How to make the invisible visible?
Let’s decrease the carbon dioxide concentration
to improve the learner’s attention!
We only learn well what answers the questions we ask ourselves
After the last years of pandemic, we have seen the development of carbon dioxide sensors in classrooms in order to fight against the propagation of the covid virus.
These sensors allow to alert on a too high concentration of carbon dioxide in a room, and thus on the necessity to air the room
Beyond the interest to fight against the epidemic of covid-19, limiting the concentration of CO2 would reduce the loss of attention and sleepiness of the learners.
According to Laurent Jeannin, a researcher at the University of Cergy-Pontoise and holder of a chair on the school of the future, “the falls of attention, the problems of headaches, are related to concentrations of CO2 too important”. Above 1,500 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in the air, he assures us, “there is even a decrease in cognitive abilities.
A triggering situation to develop an educational project
This observation can constitute a relevant triggering situation to implement a project approach in class.
Indeed, in the framework of the technology program in secondary school, “to develop in a collaborative way the prototype of an object in response to a need” constitutes a central skill which is worked in a recurring way.
To optimize the concentration of the learner while implementing the programs with meaningful educational activities, we have here a meaningful approach that has become obvious.
Implementation of the teaching sequence
To implement this sequence, a generic framework, which can be duplicated to other trigerring situations, has been used.
This framework is based on the work of Jorge Sanabria and proposes to define a versatile form of structure in order to develop a prototype implementing microcontroller boards.
Three key steps
A first introductory session will familiarize the learners with the problem posed, in our case establishing the relationship between a high level of CO2 and an increase in sleepiness.
In a second phase, the learners will be brought to co-create, in a collaborative way, a prototype allowing to answer the need.
Finally, in the last phase, a project review will take place, which will consist in presenting the developed solutions with the help of a poster. It could take place, if possible, in the presence of other teachers or even the principal of the school, in order to choose the project that will be implemented concretely in the classes.
Through the expected productions of the learners, many skills will be implemented:
Concretely, what are the learners able to deliver?
Here is the prototype made by learners from a middle-high school. It measures the rate of C02 and alerts with an LED ring when the concentration rate is higher than 1500 ppm.
Here we are interested in the measurement of CO2, but we could have followed a similar sequence and taken an interest in noise pollution, and the structure would have remained coherent.
I use this model as a trainer in the context of training courses for science and technology teachers.
The whole point of this approach is that we have here, within a structured framework, sufficient freedom to allow the learners to express their creativity.
Indeed, it is not a unique solution that is expected but a well-argued proposal. Several different solutions could lead to a satisfactory result and, in the end, what is important are the skills that the learners will have been able to work on through a meaningful and contrasting approach.
What if we invited art into our technical solutions?
when the field of possibilities is open, creativity and art can cross!
To conclude this article, I can’t resist to share with you a realization based on the same approach but this time to make visible the exposure to the Wi-Fi networks that surround us.
The solution proposed here takes the form of a photo exhibition using light painting:
Would you like to see the behind-the-scenes and technical solutions behind this project? Watch the video below:
Sanabria, J. & Sánchez-Escobedo, P. (2017). Evaluación de un Modelo de Inmersión Gradual Educativo Digital. In Sumozas, R. & Nieto, E. (Eds.) Evaluación de la Competencia Digital Docente (pp. 123–133). Editorial Síntesis.
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