CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENTS - A EUROPEAN APPROACH
The role of chemistry experiments in the classroom during the chemistry classes is of paramount importance. Since national examinations do not access or assess practical skills related to the work in the chemistry laboratory, the role of the chemistry experiments is decreasing in favour of problem solving or other theoretical skills of the secondary students.
Taking into account that many chemistry experiments are presented by online resources, e.g. recorded videos, they do not always complying with the pedagogical rules. There is a pedagogical approach on how a chemistry video has to be recorded and what information should be included in order to meet the minimum requirements that makes a recorded chemistry experiment a pedagogical tool. These include:
- Presenting the name of the experiment or of the depicted process
- Presenting the hazards related to the manipulation of chemicals, while using GHS symbols
- Writing down the balanced chemical equation, explaining the experimental steps and the chemical process
- Describing the waste management.
One objective of the project was for the schools involved to create a collection of chemistry videos. They are to be recorded with all necessary information (presented above) which allows the recording to be a pedagogical tool suitable to be used in the classroom. This collection contains 190 chemistry experiments and is available on a dedicated YouTube channel created within the partnership.
A second aim of the project was to edit a handbook of chemistry experiments which cover the theoretical aspects related to the recorded experiments. The book was written in English and translated in three other languages: Romanian, Greek and Turkish.
The content of the book goes beyond the chemical process itself. It presents aspects related to the preparation of an experiment, the materials and equipment to perform it, the hazards related to the use of different chemicals along with waste management of the products and the appropriate reference citation. The book acts as a tool for chemistry teachers or for the students who are asked to perform a certain experimental procedure in the laboratory.
English and Romanian versions of the book were printed on paper and distributed among chemistry teachers. It was sent to both those attending the international dissemination conference held in Zalau on April 7th, 2017 and those who live further and received the book by post.
In situations where online tools are not available, a third end product is envisioned for the project. This consists of a software which is available offline and manages the video database. The software is compiled to run under Windows OS as most of the target group are using this. The software was created with much more functionalities as previously estimated. Instead of having an application managing 190 chemistry experiments videos (.mp4 files) and 190 chemistry experimental pages (.pdf files) the partnership gave a "living application" which can be further developed by the end user. According to the user's need the video and experimental database can be further expanded either with the user's own video recordings or with videos chosen on the internet. The software has a powerful filtering capability searching the database through 6 parameters making easy to navigate among hundreds of chemical demonstrations.
The 6 partners involved were from five countries across Europe: Colegiul National "Simion Barnutiu", Simleu Silvaniei, RO (coordinating school); HTL Dornbirn, Dornbirn, AT; Vassiliadis School, Thessaloniki, GR; SG Helinium, Hellevoetsluis and Cappelle aan den IJssel, Rotterdam, NL (2 different schools), Sesokulari, Samsun TR ensuring diversity.
The last project project meeting was organised at the coordinating school Colegiul National 'Simion Barnutiu', Simleu Silvaniei, Romania where an international conference was held (7/4/2017). It was a dissemination event which allowed the joint team to start spreading the end products among the target groups: teachers of chemistry in secondary schools and, as indirect beneficiaries, the students doing their secondary studies. By making the results of the partnership available in many different ways a large coverage of situations is ensured online and offline.