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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.

Italy, France and UK: Coming together for a teacher training in Naples

From 11-12 September Science on Stage Italy organised an Italian-French teacher training on 'Smartphone & Science' at the Città della Scienza in Naples. Based on the brochure iStage 2 various workshops on the use and benefit of smartphones in science teaching were offered. Course instructors were Jean-Luc Richter from Science on Stage France as well as Lorenza Resta and Immacolata Ercolino from Science on Stage Italy who assisted in the development of the brochure. As you can see by the pictures, the teacher training was not only very well-attended but the participants also enjoyed themselves at the workshops. Also invited to Naples was Alessio Bernadelli from Science on Stage UK: As part of the Science on Stage follow-up programme 'Take a workshop to your country' he presented his project 'Developing Science understanding through misconceptions' from the Science on Stage festival 2015 in London.

iStage workshops at GIREP Conference in Wrocław July 6-10

GIREP, the International Research Group on Physics Teaching, regularly arranges international meetings of concerned individuals to encourage the renewal of Physics teaching. Last July the GIREP Conference 2015 took place at the University of Wrocław in Poland.

Maria Dobkowska from Science on Stage Poland and Gerhard Rath from Science on Stage Austria were taking part at the conference and presented two workshops based on the brochure iStage 2 to an international group of participants. The idea of the iStage booklets raised a great amount of interest and there was a strong demand on the brochures.

In her workshop Maria Dobkowska presented a classroom practice on 'Oscillatory motion – visualization and analysis': Using accelerometer applications on their smartphones the participants collected data on oscillation, transformed the save data and step by step learned how to create their own graphs. In the acoustic part of the workshop the participants calibrated their smartphones and measured the different volume of sound spectra created by music instruments, replayed voices of birds and cicadas. By using rotating whistles the participants were also shown how to observe the Doppler effect with their students in a simple and effective way.

Gerhard Rath presented a workshop on distance measurements with smartphones. He showed the participants how to use various apps in order to measure an unknown distance. In this way students can try to investigate for example the height of the sun and compare the results with given values or other results of measurements. In another part of the workshop Rath demonstrated the participants how to record a movement by using a smartphone, how to draft a acceleration diagram and analyse the motion.