Work details:

In my last blog I mentioned that my task is to really understand Epistemic Network Analysis and to think about how coding works in quantitative research. I attended a workshop where I learnt more about quantitative ethnography and the use of ENA to study international collaboration in STEM. Then I learnt more about it by reading a book by David Shaffer. It was an incredible book where the author keeps the reader engaged with humorous examples, cultural references and vivid metaphors to explain research methodology in today’s age of “Big Data”.  I would highly recommend it to those who are interested in humanities research. So after reading the book and attending the workshop, I played with the web tool to understand how the actual coding is done and then interpreted. I really enjoyed doing this, as it was an exercise whereby I learnt that ENA really helps to draw mathematical conclusions with super cool graphs to qualitative data.

Like all of my fellow interns around the world, I have also read and edited documents relating to curriculum, learning and assessments. I have also done annotated bibliographies. The most interesting part was the meeting I attended about revolutionizing curriculum and enhancing student learning. There was a discussion of a proposed partnership between my organization and the School of Geneva which is a very prestigious school, to transform learning by changing the curriculum and to support the school so that it becomes a flagship, demonstration school, with far reaching capacity to play a leading role in transforming teaching and learning globally. The discussion was very intense where the educators were extremely focused on ways to improve learning for their students. They were so deeply engrossed in the discussion that they forgot to drink the hot coffee served to them, which shows how passionate they are about this subject. I believe it is a terrific idea to create a model school that the world can learn from.

Another task that I am currently working on is the link between neuroscience and education. I found out a list of all the schools doing such kinds of programs all over the world, the different types of courses they offer, their syllabus and learning outcomes in terms of a teacher using brain based strategies in the classroom. Now lastly my task is to try to synthesize these or create a draft curriculum for pre-service and in-service teachers. The next few weeks I am going to devote most of my time working on this.

Record breaking temperature:

Who knew that Switzerland could be this hot! When I was packing for this internship I was thinking its Switzerland, imagining the Swiss Alps and lakes to be like the mountains and lakes of Alaska where it is cool even in the summers. So I packed a few light jackets, full sleeved shirts etc. But reality hit me hard! It is extremely hot! The locals are complaining about sleepless nights turning and tossing in bed till early hours of the morning. And the local news headlines usually say something like “record temperatures for the year have been recorded in certain areas last weekend and the temperature of waters in certain rivers have reached new heights” or “fish continue to face an existential crisis”. Around 4 pm, most of the people from the building can be found in garden outside having an ice cream break trying to beat the heat in their offices! We interns have also made it a point to take that break as well.

Finally today’s newspaper read something like: “Finally an end to the heatwave in sight”. I am hoping this is true, that the heat wave ends soon! These past few weeks have been unbearable. It has been one of the hottest and driest summers for Switzerland since records began in 1864. I have chosen to work away from my desk and on the ground floor of my building which is cooler than the rest of the building. Here is a glimpse of what the ground floor or the coolest place in the building looks like:

Swiss National Holiday Party:

1st August is the Swiss national day and a holiday of course. The nationwide holiday celebrates the 1291 founding of the Swiss Confederation. Swiss National Day has been celebrated on the 1st of August annually since 1891. Beginning in 1994, the day has been recognized as an official national holiday. I was invited to a Pakistani friend’s place where we had a great dinner party and celebrated two national holidays – Swiss National day and Pakistan Independence day which happens on 14th August. It was really cute, we had two cakes each decorated with the flag of each country. Later we went to lake Geneva and saw the magnificent display of fireworks. It was an incredibly fun day.

This is all I have for now. Stay tuned for my last blog which will cover some adventures around Switzerland (conditional on it being cooler than the past few weeks).