For the first time in Serbia: a free internet course on the epidemic
Belgrade, 2 March 2021 - The modern interdisciplinary course - The Epidemic – is now available on the free internet platform net.kabinet. The course connects high school knowledge about the phenomenon of epidemics through the prism of biology, chemistry, mathematics and informatics. Users are guided through the course via texts, illustrations, quizzes and educational videos narrated by actor Milos Bikovic. The first such course in Serbia was created through the cooperation of the Petlja Foundation, the Digital Serbia Initiative and UNICEF Serbia.
A year ago, the world faced a new epidemic, which made questions about the epidemic very topical. The answers are part of the programmes of teaching and learning in biology, chemistry, mathematics and informatics, and as of today, they are part of the Epidemic course available at petlja.org/net.kabinet. This platform, which has so far produced educational materials for learning informatics and computer science, was developed last year by the Petlja Foundation and the Digital Serbia Initiative. In cooperation with UNICEF Serbia, the net.kabinet platform now showcases other subjects through a series of interdisciplinary courses beginning with the Epidemic course.
The course was created through the cooperation of chemists, biologists, software engineers, psychologists, illustrators, and animators. The popular actor, and friend of the Digital Serbia Initiative, Milos Bikovic, gave his support to the project and volunteered as the narrator of the educational videos, which are part of the course.
“The world in which the digital revolution is taking place in a world that is changing rapidly. Adequate education is needed for a functional and productive life in such a world. The reason why I decided to support the Epidemic course on the net.kabinet platform is that it inspires students to think and be creative, and these are the abilities that young people need to face tomorrow,” believes Milos Bikovic.
The new course on the net.kabinet platform was created on the basis of the official curriculum and is primarily intended for third-grade high school students and teachers who teach biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, and is equally useful to anyone who is curious or wants to refresh their knowledge about epidemics.
According to Nebojsa Vasiljevic, Director of the Petlja Foundation and one of the authors of the course, with the interdisciplinary approach on which the Epidemic course is based, the boundaries between traditionally set subjects are erased and participants will be able to view problems from different angles.
“We started with the modernization of programming instruction and one of the main principles is to learn as much as possible through application. Then we saw how much interdisciplinarity we lacked in teaching and we just continued on the path we had taken by interconnecting subjects. And then you realize that there is no topic that has so vividly connected different scientific disciplines as the current epidemic,” said Nebojsa Vasiljevic, Director of the Petlja Foundation Director of the Petlja Foundation.
The Epidemic course was written in clear language and is enriched with concrete examples, connecting it to the current epidemic, attractive illustrations and videos with laboratory experiments in order to engage students as much as possible.
“Maybe no one knows what the jobs of the future will look like, but it is quite certain that children who go to school today will sit in multidisciplinary teams tomorrow. In that sense, the net.kabinet platform is important because it is not just a set of lessons about epidemiological phenomena from the angle of different scientific disciplines, but a big step towards permeating four school subjects, each of which gives its own contribution to understanding the umbrella topic, which in this case is an epidemic. This way of working is a preparation for the real world in which there are no clear boundaries between different subjects. It motivates students to connect different knowledge and think outside the offered framework,” explains Nebojsa Djurdjevic, Director of the Digital Serbia Initiative.
The course is designed to encourage collaboration among subject teachers. In a simple online environment of the net.kabinet platform teachers can communicate directly with students and monitor their progress through the course.
“The Epidemic course blurs the boundaries between subjects, moves teaching to a digital space, and at the same time allows for interaction between students and teachers. We took advantage of the current situation in which teaching in high schools takes place partly in a digital environment and which benefits the implementation of interdisciplinary teaching. This kind of teaching environment allows for a flexible schedule, joint presence of several teachers in the same class, all of which are barriers to classical teaching often cited by teachers. An important aspect of the Epidemic course is certainly that it can serve as a model for teachers to create other interdisciplinary courses as a team in their schools,” said Deyana Kostadinova, UNICEF Representative in Serbia.
After the launch of this course dedicated to the pandemic, two more courses connecting different study areas will be made available, helping students to strengthen critical thinking and encourage their problem-solving skills.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia