«Schools remain closed, but school education doesn’t stop».
This is a message that has been conveyed to us over the past weeks, asking schools to increase their level of inventiveness and innovation and to prioritise the use of digital communication, involving teachers and families in remote learning.
A new didactic proposal
During this difficult period, the University of Tuscia, along with the University Museum System, the Botanical Garden Angelo Rambelli and the Museum Collection of Entomology, was present in the Tuscia’s territory working in collaboration with primary and secondary schools to present a new didactic offer, in order to keep students interested in the world that surrounds them. This new experience allowed schools to access information and technical insights that until now could only be guaranteed through guided tours of the museum structures and with practical experiences in laboratories.
The initiative was done streaming lessons by qualified operators, with the involvement of students from some primary and secondary school through the Google Meet platform.
During these meetings, students had the opportunity to take advantage of didactic material created by the University Museum System in collaboration with the State Artistic High School F. Orioli of Viterbo, as part of a project financed by the Ministery of the Instruction University and Research (MIUR) in 2016, named The network of the Italian University Museums for permanent orientation to the method and scientific culture.
The didactic material has been accessible to students of differen order and grade schools with the aim of introducing them on the interactions between the Plantae and Animalia Kingdoms, with particular reference to the relationship between insects and plants during pollination. The main focus was on the strategies developed by both insects and plants in order to facilitate the natural pollination process that is at the base of plants’ reproductions and dissemination in nature.
The need for new means of communication
In spite of the emergency, this online teaching experience has helped to keep alive the interest young people have in nature, while we wait to welcome them back in the botanical garden, laboratories and our museums. The response from schools has been extremely positive and many are the teachers who have come to know about the initiative through the media or word of mouth and have requested to participate.
The need for new means of communication like augmented and virtual realities has come to the foreground in recent months; these are aspects of the musealization that we have been taking into consideration for some time and have now become more and more indispensable. This raises questions about the future approach to learning, whether we will experience a return to the past or an ever-growing promotion of distant education. Probably a little bit of both, and therefore we must move in this direction in order to make the most of the tools available and to better promote our museum’s heritage.