I hope the new year finds you well. We are happy to report the completion of our first Greenworks: Ukraine experience. Greenworks is a program that we pioneered with our Indonesian colleagues that we are adapting to achieve our objectives in Ukraine while we await for conditions to become more conducive to on-location work.
In October and November, a cohort of Ukrainian Earth science teachers and students studying to teach Earth science in Ukraine worked with a cohort of Brazilian students to complete a 6-week course on experiential learning through role-playing and cross-cultural communication. This type of learning is called "active learning" as it engages students in activities that help them internalize important concepts. This is compared to "passive learning", where students sit and listen to lecture and are expected to internalize concepts without ever engaging with them or practicing them. Passive learning is very common in many science classrooms around the world. A critical part of modernizing science classrooms is to teach teachers how to teach using modern approaches.
Our Ukrainian learning cohort had their first hands-on experience with active learning through our Greenworks curriculum. For six-weeks, they role-played as national leaders making decisions that required a working knowledge of Earth science (important for determining trade routes, climate change action, and responses to natural disasters). Afterwards, we had a breakdown of how the experience was constructed and the components that are necessary for building active learning classrooms. Response was positive, with a desire to formalize the teacher-training component.
We're continuing to work on Agavi to meet the needs of our science teachers. We'll have more updates on that later in the year. In the meantime, we are also incorporating the lessons and feedback from our recent Greenworks experience to develop a strong teacher-training curriculum that we will test again later in the spring.
As always, thank you for your support and interest in our work.
I was hoping to begin bringing you updates from Ukraine this month. Unfortunately, I've run into significant problems obtaining a work visa in a timely manner, which has scuttled the plans for fall work on-location. This is a common problem for international workers, especially during an active pandemic that has slowed such paperwork to a crawl for many people, despite how early they may have started the process.
Nevertheless, I have begun some our planned work remotely. Currently, eight students and faculty from Lviv Polytechnic and University of Lviv are enrolled in our Greenworks program, where they are engaging in and dissecting an active learning experience to understand how you can create effective, experiential learning experiences using role-playing games. This is a joint project with partners in Brazil over the next couple of months to bring active learning experiences and insights to more educators.
Additionally, we began teacher testing of the Agavi system prototype, to significant positive feedback. The Agavi team is continuing development and incorporating the comments and concerns of our Ukrainian teacher testers. We're aiming to complete a usable classroom system to be ready early next year for use!
As you begin thinking about your end-of-year giving, please keep Science Voices and projects such as this one in mind. We'll have more information about our Giving Tuesday campaign coming soon.
I hope that the spring has treated you well and that you are settling in for a relaxing summer.
We've been making slow and steady progress on Agavi, our learning platform to create interactive science experiences in difficult-to-teach places. Yesterday, we did our first demo day with colleagues to showcase the first prototype and it went well! We will begin testing with our Ukrainian teachers in the next few weeks to get their feedback and see what features are necessary in order to meet their classroom needs.
Additionally, we are prepping for on-site work in Lviv, Ukraine, in the fall. The next update should hopefully be on-location!
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