UC JINR holds seminar on project-based learning for future teachers

News, 09 July 2024

From 5 to 17 July, the 36th International Computer School (ICS), organized by the JINR University Centre, is taking place at the Ratmino JINR Resort Hotel. A special feature of this year’s ICS was the educational and methodological seminar on project learning titled “Modelling and education”, which preceded the School and took place on 1-4 July. The event consists of masterclasses for students who plan to become teachers. The mentors are students of the previous International Computer Schools. UC JINR Leading Methodologist, ICS Scientific Leader Petr Shirkov spoke about the event.

The seminar organized by JINR is a revival of a tradition established in the early 2000s, when such training courses were held for future project mentors before the start of each ICS. The organizers expect the tested model of such an advanced training to become a prototype for a new JINR programme devoted to the development of subject competences in physics, mathematics, and IT for students of partner universities who wish to become teachers.

22 physics, mathematics, and information technology students of North Ossetian State University, Far Eastern Federal University, Kamchatka State University, and graduates of the Kadyshevsky Physics and Mathematics Lyceum are taking part in the seminar. For this team, courses aimed at enhancing pedagogical skills were organized by mentors with extensive experience in research and engineering projects, who have participated in the Schools numerous times. During the four days of intensively studying while fully immersed in project activities, the participants of the programme prepared content for the future educational, research, and engineering projects that they will implement together with the students of the School.

“Acknowledging the vital role of training personnel in high-tech sectors, UC management, represented by Director Dmitry Kamanin, conceptualised a new educational initiative. This programme aims to prepare future physics, mathematics and information technology teachers using the Institute’s scientific potential and experience in organizing and conducting educational programmes in research, teaching, and popular science for teachers and students alike. They are aimed at immersing junior students who wish to become teachers in educational methodological and engineering programmes using both methods of traditional pedagogy and approaches based on advanced psychological and pedagogical approaches, including modelling methodology,” Petr Shirkov said. ICS Scientific Leader explained that this approach has been used at International Computer Schools for more than 35 years in order to involve children, adolescents, and youth in advanced science and technology and develop methods of education combining project-based learning and engineering activities. The approach has been widely used not only in various forms of education, but also in the training and retraining of teaching employees.

The participants of the preparatory seminar had the opportunity to get acquainted with the features of the new concept firsthand within real educational process. University students generated creative ideas for their projects, set goals and objectives, chose the required tools, and created experimental setups. In addition, the seminar participants conducted experiments demonstrating the connections between the measurable characteristics of the observed processes and phenomena, such as the transformation of energy from one type to another and its conservation in an isolated physical system. They then generalised the occuring patterns and developed the content of the subject activity and a dictionary of the main terms used. At the same time, the content of the subject was not divided into a set of isolated topics as it would be in a school textbook, but demonstrated the correlation between them in practice. Therefore, key school subjects were once again connected in a systematic way, with programme content exceeding the expectations of the Federal State Educational Standards for students of a specific age, while considering the students’ immediate development zone.

The defense of five meta-subject projects in physics, mathematics, and technologies, including IT, took place on 4 July. In addition, young JINR scientists shared their experience of holding the UC JINR Days of Physics festival. The seminar included introductory lectures delivered by the founders of the pedagogical direction described, Dubna University Professor Vadim Khoziev, a Leading Methodologist at JINR Petr Shirkov, and an excursion to the NICA Accelerator Complex conducted by Dmitry Dryablov, a VBLHEP JINR researcher. From 5 to 17 July, future teachers will use the methodological material they have developed when working with the ICS students.