The partners in the ESTEAM project found out once again that time proverbially flies. The months between the last testing of the ready-made exercises in the form of worksheets in May and their re-testing in the mobile application went by in no time. The autumn months saw the second pilot testing of the mobile application - this time with tablets.
Once again, the primary school pupils in the three participating countries - Slovenia, Portugal and Norway - took a field trip. The first testing was carried out by the Črni Vrh nad Idrijo Primary School (Slovenia) on a cold sunny autumn day. With the support of the Idrija Geopark, and accompanied by their teachers, the 22 pupils again took to the Karst forest learning trail to research and solve exercises in the field of geology, flora and fauna by means of a mobile app. In spite of the initial hiccups with installing the application on the tablets, the testing
continued smoothly and the students unanimously asserted that it was more fun and more interesting as compared to worksheets. They were enthusiastic about doing it again.
A Norwegian elementary school followed. On October 23rd, twenty pupils with accompanying teachers and the staff of the Magma Geopark tested ready-made tasks on their mobile devices in the vicinity of Hestnes along the route with the same name. Even though the day was marked by rain and strong wind, it did not spoil the cheerful atmosphere in Norway.
Portugal was the last to test the tasks and the mobile app on November 20th. The staff of the Naturtejo Geopark, the teachers and 35 pupils went to the idyllic village of Monsanto to test the tasks on their mobile apps. Also in Portugal, they resisted the occasional rain, but were happy to see some sunshine at the end. Children nevertheless enjoyed their day outdoors.
Through pilot testing we aimed to obtain feedback from pupils and students about the designed tasks, the suitability of teaching methods and selected activities in nature, and about the integrated use of the mobile application. The research showed that both pupils and students greeted learning in nature with a mobile application with enthusiasm. They also made many suggestions for improvement, which are of utmost importance for our future work regarding the design of the mobile app.
Project activities shall be carried out throughout the winter months. Together with our partners, we shall finalize the design of the mobile application and provide education to all participating partners about the use of the mobile application in science teaching.