of workshops reasserts ENZ’s goal of achieving knowledge diplomacy, sharing the expertise, courses, and skills that New Zealand has to offer international communities.
According to ENZ’s Regional Director Asia, Ben Burrowes, the workshop represented ENZ’s efforts in enabling more communities outside of New Zealand to experience the New Zealand way of learning.
“Mātauranga Māori, or Maori Knowledge, is unique to us. It is holistic and refers to the knowledge, comprehension or understanding of everything visible or invisible that exists within the universe – and volcanoes are part of this. Most importantly, the foundation of Mātauranga Māori sees knowledge being passed on from one generation to another through oral lore.
“The workshop led by Dr. Sriparna of the University of Canterbury has made it possible for Philippines’ educators to learn how we teach in New Zealand and apply them in their local and current context of education, where digital tools are beginning to play a bigger role in teaching. We hope to continue organizing more workshops together like these with our experts in New Zealand and partners in the Philippines,” Mr Burrowes commented.
About Education New Zealand:
Education New Zealand (ENZ) is New Zealand’s government agency for international education. ENZ works to grow awareness of New Zealand as a study destination and to support New Zealand education providers and businesses to take their services and products abroad.