Material Dimension

Research – practice interactive session Topic 2: Usability of internationally developed materials

Moderator: Marta Romero Ariza, University of Jaén, Spain

Input: Michiel Doorman on the design of PD Materials;

Country presentations combining researcher and practitioner perspective

  • Malta: Josette Farrugia (University of Malta) and James Calleja (Head of Department for Mathematics. St Clare College, Pembroke)
  • The Netherlands Michiel Doorman (Utrecht University) and Dédé de Haan (NHL Hogeschool Leeuwarden, the Netherlands).

In recent years, many EU projects have been funded in which materials for classroom practice and teacher professional development (PD) courses for inquiry-based science and mathematics teaching have been produced. These materials are usually developed by international consortia of researchers and practitioners. This ensures that materials are of high-quality and represent cutting edge research and practices. At the same time, internationally developed materials need to be usable in local contexts which are coined by different systems, structures and cultures.

In this session we will explore these issues by presenting an example of internationally developed PD materials. It will give insight into the developmental process that aims to ensure adaptability and usability in several contexts. After this presentation participants will have the opportunity to work on the module themselves and explore the usability in their contexts. Participants will then have the chance to experience how these materials have been used and adapted in local PD courses of two countries: The Netherlands and Malta.

With these activities we aim to better understand how to design such materials for an international community (involving a research–practice spiral model) and to better understand how pre-designed PD materials and experiences with them can become powerful tools for PD in different national contexts. Furthermore, we will discuss the challenges of using materials developed in other countries and how these challenges can be overcome. We will also discuss what issues of inquiry-based learning (IBL) can be addressed with such materials and how to stimulate a creative use of them to foster IBL in science classrooms.

 Questions for group discussion after experiencing a module for PD:

  • What are your views about the module?
  • What are your views about the structure of the module (analysis – implementation – reflection) for addressing IBL with teachers in your country?
  • From your experience what adaptation would be necessary in order for the module to be used in your country?
  • Which features of this module make it internationally usable? (not only in your country)

 Questions for plenary discussion:

  • How can PD materials support PD facilitators across Europe in providing high-quality PD about IBL?
  • What criteria or features of materials need to be fulfilled to be of use for others?
  • To what extent are/should materials be: Country specific? Context specific? Subject specific?
  • What are the challenges of using materials developed in other countries and how can these challenges be overcome?



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The project mascil has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement n°320693