Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP)
An estimated 1.9 million more teachers will be needed in classrooms by 2015. In 2010, the Education for All Global Monitoring Report called for “strengthening of the learning environment by providing highly skilled teachers”. The Active Learning in Optics and Photonics programme (ALOP) aims to provide the solution.
Tackling the problem at its source, ALOP trains educators with hopes that it will enable them to develop professionally and pass on their skills to the youth. Holding workshops in 45 countries (15 in Africa) and follow-up workshops in Argentina, Tunisia, Nepal and Peru, ALOP disseminates a technical introduction to the field of photonics and optics.
An effective model
These workshops feature a number of theoretical modules as well as hands-on application set up with low-cost materials. Experienced university professors shared their thoughts on overseeing such classes and difficulties encountered. Following these sessions, Optics and Photonics kits (complete with rulers, lenses and clay) are distributed to participants, allowing them means of practically carrying out the five administered modules: Geometric Optics, Lenses and Optics of the Eye, Interference and Diffraction, Atmospheric Optics and Optical Digital Transmission.
Statistics prove the effectiveness of the programme, with a remarkable difference between average pre and post-scores on tests. Coupled with the fact that it is offered in different languages (French, Portuguese, Spanish as well as English, to name a few, with more languages under development) is cuts across cultures to improve its participants’ teaching and fundamental competencies in optics and photonics.
To participate in this interactive and hands-on method of instruction, the workshop requires applicants to supply personal and pedagogical details, such as the topic or research, or any previous participation in workshops. Thus, teachers may better prepare their students to pursue a career in science.
Upon completion of the workshop, evaluation forms ensure that future workshops will, like its participants, continue to grow and improve in effectiveness.
The Organization’s mission to enable youth scientifically is clearly mirrored in this programme; it also exemplifies how UNESCO works hand-in-hand with its sponsors to ensure that the physics education goals adopted in 2005 at the World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development are achieved.