Tuesday, April 17th
Introduction to Comenius University and Faculty of Natural Sciences
Welcome by Faculty representative – professor BIELIK – vice dean for research and project activities
Comenius University in Bratislava is the oldest university in Slovakia, founded near the beginning of the 20th century. The faculty of natural sciences includes geography, geology, environmental science, biology and chemistry. Teachers for science are trained within the faculty, rather than I a separate education department, very different from the UK.
Visit to in-service teacher training sessions – Modernization of Educational Programme (MVP)
We visited sessions were in-service training was taking place, with ten teachers working on laptops with a trainer with an interactive whiteboard. This modernisation program is to update the current teachers on new teaching practices and the use of ICT in class.
Didactic activities in science – class observation
We visited several lectures and seminar groups of students in psychology, geography and education. Students were presenting to each other in one session, in another a more traditional lecture was in progress. One of the groups of students we spoke to said they all used mobile phones, Facebook and twitter to communicate with each other but none were using laptops to take notes in the seminar. I saw only one student with a laptop in a lecture, and in the geography lecture the students appeared to be colouring in a photocopied map to show different demographic areas. Otherwise note taking was in exercise books or on A4 paper. All the students seemed very young, there didn’t seem to be any mature students like myself, or the other students on our course n the UK. This seemed to be because the courses were part of an undergraduate programme, not a stand alone masters programmes like our own.
There was eduroam in several places around the building and students seemed to be working in the corridors on laptops where I could find a wifi network. Similar to the student accommodation we are staying in which has free Ethernet in our rooms, but judging by the number of students in the lobby using the eduroam, they perhaps don’t have Internet access in their own rooms.
1 hour walking guided tour of Bratislava historical sights
Great walking tour and visit to the Castle overlooking the old city. We also bought a weekly pass for the bus and tram for €15 (so cheap!) and took a look inside the cathedral where 19 Hapsberg kings were crowned. We had some wonderful hot chocolate – very thick, velvety and strong, like melted dark chocolate.