‘Ora de știut!’ is an optional integrated discipline, part of the school’s curriculum by its decision.
The initiative started in 2022 through a partnership between the Ilfov County Council, the Ilfov County School Inspectorate, the ‘Măgurele Science Park’ Association, and DIGIPEDIA.
The curriculum integrates various fields of interest within the sciences (STEAM), with a general theme focused on exploring scientific aspects of the relationship between humans and the terrestrial and even extraterrestrial environment. It covers topics related to contemporary global issues as well as challenges encountered in everyday activities.
This program integrates specific elements from the curricular areas of Science and Human and Society (primarily from geography, as Earth Science). It targets lower secondary education, with one hour per week allocated, aiming to stimulate curiosity, create questions, foster positive attitudes, and develop intrinsic motivation for learning.
In creating the document for the integrated optional course “Ora de știut!”, the aim was to develop the following general competencies:
• Using scientific terminology to develop a correct perception of phenomena in the environment and contemporary society.
• Solving everyday life problems using scientific information.
• Adapting to new environmental and social-professional contexts by correlating processes and phenomena with information from the field of sciences.
The proposed content areas in the program are:
- Curiosity – the starting point of scientific research.
- Conversations with the planet.
- Future technologies.
- Trends in the global economy.
- Humans and outer space.
The curriculum is developed in accordance with the Methodology for Curriculum Development at the school’s decision, approved by OME no. 3238/2021. The originality of the Ora de știut!’ program comes from partnerships established with the DIGIPEDIA show (a significant vector for popularizing sciences, offering hundreds of hours of broadcasts available to students and teachers) and the MSP, providing an alternative learning environment with innovative technologies and methods in education.
These partnerships mean practical applications, modern teaching resources; they involve contact with the Romanian scientific environment, with researchers and entrepreneurs who can become the models our children need.
The interest from schools was immediate for “ Ora de știut!” initiative that was promoted in Ilfov County! Over 30 schools expressed their students’ desire to pilot the initiative. Due to this interest, a campaign was organized for project development in Ilfov County schools, utilizing materials and information presented within the curriculum.
All these projects created by the students of participating schools were exhibited at an exposition organized by the Măgurele Science Park team at the Romanian Parliament in May 2023.
Of course, the most representative exhibits were selected and awarded by the organizers. In the days immediately following the exhibition, the MSP team organized, at the Education Committee Hall of the Chamber of Deputies, the debate ‘The Hour of Knowledge’ – ‘School Curriculum for the Integrated Optional Course.’ Its purpose was to promote the initiative and disseminate the results of the instructive-educational process within the ‘The Hour of Knowledge!’ curriculum to the legislative body.
We discussed the program’s advantages, the challenges of a dynamic generation, and, of course, the impact of artificial intelligence on creativity and the educational process.
Additionally, we organized the ‘Challenge of Minds’ competition, where students enrolled in the optional course were invited on an adventure through the fascinating world of artificial intelligence (AI). They submitted various dedicated and interesting projects for the competition, and the most compelling ones were awarded.
After the pilot phase from 2022 to 2023, the overall objective for 2023 was to obtain accreditation for the ‘Ora de știut!’ curriculum at the school’s decision level and to scale it nationally with the support and through the channels of the Ministry of Education.
We hope that with the accreditation of this curriculum, students will perceive it more positively and be increasingly motivated to choose vocations in the professional fields of the future. We will keep you informed about the results of the accreditation process carried out by the Ilfov County Inspectorate and the Ministry of Education for this optional curriculum!