ICT (3)From 10/2008 to 10/2010
Staff: Gabriele Abraham, geb. Fröhlich
Originally developed at CERN as a tool to help scientists share information, the world wide web continues to be an important mode of communication for scientific inquiry. Rich science databases in a variety of fields are publicly available, and can provide a catalyst for learning. Schools, universities and science centres can act as mediators, organising information – tailored to the needs of their communities – across scientific disciplines and providing tools for understanding complex scientific research, making science understandable and interesting to the public. Bringing together expertise from frontier scientific research and educational research in formal and informal science learning, along with user communities across Europe, the LA@CERN (Learning with ATLAS@CERN) consortium will design, develop, test, implement and disseminate an innovative pedagogical framework that will support the creation of effective “dialogue” between scientific research and communities, at the moment that the new gigantic detector ATLAS is starting operation at CERN (August 2008), to explore the fundamental building blocks and forces of nature, and to probe deeper into matter than ever before. The project proposes a reversal of science teaching pedagogy from mainly deductive to inquiry-based approach that provides the means to increase interest in science. The proposed approach emphasizes curiosity and observations followed by problem solving and experimentation in both real and virtual settings. These pedagogical concepts and learning practices would be addressed by implementing a set of missions (learning scenarios) tailored to the needs of the diverse groups of learners, employing advanced and interactive visualization technologies and also personalised ubiquitous learning paradigms in order to enhance the effectiveness and quality of the learning process. In the framework of these missions, users will be able to use a series of educational analysis tools that allow them to manipulate data and make their own discoveries. A web based educational environment will be developed to facilitate the proposed process. The LA@CERN educational environment will provide access to near real-time data and interactive analysis tools, 3D and 2D animations of physical processes in a game-like approach, teacher-resources, student-centred materials, applications for educational projects and collaborative activities. Most of these resources already exist; in the framework of the project the consortium proposes value-added services to increase the utility of existing programs through integration, coordination and, where appropriate, archiving. The project will pilot and demonstrate the LA@CERN approach in schools, universities and science centers in Greece, Finland, Sweden, Austria, UK and at CERN and through a systematic validation process it will try to develop a structured set of guidelines and recommendations on how effective collaboration between researchers and the educational sector (formal and informal) could create valuable and meaningful learning experiences for all, fostering exploration, discovery, curiosity and collaboration. The whole process of the project will be documented in the main outcome of the project, the LA@CERN Guide of Good Practice. The guide will emphasize on a new way of learning about science that reflects how science itself is done, on inquiry as a way of achieving knowledge and understanding about the world.