Being in awe of amazing experiments in a lecture hall on campus and investigating things together with researchers in laboratories - those are the things that many people connect to the Kids’ University at the University of Bremen. But such activities have not been possible for months due to the corona pandemic. As an alternative, the uni is offering a different format that will continue both in the summer holidays and afterwards. The Kids’ University coordinator Isabell Harder gives us a few insights into the current digital format.
How does the digital Kids’ University work, Isabell?
Mainly via video conferences. Schoolchildren, teachers, and our researchers are able to work with such tools fantastically now. We also work with videos that scientists have produced and which can be watched by the children and teachers at any point - even in the holidays - via the Kids’ University website. On the website, there is also an overview of what we offer and the option to register online. We are additionally cooperating with the “Digitale Drehtür” web portal with regards to several offers. It gives pupils the opportunity to enrich their daily school life with digital activities in an interest-oriented and autonomous manner.
What types of digital formats do you offer exactly?
We decided on three different types of video conferences: Talks where researchers speak about their research, workshops where scientists carry out research together with the schoolchildren, and video calls where pupils can ask researchers about their work and career path. School classes can register for the morning video conferences via their teachers. Parents are able to register individual children for the afternoon sessions.
There are also different types of videos. We have those that offer an insight into certain research topics and those that serve the purpose of instructing children on how to carry out their own research and experiments.
Can you name a few examples?
One great example is the talk by Professor Jens Lehmann. One of his roles is as the director of the Geosciences Collection at the University of Bremen and he spoke about fossils at the Kids’ University. After his talk, he then spent nearly an hour determining what the children had found. The kids each held what they had found into the camera one after another and Professor Lehmann was actually able to provide some exciting information for most of the pieces. That was impressive.
How has the feedback been so far?
Very good. Especially the talks, such as the one by Jens Lehmann, were really popular. We also had a good number of bookings for the workshops.
Will online formats replace in-person events in the long term?
As soon as it’s allowed again, we’ll surely offer the Kids’ University in person again. However, I can imagine making digital events a constant addition to our services in the “University & Schools” transfer field. Traveling to the uni is an obstacle for many learning groups from Bremen and surrounding areas and it has become possible for digital events to be incorporated into day-to-day life at schools in an uncomplicated way.
When will the Kids’ University continue after the holidays?
The kids can watch our videos during the holidays. Directly afterwards, online events will start again and continue until the end of October. There are still some free spaces available.
Find out what’s on offer at the Kids’ University here: www.uni-bremen.de/kinderuni