Curriculum Innovation & Design-Based-Implementation

We are convinced that implementing cutting-edge research into the high school chemistry curriculum will lead to innovative, modern and motivating science education. Our team focuses on current socio-scientific challenges, which are highly relevant for the future generation and thus for our students. So far, we have developed hands-on experiments and teaching materials on topics such as energy harvesting / storage, synthesis & application of (organic) semiconductors and waste-water treatment. Our most prominent achievements in this research field are our low-cost OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diode – see picture above) and organic solar cells.

In our experience, developing teaching materials and handing them out to schools is not sufficient for sustainable implementation of our work. We need to convince teachers that our innovative teaching materials are of practical use and won’t fail in their classrooms. Therefore, we survey teachers’ acceptance of the materials during the development process and also after the classroom implementation. Following a Design-Based-Implementation (DBI) approach, we optimise our materials iteratively in order to increase teachers‘ acceptance.

Digital Tools in Science Education

Digitalization is currently diffusing into all parts of our life. In the near future, more and more jobs will be „digitized“ (i.e. substituted by robots or machines). Highly skilled people with a thorough ‚digital literacy‚ will be in demand. Hence, we must prepare the future generation for this digital transformation.
In 2018, the German government launched the project „DigitalPakt Schule“ to equip all schools in Germany with high-speed Wifi, tablet computers, VR glasses etc. Although this is a desirable step, it won’t be sufficient to convey a sustainable digital literacy to the students, since many in- and pre-service teachers face barriers associated with digital tools. We need to overcome these barriers and to empower the (future) teachers to embed digital tools into learning phases meaningfully.
To achieve this goal, the most important factor is to include digital tools into the pre-service teacher’s education program of the universities. Following this desideratum, we have developed and implemented a ‚digital course‘ into the curriculum of our Master program (M.Ed.). In this course, the students learned how to design a digital learning environment on a tablet computer using PREZI. Afterwards, the learning-environments were tested with refugee-students (see picture above). Using video-tutorials (provided on the tablet computers) instead of standard lab-protocols, the refugee-students were able to conduct the experiments independently and without facing any language barriers. Qualitative evaluation in a pre/post design revealed, that the pre-service teachers were more confident to apply digital tools in teaching scenario after they visited our course.