UTC Sheffield City Centre Science Department conducting virtual workshops and lessons

21 May 2020

UTC Sheffield City Centre Science Department conducting virtual workshops and lessons

UTC Sheffield City Centre has moved to online learning as a result of the current circumstances. Many of the students have successfully adapted to the change in their work and are enjoying maintaining contact with their peers and tutors, whilst studying from home.

The Science department have been running online learning lessons for their Y12 and Y13 A-Level Chemistry students since the beginning of lockdown. Dr Louise La Pensee and Kay Dulley have worked together to provide the sessions, with several of them being delivered over the bank holidays to help the students as much as possible. Alan Epton has been supporting the virtual lessons by using video clips and online articles to keep the pupils engaged.

The teachers have been working online as a pair, with one delivering the lessons and the other monitoring the chat function for those students without microphones, which has proved extremely useful. The staff members have been preparing their Y13 pupils for university courses starting in September. They have also managed to maintain contact with a Y13 student who is currently in Spain in lockdown.

The Y9 students are currently working through a ‘Design a Spaceship’ project, which involves them using both real and fictional spacecraft from films and TV series as inspiration. They have been looking at the physics behind spacecraft and have tried to incorporate this into their designs. During lockdown Y9 students have also taken part in the ‘I’m a Scientist’ programme, where they had the opportunity to speak to real scientists about their school projects. https://imascientist.org.uk/

Kay has been maintaining contact with the Y12 and Y13 students, through conducting regular workshops and tutorial style lessons. She commented: “It is a very different experience to classroom-based learning, so it’s been a huge learning curve for both the students and teachers.” Kay hopes to keep them feeling uplifted and maintain their confidence regarding their upcoming university studies. She has found reassuring them and communicating the different scenarios they might meet, in terms of starting further education, has been very important in these unprecedented times.

Louise has been teaching her students online, by using presentations and webcams to maintain a sense of interaction and involvement . Louise said: “I have been using a combination of Smart Notebook delivery, alongside PowerPoint Presentations to teach my students. My sessions are often for two hours and I have negotiated a reasonable time to teach my pupils, usually in the afternoon. I wanted to choose a suitable time for them, to ensure they are focused and engaged with the content.”

Rory Clark, also a member of the science department, has been using Microsoft OneNote and Stream with his classes, where he is able to give feedback to students via an online exercise book. He has also made presentations with commentary that pupils can watch in their own time and at their own speed which is vital for the bespoke, technical courses at the UTC.

The Science Department has acted quickly to respond to the current pandemic and are enjoying continuing to teach their students, as they feel it’s important to keep regular contact with their pupils.

Many other University Technical Colleges have also been involved in teaching students virtually. More information: https://www.utcolleges.org/utcs-go-above-and-beyond-with-virtual-classrooms/