IAEA Supports Latin American Countries to Deliver Science Education Remotely

Delivering remote learning through online environments has become increasingly commonplace, even expected, for educators around the world. COVID-19 and its effects have highlighted the value of technology-mediated education and training and, as a result, the skills necessary to unlock that value are now in high demand. To help meet the growing demand for virtual Education & Training (E&T) delivery in the nuclear industry, and after two pilot sessions, a new online training course developed by the National Atomic Energy Commission of Argentina (CNEA) will be available on 13 August, following IAEA support and coordination delivered through the technical cooperation (TC) programme.

Sponsored by the Latin American Network for Education in Nuclear Technology (LANENT) and rolled out via the LANENT Virtual Campus, the course is aimed at staff of the Network’s member institutions-such as universities, national educational networks and research centres-who wish to establish or improve upon their skills in moderating and delivering online courses in the nuclear field. The Spanish-language virtual training course will place an emphasis on the close tutoring and mentorship of the participants. As a result, attendance at the event is limited to 30 participants-interested parties can register here.

Since 2016, the IAEA has helped to prepare both primary and secondary school teachers in Latin America and the Caribbean for the development and delivery of virtual courses, particularly in the area of science education. A recently-concluded technical cooperation (TC) project[1] strengthened regional education networks, refreshed the nuclear knowledge of school teachers and helped to develop new IT tools specifically designed for remote and virtual learning. A new project[2], launched earlier this year, aims to further strengthen knowledge management by developing new digital tools, such as the newly-launched CNEA training course.

The course is aimed at staff of universities, national educational networks and research centres who wish to establish or improve upon their skills in moderating and delivering online courses. (Photo: V. Grance/CNEA)

“Our aim is to contribute to the training of the staff of the [LANENT] member institutions by providing a space for reflection and collaborative construction of knowledge where participants could acquire, rethink and apply concepts, methodologies and tools to successfully moderate virtual learning environments,” said Fiorella Della Penna of the Intellectual Capital Section of CNEA.

The two first editions of the course took place in April and May 2020. Forty-four participants from 10 countries-namely, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela-have benefited from the trainings so far.

“Everything I thought about virtual training and education has changed,” said Giovanna Rojas Cuadros, a Nuclear Medicine Technologist from Peru. “The course has inspired and energized me to make substantive changes to my work, and I’ve begun to redesign topics, redesign my tools, redesign my strategies.”

Following the conclusion of the two first sessions of the training course, a third edition will be rolled out on 13 August. “We look forward to planning and delivering virtual E&T capacity building in the future,” said Maria Elena Urso, a Knowledge Management Specialist in the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Energy who is supporting the ongoing project. “Such training allows professionals in the region to familiarise themselves with the technologies and methods necessary for online moderation and to help teachers fully extract the unlocked potential of virtual education and training.”

“Out of the many enriching experiences that I took from this course, a new appreciation for the value of virtual capacity building is perhaps the most notable, particularly, the functioning and participation in forum,” said Jorge Stephany, A Professor of Physics at the Simon Bolivar University of Venezuela. “The training course allowed me to see their value to integrate the group and transfer knowledge.”

With its 77 Members, LANENT brings together institutions across and beyond the region. Through its MOODLE-based Learning Management System, LANENT Virtual Campus offers and disseminates high-quality educational and outreach resources related to nuclear science and technology, enabling the dissemination of knowledge and experience and the cost-effective use of E&T capabilities across Latin America.

[1] RLA0057, ‘Enhancing Nuclear Education, Training, Outreach and Knowledge Management’

[2] RLA0065, ‘Furthering Knowledge Management Implementation in Nuclear Organizations and Strengthening Nuclear Education’

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