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+++ We are very happy to have had you all with us in Cologne +++

EUniWell Teacher Education Academy

All EUniWell partner universities offered funding opportunities for a stay at Cologne from 13 to 17 March 2023.
The international students resp. scholars, who have visited us at the University of Cologne, were invited to the Ecologic Rhine Station. This extracurricular place of learning moors in a crucial position. Scientists monitor the invasion of neozootical organisms into the Rhine as well as the influence of climate change, pollution and microplastics. To make the work of the scientists tangible, a large Science Lab for inclusive school classes and teacher training is installed in the Ship’s Main Deck.
Learn more...

Some Impressions of our last Exchange Program from Mid-March 2023 (English):

On board of the Science Lab Rhine Station:

EUniWell students and scholars worked on assigned tasks in the Science Lab, communicated their findings, and jointly developed responsible strategies for their future leadership in science and teaching. During the stay in Cologne, also regional schools were visited.

Find out more about our Maritime Makerspace (German with English Subtitles):

About Science Lab(s) at the University of Cologne

The overall concept "Science Lab" is composed of many individual labs that correspond to each other in their basic structure: Based on their previous theoretical knowledge and practical experience, student teachers plan, implement and evaluate science-oriented teaching arrangements for students of different school types and grades in a didactically supervised setting at non-school learning sites.

In addition to the increased use of digital media for lesson design and the didactic preparation of learning content, another focus of all Science Labs is on a consciously designed approach to heterogeneity (internal differentiation) and an interdisciplinary orientation.

Developed, produced and tested by students in the Science Labs

Virtual Reality

Figure: A mixed group of students of physics teaching and students of business informatics explain their first idea for setting up the flow simulation, which builds on the experiences with the flow channel in the 1st funding phase. (Left in the picture: Dr. Paul Benölken from the VR Lab of the Regional Computing Center RRZK. Third from left: Dipl.-Biol. Maik Schössow from the Science Labs of the Zukunftsstrategie Lehrer*innenbildung).

Currently, five coordinated Science Labs courses are taking place, using the experience gained with the flow channel to generate a realistic simulation of the underwater world of the Rhine in Cologne:

  1. A seminar "Developing with Game Engines" in the VR Lab of the Regional Computing Center of the University of Cologne (RRZK), in which student teachers work together with students of the Business Informatics program to create a computer simulation of the flow conditions in the Rhine near the Ecological Rhine Station.
  2. A seminar in the media lab of physics education, in which student teachers of various subjects create school-related work and information materials for students and teachers in dialogue with the students in the RRZK.
  3. A design thinking seminar in which students of the Mercator Institute for German as a Second Language ("DaZ: Deutsch als Zweitsprache") together with student teachers of mathematics and physics will conduct interviews with pupils about their ideas of the flow conditions in the Rhine and their influence on the animal world and test the prototypes from seminars 1 and 2 in school practice.
  4. The module "Science Lab Rhine Station" with students in the Master of Education for grammar schools and comprehensive schools as well as vocational colleges with biology as a subject, in which the students test and reflect on the created simulation with students on the Rhine Station.
  5. The module "Science Lab E-Teaching" with students in the Master of Education for grammar schools and comprehensive schools as well as vocational colleges with biology as subject, who test the simulation themselves, check it scientifically and generate suggestions for improvement for seminar 1.

During the shipyard stay of the Ecological Rhine Station, a new room will be created by converting the former workshop - the "Holo Deck" - where the simulation "Virtual Rhine Riverbed" will be set up and used in direct relation to the spatially close flow channel.

Flow channel

We receive special support from the Joachim Herz Foundation in Hamburg. Based on the success of the Future Strategy for Teacher Education (Zukunftsstrategie Lehrer*innenbildung) and the already visible success of the project, we have received funding for materials and WHK funds for a continuing project. In this project, professional computer graphic artists will produce high-quality computer models - so-called assets - of animals, plants and soil objects, with which the results of the students from the Science Labs courses will appear competitive with modern computer games. In this way, the simulations produced by students in the Science Labs will find their way onto the game consoles of young people, where they will be used as educational games (serious games). This is a considerable added value and gain for the overall project, especially with regard to the dissemination possibilities.

Wind tunnel

Closely related to the flow around bodies in water is the flow around bodies in air. The difference: water can be seen, felt and grasped, and children have an unconscious understanding that water carries them - whether statically by swimming in the water or dynamically by "surfing" above the water surface.

The situation is completely different with air. The fact that a 100-ton commercial airliner can fly in the air despite its heavy weight is intuitively incomprehensible. In contrast to a water skier or surfer on a wave, the fact that the aircraft pushes 500 tons of air downwards every second and thus generates dynamic lift is not apparent. This creates uncertainty, lack of understanding and ultimately sometimes even fear of flying.

At the Ecological Rhine Station, the wind tunnel and the current channel are therefore used in close interaction with each other. In scientific settings we investigate how the interaction can lead to a deeper understanding of lift and drag in different media.
These competences are not only necessary for the understanding of means of transport such as airplanes, ships and cars - in short, everything that moves through air or water - but also for the developments of renewable energy conversion plants such as wind turbines, pumped storage power plants or tidal power plants. That's why we use a second wind tunnel on an ongoing basis in the "MINT Makerspace". Here, students develop their own components on the computer for lighter, quieter and more efficient wind turbines, cars, watercraft and aircraft, which are tested in the wind or flow channel.

A scientific testing tool (Flip-CoIn: https://zus.uni-koeln.de/flip-coin.html) is used to provide teachers with feedback on the learning gains of their teaching interventions and is continually being further developed.

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