According to Dr. John Baruch from the University of Bradford, in classrooms of the future, learners will tour the real world via the web. Recently Dr. Baruch visited Dulwich College Beijing to teach sixth form students astronomy but more importantly, his real objective was to give students a first hand account of how science works. Their first taste of a classroom of the future came via a robotic telescope high on the mountain island of Tenerife in the Atlantic Ocean.
Dr. Baruch says the students’ project follows in Galileo’s footsteps and will explore concepts ranging from planetary rotation to the measurement of varying phases of the moon. Dr. Baruch holds that the robotic telescope is the keystone to taking the learners to the other side of our world to obtain their data and will provide exciting science for all involved.
While Dr. Baruch introduced sixth form students to the robotic telescope and taught them how it operates, an additional aspect of his visit to Dulwich was to help develop a program in which the sixth form students can introduce the telescope to students in the lower school. Dr. Baruch holds that a critical aspect of future education is for the learners to serve as role models themselves and to act as “teacher.”
Dr. Baruch feels inspiring the sixth form students to teach others is a dramatic way to develop learning and is an experience that will set them apart from other applicants when applying for university.“The Dulwich sixth form are motivated by the exciting program of learning about galaxies, by the challenge of delivering the program to those lower down the school, and by the valuable experience it will give them for their university applications, whether or not they wish to teach.”
Furthermore, Dr. Baruch says the youngest students have the most to gain from the experience. “They are presented with a role model of someone only a few years in advance of them with whom they can associate and who is planning to apply to university to study science, “ says Baruch. “On top of that they are presented with a program about space and our place in the universe which involves them instructing a robot telescope on the other side of our small planet.”
Dr John Baruch is the director of robotic telescopes at the University of Bradford. He developed the first robotic telescope for astronomy in the 90s and now all large telescopes include this form of operation including the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr Baruch has since took on thousands of students and their teachers to educate them about the robotic telescope. His early work in education has had a dramatic impact in the classroom convincing Dr Baruch to further develop a new model in education. He is now working to develop this new paradigm in education across curricula including new forms of delivery and teacher training.
Photos: Dr. John Baruch and courtesy of Dulwich College Beijing