Thanks to teachers and Go-Lab users, our Sharing and Support platform (golabz.eu) currently counts more than 1000 Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILSs). As the 1000th ILS has been published, we conducted an interview with its author –Alvaro Barbosa, a teacher from Portugal. Here is what Alvaro had to say about his Go-Lab experience!
How did Go-Lab influence your decision to create your own ILS?
The inexistence of an ILS addressing the topic I wanted my students to work on was, in fact, the main reason for the creation of my ILS. Therefore, I had to get down to work and look for the right tools to achieve my goal.
Have you participated in any Go-Lab training (face-to-face or online)?
I took part in a training course (face-to-face) held by NUCLIO- Interactive Astronomy Center, which lasted from December 2018 till May 2019 and included the production of an ILS and its consequent implementation.
What criteria did you choose to build your ILS on? Have your students’ preferences influenced your choice?
The selected criteria for creating the ILS were the physics topic that I wanted to work with my students, falling bodies, and the existence of a suitable online lab. During the class session, using the inquiry methodology, I was able to guide the students, allowing them to choose their path instead of pointing them in the right way.
Was developing your ILS challenging?
The first experience with a new tool is not always easy. For that reason, I considered the help of the ILS trainers essential, not only for the explanations and suggestions provided but also for the encouragement in difficult times.
Did you implement your ILS in the classroom? If yes, how have students reacted?
The ILS was implemented in the classroom and the student's reaction was excellent. The students were very interested in the inquiry methodology and even asked to use it more often, especially in more practical topics, which are harder to explain in a real lab. They particularly enjoyed the freedom given to them to conduct their own research as well as the ability to learn with their own mistakes.
Which topics have you chosen to cover for the classroom implementation and was your choice of an ILS connected to your curriculum?
The topic I chose, falling bodies, is an important topic for the 10th-grade curriculum. So yes, I covered a topic from the curriculum.
Have your students become more interested in science as a result of this activity?
I believe so, as students generally tend to become more interested whenever there is a lab activity. However, not all topics can be supported by a lab activity. Through ILS labs we can overcome that limitation and keep students interested in science. I am sure they became more attracted to science as they were able to conduct an experiment, for example, on the Moon, which wouldn't otherwise be possible.
What would be your advice to teachers who are eager to start creating their own ILSs, but are hesitating?
I can say that feeling apprehensive and hesitant is normal when working with a new tool for the first time. Therefore, my advice to my colleagues is to create, experiment and try out without any fear. Your students will certainly help you to turn your ILS into a fantastic tool for learning science.
Check out the ILS here.