As a key factor to success in education, besides motivating students, which was previously the most important, a source of inspiration has been motivating teachers as well, especially now with online classes. Besides creativity, educational and digital competencies, motivation is a significant prerequisite for successful teaching. The teaching profession is one of those where online surrounding is wholly unparalleled with teaching as done so far, and therefore takes up much more time for successful class preparation. Even experienced teachers have found themselves in a situation where they had to completely change their teaching methods to achieve desirable results.
As the time spent teaching online got prolonged, both mental and emotional exhaustion started to show in all participants in education. Teachers’ mutual support became crucial to overcoming this problem, as was the motivation from people sharing the same problems. Teachers’ meetings and conferences started being held online, thus enabling everyone interested to participate and share their experiences or to just listen to the experiences of others. The consequences for everyone who wants to perfect themselves in their area of expertise are priceless. Inclusion in the world beyond one’s workplace, becoming aware of the problems of others and finding a way to overcome them, to witness the enthusiasm and selfless sharing of ideas and experiences in a simple, yet highly effective and accessible way has been an inexhaustible source of motivation for teachers. It has also encouraged them to be even more creative in their job.
Getting involved in various projects, whether in the same country, Europe or even further, is a huge gain for all members. They enrich the competencies of all participants, serve as a source of new ideas, and deepen into particular areas.
VM-STEM is a good example of connecting and supplementing educational content in a way that is both interesting and captivating for students. STEM educational area is perceived as very important for the development of competencies of today and the future, for the development of critical, abstract and logical thinking. For those reasons, students’ motivation is paramount. The experience of an interactive 3D virtual learning environment, one of the results of this project, will enable students to learn at their own pace in a positive work atmosphere. That way, students are more motivated to explore materials offered to them to reach the goal. All materials can be used at any given moment and as many times as students want, making the classes informal and stress-free. Students are also able to coordinate their activities themselves and are responsible for their own results, which is all connected to positive experience when using digital tools
Developing Virtual STEM Museum will enable us to go full circle – from presenting a problem, researching, connecting the dots, to drawing conclusions, and adding the historical background to the story. That way students are shown the continuous development of science. They get to learn that mathematical facts, some proven in ancient times, are valid today and become aware why mathematics is rightfully called “the queen of science”. The understanding that by clicking a mouse we can enter history and feel like part of historical experience and surrounding, is additional motivating factor in the thirst for new knowledge.
Work on a project always results in new ideas and presents a source of inspiration to enrich the teaching process, bring in new changes and motivate students for STEM education.