Focus on the “observation tool” #SPOONBilbao19

One of the major challenges of this first SPOON meeting was to discover how the Elhuyar Foundation and the teachers coordinate to carry out the projects presented at the local science fair. To better help the SPOON delegation to make good observations during the fair visit, Maria and Isabel from the UOC have prepared a guidelines tool, in order to ask the right questions on the spot and to identify the strengths and best practices of our colleagues from the Basque country.

By Maria Heras Lopes & Elena Iuliani

The main evaluation tools implemented by UOC this year in Bilbao are two surveys handed in to participant teachers before and after Elhuyars science fair. Complementary to that, we also took advantage of our visit to Bilbao to create an observation tool for all SPOON participants. Its goal was to structure spooners observations of the fair around the evaluation interests of Bilbaos case study and provide insights for the analysis and design of the surveys.

The observation tool contained several observation questions organised around three sections:

1) Teachers interactions during the fair;

2) The presence of moments of critical reflection during students presentations; and

3) Other observations relevant for understanding the involvement of the teachers in the fair. Together with this observation tool, we also had the chance to talk directly with teachers, as we had a guided tour through the fair with one teacher during the afternoon.

Observing the fair and talking to teachers allowed us to think more accurately about our evaluation design and the questions to include in our survey. We were positively surprised by students autonomy during the fair and their capacity and enthusiasm to communicate their research and discuss about it with the public. Teachers guidance and support during the previous months was essential to this. As one teacher mentioned, the science fair was only the tip of the iceberg. Another teacher defined her participation in the science fair as a shared journey with the students, in which all of them learnt together through their research. All in all, motivation, both from teachers and students, was something we could all notice through our observations and conversations during the fair.

Isabel Ruiz Mallen & Maria heras Lopes from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona)

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