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“Kuck elei!” Digital Microscopes for Teachers

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Published on Monday, 24 January 2022

The SciTeach Centre team’s new project supports Luxembourg primary teachers in integrating digital tools in science instruction.

Have you seen soil up close? Or wondered what the fibres of your sweater look like when magnified a thousand times? The Kuck elei! Project has successfully engaged 60 Luxembourg primary school teachers in exploring such questions with the use of hand-held wireless digital microscopes through a series of teacher workshops during the 2020 –2021 school year. The project, hosted by the University of Luxembourg and funded through the FNR's Promoting Science to the Public (PSP) funding stream, helped enhance science learning at the primary level through digital methods and research-based science instructional methods offered through the SciTeach Centre on the Belval campus (sciteach.uni.lu).

Digital tools, specifically hand-held microscopes and tablets pique students’ excitement and engagement in science. First-hand explorations of their own questions allow students to observe and investigate their immediate surroundings and ignite their curiosity, and also helps them understand how science works, as they engage in doing science. 

The "Kuck elei!" Project, is coordinated by Christina Siry and Sara Wilmes and developed by the SciTeach Centre Team, a group of university researchers, teacher educators, and detached classroom teachers, with a goal of providing sets of hand-held wireless digital microscopes to teachers for their classes. These instruments allow easy exploration at microscopic levels (up to 1000x magnification) and provide opportunities for new insights into textures or surfaces of objects, materials, and organisms. As teachers participated in the workshops, they received support and guidance from the SciTeach Center educators and collaboratively formulated plans to integrate the digital microscopes into inquiry-based science experiences in their own classrooms. 

Through the 60 participating teachers, approximately 900 Luxembourg primary students, ranging from Cycle 1 through Cycle 4, can benefit from the initiative.

Notably, over the 2020/2021 school Year as COVID-19 caused the cancellation of in-person teacher workshops, the SciTeach team has continued to offer teacher workshops by moving these to online formats, thereby addressing two key pandemic-related needs, namely: to continue teacher support for innovative instruction and to provide new pedagogical resources adapted to COVID-19 restrictions and to support science instruction outdoors.

Feedback from participating teachers indicated that despite the challenging conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the SciTeach Centre’s online workshops were very interactive and engaging, with many practical activities that could be directly applied in classrooms. Teacher surveys and interviews revealed that 100% of teachers responding would recommend the SciTeach workshops to colleagues, and that an overwhelming 100% of participating teachers planned to use the microscopes with their students. Overall, teachers felt the workshops and digital tools offered through the project provide support for science instruction that prioritises students doing science (observing, investigating) instead of focussing on “one right answer” or pre-scripted science experiments.

The SciTeach Centre is now in its sixth year of supporting science teaching and learning at the primary level in Luxembourg and continues to expand the forms of resources offered through the Center. The SciTeach Centre offers hands-on workshops for teachers, the loan of classroom tools and digital resources, and is currently building its online repository of open-access science pedagogical materials through ongoing financial support from the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Ministry of Education.

For more information, visit sciteach.uni.lu.

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