New interactive platform uses mobile communications to explain mathematics and physics to secondary school students
Developed by Vodafone Portugal in partnership with the INOV-INESC, the Directorate-General of Education and the Directorate-General of Health, the new portal is an interactive platform featuring content – text, video and laboratory experiments – that relates the learning of young people in schools to the operating principles of a mobile communications system.
The aim of the new tool is to encourage students to take personal ownership of the knowledge covered in some of the areas taught in the subjects of Mathematics A and Physics and Chemistry A – in which poor grades are usually reported – by exploring multimedia content. The MOBILE LAB portal is accessible from today at http://mobilelab.dge.mec.pt.
The operation of mobile communications is demonstrated through the application of certain content in the Mathematics A and Physics and Chemistry A syllabuses. In the case of Mathematics A, MOBILE LAB will enable students to apply and test their knowledge in areas such Statistics, Trigonometry, Probability and Functions, among others. In Physics and Chemistry A, students will encounter “demystified” concepts such as Electromagnetic Waves, Fibre Optics, Digitisation and Frequency Bands. All the explanations contained in the portal are based on the existing 10th to 12th Year syllabuses in both subjects.
In addition to information created for students, MOBILE LAB also includes a reserved area for teachers containing the theoretical content addressed and suggestions for additional exercises which can be discussed in class or suggested for self-study.
For Vodafone Portugal, the development of MOBILE LAB is a way of implementing the company’s commitment to demystifying the operating principles of mobile communications for the general public, in this case with a particular focus on young people. The company’s involvement with various partners during the project has enabled it to create a valuable tool for teaching certain concepts of mathematics and physics by making it possible to visualise abstract concepts through the use of information and communication technologies.
According to Professor Luis M. Correia, Senior Researcher at INOV-INESC and a Professor at the Higher Technical Institute, “the challenge launched by Vodafone Portugal was received with enthusiasm because educational work around mobile communications is not new for us”. Professor Correia also said that “the fundamental idea was to use something very familiar to students, mobile phones, to help them understand how they work and to see how mathematics and physics are used in these communications systems”.
After a year-long pilot in four schools – Daniel Sampaio Secondary School in Almada; António Damasio Secondary School and Braamcamp Freire Secondary School in Lisbon; and Fontes Pereira de Melo Secondary School in Porto – MOBILE LAB has undergone several revisions in light of the experience of students and teachers who are already using the tool. The aim is to implement and extend the use of the platform in the rest of the school community in Portugal.