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«February 2015 Volume 5 Issue 1 ISSN: 2146-7463 JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIES IN THE WORLD February 2015, ...»

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Starting from fact that there are great difference between Member States (“Key Data on Early Education and Care in Europe”, 2014) in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), the NEST (Network of Staff and Teachers in Childcare Service ) project has established a network in ECEC staff development The aims of

the NEST project were as follows:

• to establish working groups in ECEC topics and issues, especially curriculum development

• to set up an online-based pool of learning resources, information and sharing for ECEC workforce and institutions at all levels in EU

• to build community, promote peer learning and support among ECEC staff

• to support and enlarge the community, through dissemination and exploitation of results

• to establish an effective system for monitoring and evaluate the network The impact is envisaged at 3 levels: ECEC workforce, engaged in EU community of practice, with opportunities of exchange, peer learning, access to learning resources; Researchers in the field of curriculum development, to define a potential EU-ECEC curriculum; Policy makers, to raise awareness and point out the need to work toward a common vision and provision for ECEC.

THE NEST PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT

To realize above described aims of the project the web based platform was conceptualized, developed and tested. In the conceptualization of platform we tried to fulfil the user needs as much as possible. From technical point of view we decided to use Wordpress based platform. The developed platform is multilingual in following languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian and Slovenian, so that users from participating countries can use the services offering by NEST platforms in native language.

The design and navigation on platform is simple and it is easy for user to find topics, in which they are interested in.

If the user wants to participate actively in groups and not only to read materials it has to register. The registration process is simple and easy to realize.

Fig. 1: NEST project

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The platform is offering as could be seen from Fig. 1 the following services:

• Basic information abou project

• Community which consists from groups, members, forums Fig 2

• NEST library offering: serching in library, good practices, ECEC library and NEST publications

• International communites opportunity for members to exchange in English language.

Fig. 2: NEST groups During the project life the NESt platform has been carefully tested and used by several users from participating countries.

RESULTS The intensive use of platform started in 2nd year of the project. Till now 11 groups has been established with 264 members. There are 99 forums open Fig 3 in which several topics have been discussed.

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There is an international community on platform, which provides communication in English so that participants from different countries can participate and exchange the expereince and best practices.

One of most useful service on platform is NEST library offering articles about good practices, NEST publications, ECEC publication and serching for docuemnts, which were collected during the project by different users of NEST platform. There is 479 documents covering different ECEC topics, which were ciollected so far.

A specific questionnaire was designed to ask ECEC stakeholders about the NEST platform and about themes related to ECEC.

91% of the total respondents replied yes to the question Do you think that the NEST platform and network is a good way to support the professionals that work in ECEC around Europe?

When asking the respondents about Organisations within their territory that would be interested in the work carried out by NEST, mainly regional and local organisations were mentioned followed by Universities and NGOs. Worth mentioning that many of the respondents of the ES survey were from Latin America and showed the interest of the organisations in their countries (Honduras, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Dominican Republic…) When asked to Go to the NEST Forum http://nest-project.eu/community/forums/, take a look to the TOPICS (in your language) and EXPLAIN TO US IF YOU FIND THEM INTERESTING or less, most of the participants found the topics dealt in the NEST community quite interesting As to the topics, the highest ratings correspond to skills related emotional and social skills (early development) followed by “resources and practice examples” and areas of development (early development). The table 1

presents the highest ratings, out of 5, highly interesting:

Table 1: Topics with highest rating

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There are a lot of visitors coming to NEST website. The traffic on site for year 2014 is shown on Fig 4.

Fig.4: NEST traffic for 2014 There were almost 33.000 unique visits, more than 1.000.000 hits and almost 50 GB of bandwidth. Most interesting document for the users GUIDA AGLI ESERCIZI DI LOGOPEDIA PER BAMBINI: ELENCO COMPLETO DEGLI ESERCIZI DI LOGOPEDIA E RELATIVI ESEMPI has been downloaded 15.000 times.

These data show that platform is very useful and that user from participating and other countries are using it.





CONCLUSION The Early Education and Care is one of most important part of education and human development (Fleer, 2010). The young children’s development and learning has recently taken on new importance (Snow,2008). In the NEST project the web based platform has been developed with the aim to support of ECEC staff development. This multilingual web platform has been accepted by many users in countries participating in project. The necessary conditions for sustainability have been provided so it is expected that it will grow and will be used in other countries too.

WJEIS’s Note: This article was presented at World Conference on Educational and Instructional Studies WCEIS, 06- 08 November, 2014, Antalya-Turkey and was selected for publication for Volume 5 Number 1 of WJEIS 2015 by WJEIS Scientific Committee.

REFERENCES Fleer, M. (2010). Early learning and development: Cultural-historical concepts in play. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

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Key Data on Early Education and Care in Europe (2014, October 15) retrieved from http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/166EN.pdf Snow, C. (2008). Early childhood assessment why, what, and how. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

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Abstract Physics lessons are known to be difficult for vocational high school learners because it requires abstract concepts and mathematical procedures. In this study, we investigate the effect of informal learning environment to understand magnetism and sound waves subjects on eleventh grade students. Two classes of eleventh grade students consisting of 12 and 13 individuals were selected. On the Expansion step of 4E learning models, the students visited the Izmir Karşıyaka Bahçeşehir College of Science Museum to comprehend the knowledge through daily lives. At the end of the practice, students’ learning levels were evaluated by 20 multiple-choice achievement tests involving the magnetism and sound waves subjects and their attitudes to physics lessons. The behavior of the students in informal learning environments was observed during the fieldtrip. When academic achievement test results compared with the scores obtained from previous achievement tests, achievement test results increased and there was a significant increase in attitudes towards physics lessons. Direct observation showed that the students' learning requests were positive.

Key Words: 4E learning model, informal learning, vocational high school learners.

INTRODUCTION

Almost everybody thinks that all problems faced today are mainly related with education. Formal education institutions inevitably have responsibility in this context. Eliminating those problems in curricula for related disciplines we use in educational institutions is only one main objective. In that purpose, the goal of physics, chemistry, and biology curricula implemented in our schools is to help bring up individuals who research, inquire, scrutinize, make association between daily life and subject of science, who can use scientific method for solving problems faced in all areas of life, see the world from a scientist’s perspective, and both understand and use appropriately nature of science and related principles, laws and theories (Çepni and Çil, 2009). As a result, it becomes a necessity to bring up “science literate” students in relevant fields of sciences and prepare students to upper level of physics, chemistry and biology education. Individuals who are capable of researching-inquiring, making effective decisions, solving problems, are self-confident, open to collaboration, are able to communicate effectively, and learn lifelong with the idea of sustainable development possess knowledge, skills, positive attitude, perception and values regarding sciences as well as understanding and psychomotor skills concerning the relationship of sciences with technology, society and environment. Students, in return, feel responsible for solving social problems and propose individual or collaborative alternative solutions by using their creative and analytic thinking skills.

Besides, science is not just a collection of facts about the world, but also experimental criteria, critical, creative, logical, reflective thinking and continuous query is based on a research and ways of thinking. As a consequence

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of such a way of thinking, individuals learn through direct access to the right information discovery, whether to revise the outlook on the world we learn to restructure and develop the growing enthusiasm for learning is very important. In our age when such behaviours and all other things rapidly change, especially due to daily increase of technological innovations, it has recently become more complex to interpret and learn life. There are not sufficient areas available for individuals’ practising their knowledge acquired through education in real life in societies. In the world of science and technology, students cannot acquire knowledge and skills necessary for life with sciences knowledge taught in school. Furthermore, it can be argued that lack of opportunities to transfer knowledge learned at school to real life is the most important problem faced in science education.

Leading cause of this problem is placing emphasis on purely theoretical knowledge without association with the real world. In fact, real problems and questions should lead the way for science education (Can, 2004, cited by Yılmaz and Huyugüzel Çavaş, 2006). Derived from such problems, the “constructive theory” allows development of thinking skills of students as it promotes discovery, research and direct experience with materials. It encourages learners to interact with each other for uncovering their knowledge (Brooks and Brooks, 1999). In this way, students gain experience regarding the concept they will learn. In order to put this theory into practice in formal education institutions, various instruction models like Learning Cycle, 4E, 5E and 7E come to the forefront. The literature provides abundance of studies revealing that they have a positive effect on students’ learning at all ages.

In this study, the instruction model 4E was used in this study. It is called 4E due to four steps starting with “E” in English (Explore, Explain, Expansion, and Evaluation). The first E stands for the first step, which is exploring.

This stage includes activities, experiments or expeditions comprising of collection and recording of data obtained by students using scientific processes such as observation, measurement, experiment, interpreting, prediction and setting a model in a learning environment organized by teacher. This step aims at enhancing students’ learning departing from their own experiences. In this part of the model, the teacher provides instructions for an experiment, activity or expedition to be made without presenting theoretical information.

Then, the teacher observes and listens to the students. The instructions and research questions provided at discovery stage are expected to encourage students to think and make comment. Its purpose is to get students to interact with their classmates, make predictions and hypothesize from the activities. This stage is followed by explaining. Students analyse the data they discover at this stage. The answers and predictions they give departing from instructions and/or research questions are analysed individually or in groups and necessary corrections are made. Students are expected to explain and define concepts of science with their expressions, which is the crucial part. Unless they provide expected predictions or explanations, the teacher ask guiding questions so that they can achieve the aim. Once all students construct the concept and explain their interpretations, the teacher reveals and summarizes scientific meaning of the concept. The third E refers to the stage of expansion, in which teacher sets learning environments allowing application of the concepts in several places. The applications are used to help students expand their interpretations and apply it to their daily life.

The concept can be applied to various situations such as doing additional experiments, reading various sources and books, solving relevant problems, computer applications, field studies, films, videos and demonstrations.

The number of activities which can be done at that point is infinite. Lastly, in evaluation stage, students are expected to reveal their understanding or change their way of thinking or behaviours rather than traditional end-unit evaluation. Mostly, alternative evaluation methods should be used (Marek and Cavallo, 1997, cited by Yılmaz, Huyugüzel Çavaş, 2006; Özden 2008, cited by Demirci and Özmen, 2012; Türkmen, 2006; Türkmen and Usta, 2007).



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