Active Learning

ALOP (Active Learning in Optics and Photonics) – a UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP) flagship activity – is based on the simple idea of using hands-on optics and photonics lessons to teach teachers more about science, and encourage them to share their knowledge with other teachers as well as their students. Activities involve simple, inexpensive materials that, whenever possible, can be fabricated locally. Optics is ideal as subject matter because it provides a basis for many wider educational topics in science and technology, and is adaptable to research and education in many developing countries. This page will provide links to active learning programs in optics and photonics worldwide.

The ALOP program began in 2004, and has since hosted workshops for over 1,000 teachers from 55 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With continuing support from UNESCO, ICTP, and SPIE, the goal of the program is to strengthen the learning environment by providing professional development workshops for teachers. Based on UNESCO’s ALOP Training Manual, educators learn six optics and photonics modules; Geometrical Optics, Lenses and Optics of the Eye, Interference and Diffraction, Atmosphere Optics, Optical Data Transmission, and Wavelength Division Multiplexing. During workshops, they are also provided hands-on applications using low-cost materials and learn how to assess student knowledge using the Light and Optics Conceptual Evaluation (LOCE).

Today, the training manual has been translated from English to several international languages which allows for a wider range of accessibility. The program is led by professors from universities in the US, Tunisia, Canada, Philippines, and Australia, with each member of the team bringing a unique set of experiences and talents to the table. ALOP aligns with UNESCO’s mission to enable youth scientifically, and will continue to bring high-quality education to developed and developing countries across the globe. Looking forward, the hope is to develop ALOP-like workshop curricula in other topic areas in order to improve secondary and higher education as a whole.

Download the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics Training Manual in English.