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From Italy to UK: Take a workshop to your country

From 23-24 June 2016 Giovanni Pezzi from Associazione per l’Insegnamento della Fisica went to UK to present his 'Smartphones in Physics Experiments' workshop at the Institute of Physics in Gloucester and at Exeter University. This workshop was presented before at the European Science on Stage festival 2015 in London. After the event Alessio Bernardelli from the British Science on Stage teacher team and Giovanni Pezzi from the Italian delegation applied for the Science on Stage programme 'Take a Workshop to your country'.

The workshop itself was a great success and the teachers attending were very excited to learn the potential of their smartphones and what their students can do with them in physics experiments. Giovanni’s starting point was that 'Kids often forget their books at home, but never their smartphones', so using smartphones to enhance their learning instead of just for social media has to be a good thing. In addition to the workshop all particpants also received the 'iStage 2' booklet, which contains further examples of effective use of handheld devices in science teaching and learning.

The ideas for practicals explored by Giovanni ranged from Mechanics to Optics, Acoustics and Thermography. Especially fascinating to the participants was the introduction of the app 'Sensor Kinetic', which allows to access the raw data from the sensors on the device. This is invaluable for developers who need accurate measurements of sensor outputs in various situations to write their apps, but its power can be harnessed by students doing physics in the classroom. Examples of ideas for this ranged from measuring g by dropping a smartphone in a polystyrene beans box to SHM experiments by hanging the phone on a spring.The teachers also looked at great accessories like the IR camera FLIR ONE and some excellent examples of how it can be used to help learners understand thermographs.

About 130 teachers of physics attended the workshops over the two days and the results were really promising, because they could go back to their schools with ideas, resources and tools they could use the very next day.