E-school for Biology is an education project of the Croatian Biological Society (HBD). E-shool for Biology are intended for pupils in primary and secondary schools, who are curious, gifted and especially interested in biology. The school began with its work in spring 1997.
The main purpose of E-school is to provide a sufficiently individual approach to gifted pupils separately interested in biology. Gifted pupils in schools away from bigger University and cultural centers (libraries, institutes) experience difficulties in the form of a lack of bibliography, informations, equipment, etc. Such children population have difficulties in developing its talents, capabilities and often fall in reaching its possibilities.
Using Internet as a media, E-school enables the direct collaboration of students and teachers of secondary (but also primary) schools with higher education and scientific institutions of Zagreb University. The project ensures: direct and voluntary contact between students and teachers throughout Croatia with scientists, with the aim of enabling communication, joint work on student natural science projects, information for the curious ones, new contents etc. E-school ensures the quicker acquirement of knowledge, scientific methods of reasoning and represents a useful way of spending free time. Information on natural sciences is accessible to student regardless of their distance from academic centers, and the effect of a lack of professional bibliography and relevant institutions is decreased. Participation in the E-school is part of extracurricular activities that have become very relevant. The early and open approach to gifted and interested students provides a powerful impetus for their later expert collimation. Experience has shown that such pupils are often the main resource pools for the recruitment of future experts, teachers and scientists.
E-school for biology use four main modes of work.
The first one is direct communication pupils-teacher-scientist in all course by e-mail or by using discussion list for biology. The technical support for such activities is assuredly by center of E-school in Zagreb. This way of communication is wholly open for interchange of opinion, discussion, setting a problems and questions, organizing some activities and so on.
The second mode have main purpose to generate
an answer for some biological question on public way. Any one from school
program could ask question via open web form. The question will be answered
by appropriate scientist and published as a web pages. More than 130
question from all biological disciplines furnished with images, graphs
and tables has been answered during last two years (i.e. What are the differences
between animal and human blood? Explain protein sinthesis in cell and secret
What is Down sindrom? etc.)
The third mode is connected with web available information. E-school pages could be use to facilitate searching for particular information, and also as a generator of new informations. Special modul, so called Botanical lab On line offer to school teacher and pupils biological educational objects, difficult to obtain in school environment, such are special microscopic slides, morphological intersections, rare biological objects important in teaching, etc. Access to biological databases, astride developed for Croatian flora and fauna, and related bibliography are also available.
The fourth mode is a project mode, the most advanced activities of e-school for biology. The project (or pupil project, or small project) is research program with concrete scope, methodology and results which must be accomplished by pupils it self with supervision of school teacher and scientist. The activities begins with project proposal preparing. This could be done by scientist from the one side, or by teacher with pupils from the other. During intensive collaboration, advising, opinions exchange pupils-teacher-scientist in all course the project going on to the final results, often-times very original. The project proposal, final results with all details are published as a web pages. The pupil could use results for state or similar competitions, as a graduate work, or as a tool to suffice its curiosity.
Until now, more than 20
projects are completed. There are separated in 7 themes according field
of biology: Botany, Zoology, Ecology, Molecular biology, Applied botany,
Mathematical biology, Plant physiology and Genetics. (i.e. Water quality
based on macrophytic flora; DNA isolation from plant cells; Plant pigment
isolation; Toxic fruits in Mediterranean area; etc.)
Today, e-school for biology subsume 23 entered, mostly secondary schools with toward 70 involved pupils and 25 teachers. On University side, 22 scientists work on scientific program support.
E-school is implemented through the support of CARNet the Croatian Academic and Research Network.
Croatian Biological Society (Hrvatsko biološko društvo), Rooseveltov trg 6, HR-10000 Zagreb (marked for E-school)
doc. dr. Toni Nikolić
Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb,
Marulićev trg 20/2, HR-10000 Zagreb