Discover Sensors (DS) promotes inquiry based science teaching and learning with Junior Certificate science teachers. Fundamental to our project is the DS Framework of Inquiry Based Science Teaching and Learning. It was developed and trialled by our science teacher facilitators in conjunction with CASTEL in DCU for use by science teachers.
Formative assessment methods and tools form a major part of the Discover Sensors programme. We have developed assessment booklets which seek to inform the teacher (and student) of the student understanding for all of the junior certificate science topics. These can be found in the teacher area of the website.
We are currently piloting a 4 year programme of CPD for junior Cert science teachers. Our school project groups are currently; Kildare VEC (9 schools), Louth VEC (6 schools), Kildare Secondary Schools (6 Schools) and Co. Cork VEC (11 schools). All these groups are at various stages of the 4 year programme.
The Programme of CPD takes a blended approach - face to face sessions are supported by many on-line resources (exemplar frameworks for junior certificate topics, stimuli to engage students, data sets and video tutorials among others).
Discover Sensors has also developed a science teacher community of practice. Through the forum in the teacher area of the website, registered teachers can discuss any issues and share best practice.
Teachers who are not currently taking part in a project group can register through the website to access all the resources. To do this they must use their email address and an Irish secondary school roll number.
The DS framework can be used for subjects other than science and has been successfully adapted by technology teachers in Co Louth for use with those subjects.
For the first time this year, we are partnering with University of Limerick and NUI Maynooth to introduce our Framework approach to teaching and making all the resources available to BScEd students in those colleges.