It is currently a beautiful time in the Arctic. The sky is bursting with pastel colours as it transitions from the polar night to the midnight sun. Each day the sun rays light up the surrounding mountains a little more as the sun hangs above the horizon for a little longer. However unfortunately, due to my lack of Norwegian (absolutely nothing) I have swapped internships. I had to leave the Longyearbyen local government and have now started a new internship at bioCEED. I’m a little disappointed that I will not be able to continue to work on improving reuse in Longyearbyen, as it would have been really rewarding to give back to the community of this lovely little town that I enjoy more and more with each passing day. However, my lack of Norwegian made it quite difficult to be able to properly integrate with the team as the daily workings of the office and all official documents and reporting were conducted in Norwegian.
My new internship at bioCEED, located at UNIS, is the Centre for Excellence in Biology Education. It aims to enhance biological education for both science and society by connecting scientific knowledge, societal applications and practical skills. bioCEED is primarily aimed at students to help them develop their academic skills and their ability to approach and solve current and future struggles within science, industry and society. The centre is a collaboration between UNIS, the University of Bergen and the Institute for Marine Research.
I have been at bioCEED for the past 2 weeks. I have dedicated most of my time editing learningarcticbiology.info. It is a website on terrestrial arctic biology, focusing on the Svalbard region. It will hopefully be in full operation to use as a teaching tool for the Autumn terrestrial arctic biology course at UNIS (AB-201), as currently no textbook exists in this field. The website was born out of a book that was being developed but didn’t come into fruition. Progress had stalled on the website; however, I hope that I will be able to bring some new life into the project and see it through to completion.
bioCEED is also currently working on a Svalbard plant identification app and plans to start developing a virtual reality project aimed to test field skills in the classroom, and to better prepare students before actually getting out into the field. This is an exciting time to have come onboard at bioCEED. I’m enjoying being such an awesome integrated team and look forward to working on some exciting new projects that will hopefully help improve teaching methods in biology education.