Ph.D. Colloquium University of Cambridge & University of Duisburg-Essen

The Colloquium

We arrived on the 18th of May in Cambridge. “We” in this context means the two Ph.D. students of the University of Duisburg- Essen Victoria Adenstedt and Annika Gooss and myself, Helena Spyrou, the student assistant of Professor Mammes study group, who was invited to protocol the trip.

Ph.D Colloquium 1        H. Spyrou

The purpose of our short business trip was the CETE Ph.D. Colloquium at the University of Cambridge, to be more specific in the Faculty of Education, which is located next to Homerton College. It took place on the 19th of May. It is an important part of CETE to support the research of the young academics, since they are the future of Technology Education.
In the morning, we walked along the Hillsroad untill we stood in front of a modern building with a curved architecture but still having a traditional touch, because its face is covered in wood.

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Bill Nicholl welcomed us and showed us the conference room in which we met Professor Mark Winterbottom and his Ph.D. student Beth McGregor. The atmosphere was friendly and cooperative and as the colloquium begun Professor Ingelore Mammes, who could not attend, was called via skype to take part in the meeting.
The three Ph.Ds. begun to hold their lectures, Annika Gooss was the first. Her lecture was titled “Intergruppenverhalten von Jungen und Mädchen beim technischen Problemlösen”, Beth McGregor followed with hers “Thinkering- Science Lessons” and Victoria Adensted lectured about “The technological self-concept of primary-pupils”. Mr Nicholl, Prof. Mammes and Prof. Winterbottom made notes during the lectures to give constructive critique in the following discussion. I protocolled the whole meeting.
After the meeting was over we went to have a late lunch with Ms McGregor. In the relaxed ambience of the Homerton cafeteria we spoke about the different systems of receiving a doctor´s degree, holding lectures and doing research. It was refreshing to get a look on the educational system in different universities from another perspective.

Homerton College

Experiencing Cambridge

It was Ms Gooss´s first time in Cambridge as well as mine, so we were lucky to have Ms Adenstedt with us who had done a Ph.D. exchange to Cambridge before. She showed us around the colleges and the city, which basically only consists of colleges. It was inspiring to see historic places like the Eagles Pub in which Watson and Crick discussed about the structure of the DNA, to have a look on Darwin’s notebook in the natural history museum, to stand in front of Newton´s apple tree or walk by the building in which Stephen Hawkings office rooms are placed. With a look on the Royals Family it was interesting to see the Trinity Hall College from which Prince Charles earned his bachelor degree. On the 20th we booked a guided tour through the city which was beautiful. We were lucky, on this Sunday were the disputations of the doctoral theses and we got to see all the Ph.Ds. in their traditional robes with their proud parents by their sides. We visited the chapel of King´s College, but missed the world famous choir before we head off to the airport.

It was very helpful for the Ph.D. students to meet with other CETE members for suggestions to their researches and for me it was a pure motivation to see the beauty of an old university city and also to do a bit of networking.

By Helena Spyrou

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Living and working in Cambridge

It is unbelievable but my exchange to Cambridge is almost finished and I will already leave in a couple of days. Time flew fast and I gathered a lot of experiences and got insights into the University of Cambridge, the people living here and also into the surroundings!

I spend my working hours at the Faculty of Education in Hillsroad, North-West from the city centre. It is a nice building with lots of windows and open spaces. Bridges are linking the right and left side office floors. Thus, you are not only getting the feeling of freedom physically, but it literally helps you to get an open mind. The office I where I spent most of my time is on the third floor on top of the building – a worthy place for technology education.

Very often I have also been sitting in the beautiful library of the Faculty of Education. It is no dark and dusty place stuffed with old books like one could imagine thinking of such an old and famous university. No, it is bright and spacious and invites you to let your thoughts wander as well as to focus on intensive literature research. Both very important aspects to foster the quality of your research!

But the best thing about this library is the library expert team. They always help you with nearly every question you have (questions concerning the IT support could of course be better answered from the equally friendly IT team next door J).

Living in Cambridge means not only living with all the tourists visiting Cambridge every day being impressed by the city and its sights as I have been during my exchange; it also means living with lots of students populating the streets and pathways of the city riding their bikes and consulting Google maps to find the right way to their seminars.

During my weekends I travelled around the near surroundings to get to know the country, its residents and their customs. London was an attractive destination with all the sights and monuments! But also Audley End is one of the nicest towns in England and definitely worth visiting. Between March and October you can visit its interesting manor house and get impressions about life in past centuries. Absolutely worth doing!

So I will enjoy my last days staying in Cambridge before going back home to Germany to the routines of daily university life.

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Now it`s getting historical! Welcome to the University of Cambridge

Cambridge is not only a town with a University but also a University with a town. Whoever is walking through the many small lanes of this city will ingest the history with every step – the University is everywhere. Cambridge will be my home for the next three months to do research projects and to write articles together with colleagues Bill Nicholl, Marc Winterbottom and Ian Hosking in context of our CETE-network. Three months is really not a long time but long enough to figure out a good accomodation and to get familiar with the surrounding area.

Arrival in Cambridge is easy. The residents are used to be surrounded by tourists with their cameras and guides as well as thousands of university students from other countries or visiting professors from all over the world who are learning, teaching and doing research at one of the famous universities of the world. One of the famous? – The residents would say it is the most famous university of all. They are very proud of their heritage. Only the university with the O. is also accepted (Oxford). Although you have to keep in mind that the University of Cambridge´s primary colour is a lighter shade of blue, hence the residents of Cambridge refer to Oxford as, ‘‘the others come from the dark side…!“

The best way to get to know why the residents are so proud of their University is to book a guided tour offered by the tourist information office. I did not regret the two hours tour.  Guided by Sybilla (the wife of the master of the Corpus Christi College – quasi-insider) as Cambridge can only be understood by standing in the courtyard of a college or smelling the atmosphere of a buildings, such as the famous college dining halls that are literally hundreds of years old.

Already the strucure of the university is totaly different from German ones. To study or teach at the University you have to be a member of one of the 31 Colleges. The University is then a quasi umbrella, where all the Faculties and Insitutes are responsible for teaching and research.

As a quasi social backbone of the University, the Colleges are responsible for the accomodation and supply as well as student tutorials and general welfare. Thus, there is a certain amount of ‘kudos‘ associated with being a member of a particular college.

One day I walked trough Cambridge to get familiar with the University and was surprised by many male and female students walking around Cambridge with their parents. After my guided tour I do now know that this were the so-called ‘‘Volvo-Days“ where parents pick-up their children from their respective boarding schools at the end of term.

So, as you can see Cambridge has many traditions and standards and it will be a great privilege for me as a visiting professor to get to know more about the structure and administration of one of the most successfull universities in the world.

Ingelore Mammes

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Summer School at University of Duisburg-Essen

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The first CETE Summer School took place from 20th June until 22nd June 2016 at the University of Duisburg-Essen. 50 participants from seven different countries took part, professors, young academics as well as master students came together to exchange and expand their knowledge and experience about technology education.

The first day started about noon with an welcome and opening by Prof. Dr. Münk and Mrs. Günther (University of Duisburg-Essen), followed by the first keynote speech held by Prof. Dr. de Vries about the link between STEM education and technology education. He points out that STEM education may be the key to raise the status of technology education, which still struggles with a negative image.

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Afterwards Dr. Prüfer chaired the forum in which participants from universities, the Association of German Engineers, the Essen Chamber of Commerce and Industry and schools discussed the connection between science, industry and school against the background of technology education. The day finished with an informal meet & greet in the foyer, to give the participants the possibility the get to know each other.

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Tuesday started with the second keynote by Prof. Dr. Max (University of Luxembourg) that presented different inquiry-based learning processes via tablets before the participants could choose between several sessions with topics about e.g. technology education in different educational levels. The social event in the evening lead the members to the “Phänomania Erfahrungsfeld”, which is an exhibition for experiencing science, especially physical phenomena. The exhibition is positioned at the Zeche Zollverein area, which is UNESCO world heritage since 2001.

During the Summer School the members repeatedly came together in the Networking Café to talk about their work or experiences they made in the workshops or sessions.

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The final day startet with a keynote speak from Prof. Dr. Marra. She talked about the importance of collaboration in STEM learning and presented two online environments to support meaningful collaboration. After that the participants could choose between several workshops e.g. Research of Technology Education in Primary School or Challenge and Responsibility of an Education Concept through the Social Challenge of Mobility. The participants dealt with subjects as HTML5 Animations, eye tracking methodology or problem solving learning with Fischer-Technik.

The Summer School ended with a conference dinner nearby the university, so the participants had the chance to compare notes about the workshops and experiences of the last three days.

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“Hinc lucem et pocula sacra” – Welcome to the University of Cambridge.

What an amazing opportunity to go to the University of Cambridge. Some of the brilliant minds in history have graduated from this university. But there is a misunderstanding – there is no “University of Cambridge”. There are 18,000 students studying in 31 Colleges and 150 Departments, Faculties, Schools and other institutions. However, this confederation of Departments, School, Faculties and Colleges are organise by a central administration team. The University of Cambridge is rich in history. It is one of the world’s oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges.

History of an extraordinary town

When you are staying in Cambridge it is impossible not seeing and hearing from the rich history of this former small village. This considerable town had existed since at least 875. The town took its name from the bridge across the river Cam – “CAM-BRIDGE”. The town was always an important trading centre with a number of other religious institutions, two hospitals and a castle on the north side of the bridge. In 1209, scholars taking refuge from hostile townsmen in Oxford migrated to Cambridge and settled there. By 1226 the scholars were numerous enough to have set up an organisation, represented by an official called a Chancellor, and seem to have arranged regular courses of study, taught by their own members. King Henry III took the scholars under his protection as early as 1231 and tried to ensure that they had a monopoly of teaching. The teaching took the form of reading and explaining texts; the examinations were oral disputations in which the candidates advanced a series of questions or theses which they disputed or argued with opponents a little senior to themselves, and finally with the masters who had taught them. Some of the masters, but by no means all, went on to advanced studies in divinity, canon and civil law, and, more rarely, medicine, which were taught and examined in the same way by those who had already passed through the course and become doctors. The doctors grouped themselves into specific faculties. The earliest College was St Peter’s or ‘Peterhouse’, founded in 1284. Michaelhouse, Clare, Pembroke, Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi, King’s, Queens’ and St Catharine’s followed during the next 100 years. Three late foundations, Jesus, Christ’s and St John’s, emerged from the dissolution of small religious houses before 1520 and, like the King’s Hall, provided for younger scholars as well as ‘post-graduates’. In 2009, after a long history, the University of Cambridge reached a special milestone – 800 years of people, ideas and achievements that continue to transform and benefit the world. Celebrating the best of Cambridge’s rich history and looking forward to the future, the University reflected on the myriad achievements and world-changing ideas born within its walls, from the establishment of the fundamentals of physics to the discovery of the structure of DNA; from the transformative thinking of great Cambridge philosophers, poets and artists; to the groundbreaking work of its many Nobel Prize winners.

Maybe you asking yourself – where does she know all these things?  . . .  Well I took part at one of those many punting tours across the Cam. I enjoyed a fantastic view of the world famous Cambridge College ‘Backs’ from the comfort of a traditional Cambridge Punt. I had a special view of King’s College Chapel, the Wren Library at Trinity College and the Mathematical Bridge
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It was fun and I can recommend a punting tour warmly to everybody who will visit Cambridge!

 

Living and working in Cambridge

During my exchange I work at the Faculty of Education. The Faculty of Education from the University of Cambridge is located in the McIntyre Building next to Homerton College. The building was opened in 2005 and it was named the Donald McIntyre Building in 2009, after Donald McIntyre a Professor and former member of Faculty. The design of the new building is very modern, open and includes a wonderful new library – where I most of the time working in.

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My UK-CETE colleagues invited me to take part in some lectures for PGCE Students. PGCE courses prepare graduates to teach – especially in D&T (Design and Technology). The courses are taught in partnership with local schools with trainees spending 120 days of the course working with teachers and children across the East Anglia region and 60 days based at the Faculty. Prof. Dr. Greta Defeyer, a psychologist from the Northumbria University, was invited to one of those courses too. Together with the students we talked about creativity and how it be possible to measure it – especially in school-projects? How could criteria “capture” creativity? What kind of lesson / materials allows children to be creative? It was a unique lesson and I plan to include some of the exercises into my own lectures.

During the week I was also allowed to take part in one of the DOT-team meetings. DOT is a research project – Designing Our Tomorrows (DOT). Bill (our UK CETE-member) is co-investigator of this EPSRC Funded Research Project in collaboration with the Engineering Design Centre (Engineering Department in Cambridge), Royal College of Art (Henry Hamlyn Centre, London), and Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI) of Loughborough University. We talked about the material and how children have to be creative when they are working with it, about the social problems which are children confronted with and have to find solutions for.

After Bill and all the others worked so long on the DOT-boxes, they wanted a feedback from teacher, who have to work with the material in the future. For this reason they invited 5 teacher from local schools to test the material and giving a feedback. All those teachers are teaching D&T in their schools but having different backgrounds: one of them study industrial design, one engineering and another design & art.

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Bill and his team (including Dr. Ian Hosking – an Advisory Board member of CETE) listen very carefully. We discuss more or less important details of the DOT-boxes, like: size of the worksheets, color or no color for the worksheets, should the material and worksheets are collected in a book or not . . . As you can see my first weeks were full of interesting courses, meetings and new experience. I hope I can remember all the ideas I have for my own lectures.

Since I started my exchange in Cambridge I recognised that this town and its students are very international. At my first dinner-party I talked to people from France, Belgium, Netherland, Switzerland as well as Spain and of course England too. It was a wonderful evening: listing to and speaking all these languages and hearing from their experience. It is unbelievable for me that the first two weeks of my exchange are over. So many things happened and I didn’t recognised that time gone by so fast.

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CETE stepping up – EAPRIL Conference 2015

EAPRIl

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The 10th EAPRIL Conference took place at the University of Luxembourg from 24.-27. November 2015. EAPRIL stands for European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (in education and professional practice). It is a non-profit organisation under Belgian law, governed by an Executive Board in cooperation with the EAPRIL office.
Our CETE-Partner Prof. Dr. Charles Max was the Conference Chair of the local organising committee at the University of Luxembourg.

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The EAPRIL wants to connect theory and practice as well as education and professional learning by encompassing different disciplines such as engineering, business and teacher education in different stages of life.

The conference offers different options to examine these topics such as Poster Sessions, Present & Discuss Sessions, Workshops and Symposia.

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The conference provided an opportunity for promoting the CETE network in Luxembourg, scientific exchange about the CETE projects and discussions about their realisation. To do just that, the CETE members Prof. Dr. Ingelore Mammes, Prof. Dr. Stefan Fletcher, Tatiana Esau, Kristin Schäffer, Stefan Kruse and attended the conference.

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They contributed to the conference in the Roundtable Session “Educating 21st century skills” on the topic “Empowering Technology Education”.

The CETE members explained the aims of the CETE network, introduced the partners and reflected some impressions of the measures which have already taken place. They exemplarily presented and discussed four projects within the Roundtable Session: “Self-Efficacy of (Primary-) school Teachers to teach Technology”, “Eye-Tracking and Technology”, “Empathy and Design Engineering” and “STEM-/Design-based learning”. The scientific discussions about the expectations and realisation of CETE projects were very revealing and the other sessions of the conference delivered an interesting insight into other fields of research.

We hope to be back at the EAPRIL Conference 2016.

The CETE-Network

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NOISES OF MIZZOU – Goodbye University of Missouri

In the week before Thanksgiving the campus of Mizzou was nearly empty. Thousands of students and employees are gone. It was a little bit scary but quiet enough to work.

In my last week I had several meetings with colleagues from Mizzou. One of them was Neeley Current the IE Lab Manager from the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies. Neely and some other parents founded an elementary school which works together with the University of Missouri. The MU Child Development Laboratory (CDL) is an educational setting for community children and a teaching and research laboratory for University students, faculty and staff. The CDL operates a full-day, full-year teacher-training lab school affiliated with the Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) within the College of Human Environmental Sciences (HES). The mission of the CDL parallels the service, teaching and research missions of the University of Missouri. They strive to facilitate the teaching and research missions of the University, to promote the professional growth of undergraduate and graduate students, and to secure strong foundations for children and their families. The intent of their program is to encourage and support the development of each child and to provide opportunities for self-exploration and discovery. An assumption of the program is that children are active and curious; it is their goal to provide learning experiences designed to stimulate the child’s creative learning abilities. The overall development (cognitive, social-emotional, physical and creative) of the child is considered and planned for through a variety of activities.

After getting to know the MU Child Development Laboratory (CDL) I had the opportunity to go to Fulton High School – a local High School in Fulton nearby Columbia. This special High School has a fablab – a laboratory with 3-D printers.

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Students got the opportunity to work in this fablab, get in contact with 3-D printing, Tinkercad a design tool for 3D Cad and laser cutting.

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When we have visit the fablab the students already producing some Christmas decorations for the town. They used the materials like wood as well as metal and a laser cutter to design snowflakes and a snowman.

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The Fulton fablab owns a few Maker-Bot Replicator 2X, a type of 3-D printer which the colleagues of the G-Lab from the University of Duisburg-Essen want to buy too. I took the chance to talk to the leader of the lab and to some students about the advantages and disadvantages of the Maker-Bot Replicator. This little enquiry helped me to recommend this type of 3-D printer for our G-Lab (at my first day back at work in Germany a new Maker-Bot was waiting for me at my office). 

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Time goes by and I have to make plans to go home: booking a ticket and a transport to the airport. It is time for my last walk across the campus – listing to the sounds of Mizzou.

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I will miss the noises of the campus: students chatting at Student Center, listen to discussion at Speakers Circle or hearing other Ph.Ds. saying “Hello” when I come to my workplace and of course sitting in the lobby of the Faculty of School Music and listen to students who are practicing some classic music – this was the best place to have a coffee break.

When I wrote these last words of my Mizzou-Blog, I will be finally back in Germany but I will never forget the time at the University of Missouri. Thanks to my American colleague Prof. Dr. Johannes Strobel and his colleagues from the College of Education. It was amazing to meet you and to have this inspiring scientific exchange. I hope we will meet again at one of our CETE-Network meetings or conferences.

This was the last “roar” from a (short term scholar) TIGER of MIZZOU.  

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Exploring the ZNTD – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

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In the last days I explored the ZNTD in different ways…

First, you can use a „Mittagspicknick“ – the lunch – not only for a good cup of coffee (good coffee is obviously very valued in Switzerland) and very delicious Swiss chocolate but also for deep scientific discussions. It works very well! I had some exciting discussions and overviews about interesting findings, designs and different open questions also related to my work. In addition, members of the working group gave me very helpful references from prior publication which I analyze at the moment. I even got the contact and will meet the author and discuss some questions for my analysis.

Second, I got an overview of the main part of the working group. The Centre for Science and Technology Education (Zentrum Naturwissenschafts- und Technikdidaktik (ZNTD)) hosts a colloquium every second week. Here, the members of the centre and master students have a possibility to take part when scientists of the centre as well as researchers from other institutions present their findings and the current state of their work. This week, the coordinator and the leader of the programme “EduNat”, one of four strategic projects of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (Pädagogische Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW)), presented their current achievements. The aims of the strategic initiative are to combine the expertise and to address it to the current society problems in an integrative way (interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary) as well as to generate scientific and practical impact. The presentation revealed projects and measures for the implementation of the consolidated cooperation in the strategic fields of the university departments and faculties of FHNW.  The programme “EduNat” that has started since some months contains about 18 projects in five fields: Technology Education, Teachers’ Scientific and Technology Competencies, University Didactic in Science and Technology Education, Gender Appropriate Science and Technology Education, MINT in Society and Culture. The colloquium was a good place for some feedback for the first programme period from the involved members of EduNat as well as from the students.

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Third, I learned further individual projects and their leaders, e. g. a member of ZNTD, who is the contact person for methodological questions at the ZNTD. This member is also mainly responsible for several evaluations in different projects. In addition, I got the possibility to discuss one evaluation plan that aims to find out if a new study course is gender appropriate.

Besides, I had some discussions about several interesting reasons for the unsatisfactory instruction in science and technology and the demand for education and training for primary teachers in Switzerland.

After several talks I still wonder about the Swiss German and sometimes I am really searching for the commonalities and hope to explore more of them ;-)…

 

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Welcome and “Grüezi” from Basel – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

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A bit unusual for November but Basel welcomes me with sunny and very warm weather. Similar was my beginning at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (Pädagogische Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW)). Dr. Stefan Kruse, the head of the section for Technology Education and my mentor at FHNW, welcomed me, showed me my new workplace and presented me a program for my stay with some interesting offers for the coming 4 weeks. We fixed some appointments and I booked several events, e. g. the conference of Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) in Zürich and the Day for Research (Forschungstag Basel) next week with special workshops in Technology Education. I also obtained a first overview of the colleagues with their research topics and their projects. I got several opportunities for first exchanges about some differences and specialities in Technology Education in Germany and Switzerland.

At the next meeting with Dr. Stefan Kruse and Prof. Dr. Peter Labudde, the head of the Centre for Science and Technology Education (Zentrum Naturwissenschafts- und Technikdidaktik (ZNTD)), again, I was very cordially welcomed and got some information about the young and ambitious FHNW as well as about the Centre (ZNTD), which coordinates the research and development in Science and Technology Education in Northwestern Switzerland. We discussed some organizational questions for my stay and I got the offer of any possible assistance I need for my work on my dissertation. I know I can feel absolutely free to ask any team member to support me in my work. I already got several helpful references. In additional, we also fixed some aims for my visit. I’m going to get acquainted with different projects at ZNTD and to learn more about Switzerland.

One swiss tradition I learned quite soon: The “Znüni”! It is a breaktime in the morning generally at 10:15 AM. Actually “Znüni” means time at nine (in allemanic “nüün”) where you can take a little snack. Here you can also meet the whole team in the morning and talk a bit, for example about the crazy good weather at the moment and enjoy it together on the roof-deck. I like this tradition already!

I also participated in a team meeting, where I was introduced to all the team members. The working group of ZNTD consists of 23 researches. In this team meeting, we discussed various actual questions and issues, e. g. coming appointments, participation in conferences and congresses, personnel questions. I also got a small homework to write an article about my stay and visit at ZNTD in the next issue of the Campus Journal “PH Notizen”.

Meanwhile, I had a short introduction in several research activities of some colleagues. For example, the project that contributes to the famous TV science program “Quarks & Co” with developed materials for the school about energy, which will be offered in a mobile bus. An exciting and very practical approach! I also got an insight in a part of a big EU-Project that investigates and evaluates formative assessment. It was a very interesting discussion for me because I was also engaged in this topic and know about the chances and challenges of this approach as well.

All in all, I’m glad to be here and participate in the team! I’m looking forward for the next weeks and hope that by and by I understand the Swiss German better :-)!

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GIVING THANKS A LITTLE BIT EARLIER – welcome to University of Missouri

Last week a lot of international events took place at Mizzou and I visit some of them to giving thanks.

But first of all: it is half time (unbelievable)! It is hard to believe that half of my time at Mizzou is over – Time goes by so fast. I’ve got the feeling that I just arrived at Columbia and now I have to keep in mind that I have to make a reservation for a shuttle service back to St. Louis Airport.

After only two short weeks I finally got my ID card (administration takes its time) – Thank God! This ID card is essential e.g. to identify myself and to open the doors to my workplace at London Hall – Allen Institute for Research on Learning.

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Now, with an official ID card that proves that I’m a (short term scholar) TIGER of Mizzou, I tried to look like one. I have to admit that the garment selection at the Mizzou store is limited but you got a lot of colour options to express your personality.

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But much more important than cloth are shoes. I have wrote early that I don’t have a car or bike here at Columbia that’s why I’m walking but I forgot to take my hiking boots with me :-( When I add only the miles which I was walking during the last weeks ≈ ca. 43 miles / 70 km. Here is an advice for the next time: take your hiking boots with you when you are walking like Lewis and Clark!

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After so many miles of running I needed some calories :-) At the middle of last week I had an invitation to a “Global Mingle”. The Office of International and Intercultural Initiatives invited us to celebrate International Education Week by joining the Mizzou Ed family for Global Mingle. This was an opportunity to visit and share culinary appetizers from the United States and around the world. International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education, exchange worldwide and exchange experiences in the United States.

Furthermore there was a Thanksgiving lunch organised by the MU International Office for all new scholars, exchange students  . . .  at Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union. We were invited to taste the foods of the season, learn more about the tradition behind that holiday and get in contact with other exchangers. Thanksgiving calls us to acknowledge the blessings in our lives seen and unseen. The holiday leads us to remember what’s important and say thanks. It was a really nice and tasteful lunch – and now I know that I don’t like yam (sweet potato). I met so many interesting Ph.D. students from all over the world. We talked about our research projects, experience at Mizzou and cultures. I hope to see some of them again – maybe for a coffee :-)

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Nevertheless, we had some difficulties last week too. After getting a positive response from the Research Office of Mizzou, relating to our survey about teachers perceptions on engineering and really good feedbacks from colleagues of the College of Education, we found out that the Department of Educations has its own administration-process before they approve a research with pre-service teachers. According to this new information we had to fill out another application and answering some question about our research. And again: cross your fingers for our survey.

I don’t like to admit but  . . .  I was unfaithful ;-)  I  . . .  went to  . . .  the Department of Geography. I will always loving my work at the Department of Education but at Stewart Hall, home of the Department of Geography, they have a fascinating reptile exhibition. I found the exhibit at the first floor of the building, nearly walking past to it, because there was NO warning sign. In a pretty normal looking room you will find the venomous snakes of Missouri – did I mention that they have living snakes! But don’t be afraid it is more likely that you will see one of the hundreds of squirrels which are living on the campus.

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Finally, after blogging about whats going on at Mizzou, it is time to think about my loving ones at home in Germany . . . so excuse me I have to write some postcards.

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