Learning science at a distance: it can be done

Scanlon, Eileen (2023). Learning science at a distance: it can be done. In: 3rd International Conference on Educational Technology and Online Learning – ICETOL 2023: Full Paper Proceedings, 20-23 Jun 2023, Cunda, Ayvalık,Turkey, pp. 102–106.

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At the UK Open University, approaches to learning science at a distance have been pioneered over the past 54 years. In 1969 when the University was founded, there was a great deal of scepticism about whether teaching science could be done at all (e.g. see the account in Pentz, 1982). However, over the period, learning experiences for students have been designed with some success. With the advent and spread of digital technologies and capabilities, more ways of supporting these learning experiences have been developed. This paper describes how the University dealt with the perceived importance of practical work, the accommodations arranged by over time, and the recent approaches to developing science capacities and capabilities for students. In the early days the approaches included home experiment kits, radio and TV programmes and laboratory classes at residential schools (see also Ross and Scanlon, 1995). In recent years the possibilities available to us as teachers have been extended by Technology Enhanced learning methods and these are described along with research projects on teaching science with learners of all ages (see also Scanlon, 2021). Several of these approaches designed to maximise inclusion of students studying science at a distance in practical work are reviewed.

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