Áis Teagaisc don Eiceolaíocht Ardteiste/ Teaching Aid for Leaving Certificate Ecology
There is a severe dearth of teaching aids available to teachers in the Irish language, especially in science at Leaving Certificate level. This project will create a video-based teaching aid for Leaving Certificate Ecology through the medium of the Irish language. As part of their training, student teachers on the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas at NUI Galway go on field trips to beaches, woods and grasslands to see common ecology, and they do all that school students have to do on the Leaving Certificate Ecology course. These field trips will be recorded on video and used to aid exam preparation and assessment. Benefitting secondary school students, student teachers and practising teachers, this new teaching aid will be made available to Irish medium schools around the country via iTunesU, Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta and the website of an Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas.
We have linked up with a second School of Education project which is similar to our own: ‘Geography Field Study Resource’ and will share learning, pool resources and jointly disseminate the results. We look forward to the collaborative work!
Team leaders Seán Ó Grádaigh and Sinéad Ní Ghuidir had two preliminary meetings (on 14/11/12 and 19/11/12) during which it was decided to collaborate as far as possible on the two projects. Both are investigative field studies which will be filmed over the same couple of days in the spring, by the same cameraperson and it makes sense to do this and share the production, filming and editing costs.
We have had meetings with the students also (on 21/11/12). The students will undertake the content design and plan the initial draft schedule. We have agreed that the different members of the team will take on various areas of responsibility, background and preparatory work, setting learning outcomes for the field study, planning learning outcomes, worksheets, storyboards etc.
As the students will be out on teaching practice after Christmas until mid- February and as the field trips are weather dependent, actual filming will not take place until the spring. Planning and preparation will continue between this and then, with a visit from an ecology expert to support the planning – hopefully on the 4th December (tbc), and Seán and Sinéad will continue to liaise together during this initial phase.
The School of Education’s Sci Hooks project was made into a science ibook series. We intend to attract funding again this year to produce a similar iBook series. A third School of Education project, ‘Kitchen Chemistry’, has also received funding and we envisage the three teams working together to complete the whole project as a joint endeavour.
Yesterday we had a meeting regarding the ecology field trip – equipment that will be needed, times for filming, order of the day etc. We have decided that some aspects of the project will not be filmed, (kicking in the river... The water is too high and there is too much danger involved) and some still pictures will do for other aspects. Filming is provisionally to go ahead the 28th March – just waiting confirmation from cameraman, and of course this will be weather dependant.
On Thursday 28th March, a bright, bitterly cold day, five students of the DGO, three film crew from Baseplate, our resident ecology expert, a PhD student of the University, and myself as the co-ordinating staff member met in the park and ride car park, with equipment, cameras and woolly jackets!
Five segments were filmed, each student taking responsibility for one peice of equipment, with which various experiments/measurements/techniques were carried out.
- We saw the laying of quadrats in the woodlands, and Brendan demonstrated how to count the different plants and flora within them.
- Karen showed us the Longworth trap, used to catch small mammals, and we saw how to set it, disguise it, and fill it.
- Nora showed us the pan traps, making them, staking them and the result of trapping flying bugs in them.
- Caroline demonstrated how to set pitfall traps in the ground, and how to apply the capture-recapture technique to bugs.
- Nora showed how the sweep net is used, and despite the time of year, and the coldness of the day, we found spiders and flies and were able to capture some good footage for the videos.
There was good humour throughout the day, with plenty of laughs and enjoyment, and plenty was learned along the way. Joe, our camera man was fascinated with the spiders attacking one another! All of the group learned about the various techniques in action, and most importantly, they learned how to explain and demonstrate, which means that the resource created in the video will be of tremendous use to the teachers and students in the schools when it is disseminated eventually.
Plenty remains to be done before the project reaches its conclusion – we will be editing the footage, writing and recording voice over scripts, and with further funding, developing the videos into iBooks as Gaeilge!