Today I attended day two of the iWish event @ CIT. Proceedings commenced this morning shortly after 9am and the four groups (A, B, C, D) were divided across four activities – one group went to the chemistry lab, another went to the physics lab and the other two groups went to the Creative building.

Creative

In the Creative Building, the students were taken to a large seating area where they sat through two presentations – the first was from a girl called Anne-marie and she gave the students a background on who she is, what she studied, where she worked and what she currently works on. The girls seem to be engaged and perhaps the morning is the best time to have talks as the girls are most alert at this time. The area where the talk was held wasn’t ideal as there was people walking in and out and talking at the back of the room.

There was a changeover half way through and the second talk was from one of Anne-marie’s colleagues, John and his presentation was much more specific with much more detail about a specific topic related to lighting. It wasn’t personal and it was much more teaching based. A couple of students were seen taking notes in their notebook during the talks. Restlesness increased during the second talk and students could be seen shuffling in their seats. No questions were asked by students at the end of either talk.

The large group was then divided into 3 and they were brought to view experiments in the labs. In each lab the studenst watched the speakers interact with the equipment but they didn’t interact themselves, possibly because the labs are quite small and the equipment is very expensive. In the first lab, there was an issue with the small screen as not all students got to see the experiment properly. The students were given chance to view screen after demo but few did and again questions weren’t asked. No questions were asked in any of the three talks but time was a huge issue as one of the labs ran over time by approximately 10 minutes which delayed that group of students. It was hard to know if the students were fully engaged in any of the talks as they didn’t interact with each other, the equipment or the speaker. The experience was quite rushed for them. After the experiments,  the students who were finished first sat in the seating area and it could be seen that segmented into smaller groups of 2 or 3 who already knew each other and one girl was visibly left on her own.

Chemistry Lab

  • practical lab
  • divided into groups of 5 – perhaps the group size was too big as there wasn’t enough involved in the experiment for 5 – 3 may have been a better number – one filling the container, one placing it into the machine and one recording the results
  • handout provided to each student detailing the task at hand. The tassk was introduced by the facilitator
  • the lab was explained in full first by the facilitator – steps, goals, expected outcomes
  • time was an issue as he had to go through it very quickly to stick with the time table
  • some students were seen getting “stuck in” and using the equipment from the beginnining while others needed instructions and they waited to be shown by the facilitator – the setting is crucial as lab coats and the lab setting could affect the student’s confidence and their willingness to get involved in the task
  • groups left alone began exploring for themselves – began pressing buttons on the machine, trying to figure out the lab for themselves rather than waiting for instruction
  • all students were able to finish the experiment once they were shown what to do
  • Some girls completed the experiment quickly and immediately took out their phones, playing around with them, taking selfies etc.
  • all students had to fill out a worksheet each, this was to ensure all students were paying attention
  • the lab results were not as expected – the facilitator explained that they should have got a straight line graph and if they didn’t it was because they mixed up the order of their formulas which suggests they weren’t paying full attention
  • facilitator explained pratical uses of this experiment in industry as that wasn’t clear from the outset
  • most students didn’t fill out the line graph until they were reminded to do so, they engaged in a lot of chatting

Physics Lab

  • group was divided into two – it was supposed to be two groups of 10 but friends tended to stick together so it ended up being 11 and 9
  • lecturer/facilitator was much more involved – began session by asking the group questions and getting them involved – she also gave a background on what she does
  • the students were first shown what they had to do and they then worked in pairs (one group of 3) to complete the experiment
  • for the last 5 minutes of the experiment, th facilitator got the students to look at each others results and they analysed them together.
  • 2 per group was a good number as one was in charge of continuosly stirring and the other was responsible for the computer work and addinig the salt after every 100 seconds.
  • the students could be seen talking to each other and appeared to be enjoying the workshop
  • the facilitator checked to make sure they were all getting on okay but she left them work away themselves
  • she again asked questions at the end with regards to their results and she asked did they have any questions for her but they asked none. Perhaps she should have asked did they have questions when they were going aorund to each group as some girls may be too shy/quiet to ask questions in front of others
  • the lab was finshed about 5 minutes before the next lab so we took a visit to the fish tank – room for improvisation – the girls weren’t waiting around

The Architecture Factory

  • split into 2 groups of 40 and then each group was divided into five groups of 8
  • Practical workshop
  • each group sat around a table and they were asked to assign a group leader for each table
  • the task was to design a house for a family of five and they weree given papers, scissors, rulers etc to complete the task
  • different roles outlined for the different members of each group – some groups were better at deligating the roles than others – it may be better if the roles were fiven titles and then they may have seperated them out better and faster
  • a very brief outline was provided by one of the facilitators – they were encouraged to work from the brief
  • there were 4 facilitators moving between groups giving advice
  • the leader was more apparent in some groups over others – they could be seen talking and suggesting tasks
  • one facilitator was involved with a particular  group for more than 10 minutes – the group looked withdrawn, not interacing or speaking to each other, have not drawn anything yet. The group appeared disinterested and they didn’t actively start working until the facilitator leave
  • it wasn’t an exploratory work shop – there was a right and wrong answer at the end and this may put students off
  • the main facilitator was very loud and overpowering – stopped student asking a question – very time pressed – seems like a stressful exercise for students
  • most students engaged – with one or two exceptions

Boston Scientific

  • students asked questions and seemed interested in what the facilitators were saying and doing – they asked questions about leaving cert points and subjects etc.
  • each student received free merchandise

 

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