61 research outputs found

    Informing the development of science exhibitions through educational research

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    This paper calls for greater use of educational research in the development of science exhibitions. During the past few decades, museums and science centres throughout the world have placed increasing emphasis on their educational function. Although exhibitions are the primary means of promoting visitors’ learning, educational research is not often utilised when designing these learning environments. Rather, the development of exhibitions in museums and science centres tends to rely on the know-how of the staff. Reviewing and engaging in science education research would complement this expertise and support the educational role of science exhibitions. This theoretical paper therefore suggests such a research-based approach by adapting the model of educational reconstruction for the purpose of exhibition development following the idea of the model for the personal awareness of science and technology. The former model serves as a general framework to involve analytical and empirical research in the development of learning environments, while the latter model provides a specific view of visitors’ learning in interaction with exhibits. This study shows how these constructivist models can be interconnected in order to apply educational research in improving the long-term learning profit of exhibition visits. The idea is illustrated with an example concerning the research-based development of a nanoscience exhibition.Peer reviewe

    Introduction: Scientific literacy and socio-scientific issues

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    Young people’s technological images of the future: implications for science and technology education

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    Modern technology has had and continues to have various impacts on societies and human life in general. While technology in some ways defines the 'digital age' of today, discourses of 'technological progress' may dominate discussions of tomorrow. Conceptions of technology and futures seem to be intertwined, as technology has been predicted by experts to lead us anywhere between utopia and extinction within as little as a century. Understandably, hopes and fears regarding technology may also dominate images of the future for our current generation of young people. Meanwhile, global trends in science and technology education have increasingly emphasised goals such as agency, anticipation and active citizenship. As one's agency is connected to one's future perceptions, young people's views of technological change are highly relevant to these educational goals. However, students' images of technological futures have not yet been used to inform the development of science and technology education. We set out to address this issue by investigating 58 secondary school students' essays describing a typical day in 2035 or 2040, focusing on technological surroundings. Qualitative content analysis showed that students' images of the future feature technological changes ranging from improved everyday devices to large-scale technologisation. A variety of effects was attributed to technology, relating to convenience, environment, employment, privacy, general societal progress and more. Technology was discussed both in positive and negative terms, as imagined technological futures were problematised to differing extents. We conclude by discussing the potential implications of the results for the development of future-oriented science and technology education.Peer reviewe

    Introduction: Scientific literacy and socio-scientific issues

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    Facilitating transformative science education through futures thinking

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    Purpose The aims and pedagogies in the field of science education are evolving because of global sustainability crises. School science is increasingly concerned with responsible agency and value-based transformation. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to argue that perspectives and methods from the field of futures studies are needed to meet the new transformative aims of science education for sustainable development. Design/methodology/approach This paper analyses some contemporary challenges in science education and gives reasons for introducing a futures perspective into science classrooms. The suggestion is illustrated by reviewing some results, published elsewhere, on future-oriented activities trialled within the European Union project ‚ÄúI SEE‚ÄĚ and students‚Äô experiences on them. Findings Recent research has shown that future-oriented science learning activities, involving systems thinking, scenario development and backcasting, can let students broaden their futures perceptions, imagine alternatives and navigate uncertainty. Practising futures thinking in the context of contemporary science offers synergies through shared perspectives on uncertainty, probabilities and creative thinking. Originality/value This paper highlights the relevance of the futures field for science education. Future-oriented activities appear as promising tools in science education for fostering sustainability, agency and change. Yet, further work is needed to integrate futures aspects into science curricula. To that end, the paper calls for collaboration between the fields of futures studies and science education.Peer reviewe

    Nanotieteen opetusta kaikille : mahdollisuuksia ja haasteita kouluissa ja niiden ulkopuolella

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    The rapid development and growing societal importance of nanoscience and nanotechnology (NST) have evoked educational concerns throughout the world. A mounting need for education in this emerging field has been recognized not only at the academic level but also in terms of citizens abilities to deal with personal, social and global issues related to NST. Some understanding of NST has been postulated to be relevant in up-to-date scientific literacy for all. This doctoral dissertation addresses such concerns and lays the research-based groundwork for the future development of learning environments on NST. The aim was to map the educational needs, possibilities and challenges of bringing the topics of NST to secondary schools and out-of-school settings. To this end, the methodological framework of the Model of Educational Reconstruction was employed. The model combines analytical and empirical research in order to analyse a field s educational significance, identify its essential features, investigate both learners and teachers perspectives and develop approaches for teaching and learning. Accordingly, the research presented here adopted a pragmatist multi-method approach to scrutinize NST from diverse educational viewpoints. The role of NST in scientific literacy was first explored through a theoretical-analytical study on the content structure, the nature and the implications of NST. Next, a group of secondary school teachers who had attended a course on NST was invited to evaluate the educational significance of the field s contents and their appropriateness for the curriculum. Another survey addressed Finnish science teachers views on barriers that hinder incorporating NST into the curriculum, and facilitators for overcoming these barriers. Specific challenges in learning and communicating NST were investigated through a literature review that was subsequently complemented with an interview study on science centre visitors perspectives on NST. On the basis of all these findings, research-based suggestions were put forth for the planning of NST education both in classrooms and through visits to science exhibitions and industry sites. Both theoretical and empirical analyses identified several content areas as well as social and epistemological aspects of NST that render the field educationally interesting and relevant to scientific literacy. The results imply that, by addressing NST, science education could stimulate dialogue on important contemporary issues in the intersection of science, technology and society, and provide up-to-date views on the nature of science. However, the teachers also pointed out a number of difficulties in arranging instruction on NST in practice. Many of the indicated barriers are extrinsic to teachers and related to curricular constraints in particular. It is concluded that NST would be best incorporated in the curriculum as a transdisciplinary theme. The field has, in addition, a potential to integrate traditional science subjects and approaches by shifting the focus to the scale of natural phenomena. In any case, including NST in science classes also requires in-service teacher training and new resources for materials and equipment. This dissertation highlights the research outcomes that should be taken into account when planning any learning environments on NST. Prior research has identified several challenges in learning and communicating NST, but also effective strategies for supporting the understanding of the nanoscale and its phenomena. The results of the interview study carried out here confirmed earlier findings. For instance, they implied that scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) images, powerful and thus used extensively in nanoscience communication, are liable to cause epistemological misunderstandings. Some of the identified barriers for teaching NST may be circumvented by out-of-school methods. This dissertation suggests research-based models for the development of two specific learning environments: exhibitions in science museums and school group visits to industrial sites. The models strive to bridge the notorious gap between academic research and the development of educational practice. Their application to NST education as well as their broader implications are discussed. Furthermore, some methodological issues are raised because this research also explored the potential of the Model of Educational Reconstruction in informal and out-of-school contexts.Nanotiede ja nanoteknologia (NTT) ovat kehittyneet yhteiskunnallisesti merkittäviksi tutkimuksen ja kehityksen aloiksi, joihin liittyy sekä huomattavia lupauksia että riskejä. Lähitulevaisuudessa kansalaiset tarvitsevat uusia tiedollisia valmiuksia kohdatessaan yhä enemmän nanoteknologiaa arjessaan ja tehdessään päätöksiä henkilökohtaisissa, yhteiskunnallisissa ja globaaleissa kysymyksissä. Tässä väitöstutkimuksessa kartoitettiin tarpeita ja mahdollisuuksia NTT:n tuomiseksi kouluun ja koulun ulkopuolisiin oppimisympäristöihin. Tutkimuksessa nousi esiin useita sisältöalueita ja piirteitä, joiden takia NTT:aa kannattaisi opettaa kaikille. Yläasteella ja lukiossa voitaisiin NTT:n yhteydessä keskustella tärkeistä ajankohtaisista asioista tieteen, teknologian ja yhteiskunnan rajapinnoilla sekä oppia ymmärtämään nykytieteen luonnetta. NTT tarjoaa mahdollisuuksia perinteisten oppiaineiden integraatioon ja uudenlaiseen tiedeopetuksen lähestymistapaan, jossa luonnonilmiöitä tarkastellaan eri kokoluokissa. Opetuksen järjestäminen on kuitenkin haasteellista. Opettajat kokevat suurimmaksi rajoitteeksi opetussuunnitelmien ahtauden. Tarvitaan myös opettajien täydennyskoulutusta ja uusia opetusmateriaaleja. NTT:n kouluopetuksen lisäksi väitöstutkimuksessa tehtiin pohjatyötä koulun ulkopuolisten oppimisympäristöjen kehittämistä varten. Museot, tiedekeskukset ja teollisuusyritykset ovat otollisia ympäristöjä NTT:n esittelemiselle. Väitöskirjassa esitetään mallit tiedenäyttelyjen ja teollisuusyritysvierailujen tutkimusperustaiseen suunnittelemiseen. Menetelmällisenä viitekehyksenä tutkimuksessa sovellettiin opetuksellisen rekonstruktion mallia. Mallissa hyödynnetään sekä teoreettis-analyyttisiä että empiirisiä tiedeopetuksen tutkimuksen menetelmiä. Osatutkimuksissa analysoitiin NTT:n merkitystä ja keskeisiä sisältöalueita, selvitettiin luonnontieteiden opettajien ja tiedekeskusvierailijoiden näkemyksiä NTT:sta sekä eriteltiin näihin aloihin liittyviä opetuksellisia ja viestinnällisiä haasteita

    Luonnontiedekasvatuksen muuttuvat tavoitteet: luonnontieteellisestä lukutaidosta kestävyyskasvatukseen, toimijuuteen ja tulevaisuusajatteluun

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    Globaalit ympäristö- ja kestävyyskriisit muuttavat luonnontiedekasvatuksen tavoitteita, didaktiikkaa ja tutkimusta. Luonnontieteellisen lukutaidon (engl. scientific literacy) merkitys kytketään yhä useammin transformatiiviseen kestävyyskasvatukseen. Siinä ei riitä, että koulussa opitaan luonnontieteen sisältötietoa tai sen käyttämistä arjessa, vaan luonnontiedekasvatuksen pitää lisäksi tukea vastuullista toimijuutta ja arvopohjaista muutosta sekä yksilöissä että yhteiskunnassa. Artikkelissa argumentoidaan, että tulevaisuudentutkimuksen ajattelutapoja hyödyntämällä on mahdollista tukea vaihtoehtojen ja vaikutusmahdollisuuksien näkemistä ja niihin tarttumista. Luonnontieteiden opetus tarjoaa hyvän alustan skenaarioajattelulle, tulevaisuuden epävarmuuden kohtaamiselle ja uudistavan toimijuusorientaation rakentamiselle. Ehdotuksia konkretisoidaan esittelemällä I SEE -projektissa kehitettyä tulevaisuusorientoitunutta luonnontiedeopetusta. Lopuksi pohditaan ehdotusten ajankohtaista merkitystä kestävyysongelmien ja COVID19-pandemiankin aikoina.Global sustainability crises are changing the aims, pedagogies and research in science education. The field is increasingly oriented towards transformative education for sustainable development. School science should now support responsible agency and value-based transformation. This article argues that the thinking in the field of Futures Studies can help students to see alternative futures and take action. Science education provides excellent opportunities for scenario building activities, addressing the uncertainty, and shaping transformative agentic orientations. Future-oriented activities developed in the I SEE project are presented as an example. The suggestions are discussed with relation to the topical sustainability crises and the COVID19 pandemic.Peer reviewe

    Futurising science education: students' experiences from a course on futures thinking and quantum computing

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    To promote students' value-based agency, responsible science and sustainability, science education must address how students think about their personal and collective futures. However, research has shown that young people find it difficult to fully relate to the future and its possibilities, and few studies have focused on the potential of science education to foster futures thinking and agency. We report on a project that further explored this potential by developing future-oriented science courses drawing on the field of futures studies. Phenomenographic analysis was used on interview data to see what changes upper-secondary school students saw in their futures perceptions and agentic orientations after attending a course which adapted futures thinking skills in the context of quantum computing and technological approaches to global problems. The results show students perceiving the future and technological development as more positive but also more unpredictable, seeing their possibilities for agency as clearer and more promising (especially by identifying with their peers or aspired career paths), and feeling a deeper connection to the otherwise vague idea of futures. Students also felt they had learned to question deterministic thinking and to think more creatively about their own lives as well as technological and non-technological solutions to global problems. Both quantum physics and futures thinking opened new perspectives on uncertainty and probabilistic thinking. Our results provide further validation for a future-oriented approach to science education, and highlight essential synergies between futures thinking skills, agency, and authentic socio-scientific issues in developing science education for the current age.Peer reviewe

    Profiling teachers based on their professional attitudes towards teaching responsible research and innovation

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    In order to facilitate policy‚Äźdriven reforms in science education, it is important to understand how teaching innovations diffuse among teachers and how that adoption process can be catalysed. Little is known about the set of attitudes that makes teachers early or late adopters. In this study, the Concerns‚ÄźBased Adoption Model (C‚ÄźBAM) was employed as a framework for analysing teachers‚Äô interests, concerns, worries and enthusiasm. We argue that the questionnaire typically used with C‚ÄźBAM suffers from a ceiling effect and has unbalanced variables. An improved version of the questionnaire was developed and implemented in the project IRRESISTIBLE with 180 science teachers in ten countries at all school levels. The case of educational innovation in this project was Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), a concept offered by the EU for science education to orient towards socially and ethically sensitive and inclusive processes of science and technology. Using cluster analysis we found four concern profile types: the Carefree, the Pragmatic, the Uncertain and the Worried. With their relatively high positive interests, the Carefree and the Pragmatic profile types are most likely to be early adopters. The high number of Uncertain teachers calls for better conceptualization of RRI in the school context. Furthermore, teacher professional development and additional resources are needed if this innovation is to be diffused widely across European schools. The improved questionnaire provided elaborate information on teachers‚Äô concerns and interests, and could help in understanding and facilitating other top‚Äźdown educational reforms as well.Peer reviewe
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