GO-LAB MOOC – AN ONLINE COURSE FOR TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIELD OF INQUIRY-BASED SCIENCE EDUCATION
In the last decades, multiple innovative concepts and tools have arisen aiming at improving school education and making the learning process more efficient and motivating for the students. One of such concepts is the Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) extending frontal instruction with practice-oriented, explorative activities and supporting students in gaining hands-on experience of doing science. The implementation of IBSE-methods in school education receives governmental support in many European countries. Schools are equipped with computer classes, modern electronic devices, and high-speed internet connection. Teachers are trained in the use of learning technology and are assisted in the integration of technology-enhanced learning activities in their teaching practice.
To address this development, the EU-project Go-Lab (Global Online Science Labs for Inquiry Learning at School, www.go-lab-project.eu) creates pedagogical and technical framework (the Go-Lab Portal, www.golabz.eu) providing teachers together with their students with access to remote and virtual science laboratories, which can be used in structured Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILSs). In scope of the Go-Lab project, teachers are trained in creation of meaningful pedagogic scenarios containing inquiry-based learning activities with online labs and in the use of the Go-Lab Portal to technically implement these scenarios. Moreover, teachers can access supportive content (like guidelines and tutorials) and receive personal online support at the Go-Lab Tutoring Platform (tutoring.golabz.eu).
In order to mainstream the IBSE-approach and make its methods and tools available for every teacher wanting to use them, it is important to provide training that is independent of funding possibilities as well as time and place circumstances. For this reason, the Go-Lab team extends its training offer by creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called “Using online labs in the classroom: an introductory course for teachers”. Thus, teachers who are not able to attend presence training get an opportunity to complete it online at no cost. The Go-Lab MOOC provides introduction to the inquiry learning approach and its application in school education, trains the course participants in creation of lesson scenarios and corresponding Inquiry Learning Spaces, and represents several lesson scenarios using online labs.
Importantly, the course itself follows the inquiry learning approach providing not only instructional materials, but also a framework to try out online labs and inquiry apps, as well as to create own ILSs that can be later used in the classroom. The Go-Lab MOOC is hosted at a MOOC-platform (www.opencourseworld.de), providing access to the video lectures and other educational materials structured in learning modules. Each learning module is connected to the Go-Lab Portal giving the participants a possibility to access ready-to-use ILS-templates relevant for this module and to create own ones. Moreover, the course is connected to the Tutoring Platform, where the participants can receive support from the experts and collaborate with each other on the MOOC topics.
This paper represents a concept of an inquiry-oriented Massive Open Online Course for teacher professional development, discusses particularities of the content development and technical implementation of such course on the example of the Go-Lab MOOC, and outlines the future development and exploitation perspectives.