From the 21st to the 25th of November European Schoolnet organized a training course for teachers in the Future Classroom Lab. The topic of the training was Interactive technologies for the future classroom. The idea of the training course was to help teachers reflect on the pedagogical principles which enable interactive and collaborative learning settings and environments. Every day teachers had the opportunity to get familiar with new tools and methodologies that increase and enhance the level of interaction in the classroom, such as collaboration, digital storytelling, video and audio, interactive exercises and gamification.
FCL Workshop 2022 (22 November 2022 European Schoolnet, Belgium) Copyright: Public Domain
One of the sessions of this training was dedicated to Augmented Reality (AR) in Education and teachers were offered the chance to test two AR applications that have been developed by one of the ARETE partners, Cleverbooks. Before introducing the ARETE project, Maria Delmiche (Project Officer at European Schoolnet) discussed with teachers AR in Education and the benefits AR provides to teachers and students. She highlighted the fact that AR applications have very intuitive interface and do not require much technical knowledge, as is the case for the ARETE Geography and ARETE Geometry applications.
After talking about AR in Education, Maria Delmiche presented to teachers the ARETE project and focused on ARETE Pilot 2, as both the Geometry and Geography applications have been developed within its framework. She explained to teachers what the target audience was and the objectives. She briefly shared the research methodology by saying that 64 pairs of teachers were recruited from 11 countries: one teacher was assigned to the intervention group and the other teacher was assigned to the control group. Both teachers and their classes did pre-tests. After the pre-tests, one teacher was allowed to use the ARETE Geometry/Geography in classroom while his/her colleague continued teaching the same subject without any AR support. At the end of the school year 2022, teachers and their classes were tested again to see to what extent the ARETE Geometry/Geography helped “intervention” students to improve their information retention rate. Currently, the results are being analyzed by ARETE partners.
FCL Workshop 2022 (22 November 2022, European Schoolnet, Belgium) Copyright: Public Domain
Finally, Maria Delmiche moved onto the hands-on part when teachers could test both ARETE applications themselves. Teachers were divided into four groups. Two groups tested the ARETE Geography with Minji Jeong while two other groups explored the ARETE Geometry with Robert Quansah (both interns at the Science Education Department at European Schoolnet). Teachers were first asked to participate in some warm-up activities with the help of AR markers (world maps for the ARETE Geography and building blocks for the ARETE Geometry). After that, teachers were able to test the “student mode” by doing collaborative tasks (games, tests, quizzes) in their corresponding groups.
Teachers were excited about both ARETE applications and shared their positive feedback during the feedback session via a mentimeter survey. As most of them were secondary school teachers, they expressed their desire to have something similar for their students and be able to use it in the classroom soon.