Virtual Physics Staffroom

Virtual Physics Staffroom

2020, Apr 24    

One of the things that become important, or at least more obviously important, during these times of isolation to inhibit the propagation of COVID-19, is the sense of belonging. There is no community in education that I know of that does community better than the physics teaching community on Scotland.

This afternoon, organised and hosted by the Institute of Physics in Scotland, there was an inaugural “virtual staffroom”, following on the heels of an online CLPL1 session earlier in the week. The idea behind this staffroom idea was to be less formal, to allow debate and discussion (without recording) in a more organic way.

The first part of the meeting considered strategies that colleagues are using across the country to meet the requirements of the SQA to deliver qualifications based upon professional judgment in place of formal examinations, which cannot be held this year. Various insights were obtained, and a general sense that, despite the critcism seen in the media, the teaching community recognises that the SQA are trying to do the right thing by the young people whose lives are going to be most impacted by the current situation. The group talked about various approaches that have been taken in the past and some of the challenges caused by the unexpected interruption to what was intended, aspects of which were themselves, new.

A more light-hearted demonstration and discussion was led by Tim Browett from the what happens next? suite of activities, designed to stimuate thinking and development of understanding. He chose the delightful two balloons activity which I hadn’t seen before, and reassured us all by not pretending that things were working OK when a hole appeared in one of the balloons. It was a great example of good teaching and a really nice idea to try at home or in the online teaching that many people are doing at the moment.

Good CPD, and good community practice, thank you.


  1. Career-long professional learning