Monday, January 12, 2015

Education: International Year of Light 2015

International Year of Light

The International Year of Light is a global initiative which will highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society. It is an unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect on a global scale."

On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).


Throughout the Year, UNESCO will bring together key stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners. Together, they will advocate for light technologies to improve the quality of life in developed and developing countries – be it through education for sustainable development (study after sunset is often not possible in developing countries), the reduction of light pollution and energy waste, women’s empowerment in science, or advocacy among youth.

International Year of Light

Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic aspects of the global society.

What is the International Year of Light?

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations on December 20,2013 to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in areas such as energy, education, communications, health, and sustainability.

Who is running the International Year of Light?

The UN resolution A/RES/68/221 designates UNESCO as the lead agency in cooperation with a consortium of hundreds of worldwide partners and the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).

How will it achieve its goals?

IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015 - from the first studies of optics 1000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

When will events begin?

The first official event is the Opening Ceremony over 19-20 January 2015 at UNESCO HQ in Paris. Other events will take place all year, starting on New Year’s eve 2014!

Where can we find information?

Browsing for information on national contacts, events, resources, videos and more!

Get Involved!

To get involved :
  • Submit an event here
  • National Contacts here


Social media, low cost telephone calls, video conferencing with family and friends – these some examples of how the internet allows people around the world to feel connected in a way that has never before been possible in history. 

And all of this technology is due to Light!

International Year of Light (IYL2015) has so many ways for you and your students to get involved, whether that’s giving a presentation, teaching young students, or just putting their smartphones to good use in the classroom

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Nature
  • Culture


IYL2015 offers cool science articles, links to educational materials, and some ready-made presentations to make it easy for you to participate. Just let your students browse the IYL 2015 website and they will find a lot of information or activities.

Level: All levels (teachers must adapt to the level they are teaching).

Curricula: Cross-curricula Languages; Sciences; Arts (Design, Photograph, Multimedia, Music).

Some Activities for students:

  • Make a video in your class: invite the students to write the script (cross-curricular Languages, Science, Multimedia, Music);
  • Create posters (cross-curricular Languages, Arts). Ask your students to browse IYL2015 posters to get inpiration;
  • Start a slogan contest on Twitter. Every student will write a slogan and  the best will be  published on Twitter, hastag #IYL2015;

The best 5 slogans in every class will have a prize (ask for help to a librarian or tech store):

  • Plan and create a page on Facebook (school or class account) and invite students from other schools to interact on thematic subjects, videos, songs, famous scientists);
  • Invite students to create stories, news, interviews, dramas, letters to pen-pals about the importance of light and publish the best on the Facebook page or class blog;
  • Organize a school contest making some photos about the vital role that light and light-based technologies play in daily life.

Other Resources:

Light & Colour and How it works : a funny video

Many people don't know that there’s more to scientist Isaac Newton than a certain apple falling from a tree. Holding a prism of glass in the path of sunlight, he showed that white light is actually made up of seven different colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Color comes from light – in fact, color is light.

IYL will commemorate the achievements of scientific figureheads, who paved the way ahead for humanity’s understanding of light:
1015 – Ibn Al-Haytham’s Book of Optics;

  • 1815 – Augustin-Jean Fresnel and the wave nature of light;

  • 1865 – James Clerk Maxwell and electromagnetic waves;

  • 1915 – Einstein’s theory of general relativity, exploring light through space and time;

  • 1965 – Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson’s discovery of cosmic microwave background, and Charles Kao’s pioneering development of fiber optics, which enabled transformative technologies such as broadband today.

‪#‎IYL2015‬ also celebrates the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background! Do students know what is that? They can check this video!

Some thoughts:

The activities can be developed in Elementary education and Secondary Education. It's up to the educators motivate the students. Never forget it!

You will be delighted how the students are amazing when they feel free to demonstrate their creativity in the classroom.

Don't underestimate your students capacities, even the reluctant ones, to learn some difficult subjects in the school curriculum. 

  • Encourage the interest of young people on the importance of light. They are born on the light centurym thwey don't know how life was different befire the light;

  • Motivate students for the creative future of light and technologies;

  • Celebrate the role of young girls in science, share women's stories in science.

  • "I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars."

    Og Mandino

    Have a good IYL 2015 in your school!



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