ONDAS - Colombia From the school to the world: How science fairs can become a rich learning space for students and teachers.
Your Name and Title:
Catalina Valenzuela - Volunteer Advisor
Ondas - Colciencias
Colombian National Agency of Sciences, Technology and Innovation
School or Organization Name:
Programa Ondas – Colciencias Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación
María Elena Manjarrés _ National Director of Ondas Program
Colciencias Colombian National Agency of Sciences, Technology and Innovation
Area of the World from Which You Will Present:
Colombia - USA
Language in Which You Will Present:
Teachers/practitioners - Policy makers
Short Session Description (one line):
From the school to the world: How science fairs can become a rich learning space for students and teachers.
Full Session Description (as long as you would like)
Ondas is the Colombian public strategy to promote a citizenship culture in science, technology and innovation in children and young people accompanied by their teachers through Research as a Pedagogical Tool. During this process students generate their own research questions to solve the problems of their own contexts. It enhances the development of communication and learning abilities to be able to navigate in a world that is constantly changing.
The learning process in Ondas aims at the promotion of wonder capacity, observation training and the register of what is observed, the improvement of communication skills and the development of thinking skills.
This case study will show how from day one participants in Ondas program have the opportunity to understand sciences as scientists do. Through eight steps, students formulate a research question passing by the presentation of their research results at national and international science fairs and the establishment of knowledge communities.
However Ondas is more ambitious. It has an imbedded teachers training program that goes hand in with the development of the students’ research project. More importantly, teachers also reflect on collected data, their practice and the program to feedback them through dissemination events.
The case study will also highlight the role of the teacher as companion co researcher and as companion researcher. It will show the teacher’s process in both roles and how this dual role has helped improve his/her practice.
Ondas students, teachers and policy makers are actively involved in participating in national and international events because disseminating the knowledge is a key function of the scientific process and a key step of the program itself. No sciences teaching and learning can truly happen if those involved are not able to share their discoveries and the challenges to answer the research questions. Therefore sciences fairs at school, local, regional, national and international levels become the scenarios to be able to present and discuss findings.
This exchange also enhances the learners ability to communicate with others, to teach others what may be unknown. It provides the adequate spaces to realize that learning (and teaching) is a collaborative social process. Moreover, this process helps the students to reaffirm their own identities and self perception. It places the students in a context where they are also recognized as someone who can also contribute to society.
Ondas allows knowledge production through a systematic recording process that provides a rich data base of events, facts, challenges, feelings and thoughts. Through that process Ondas teachers are able to create knowledge through the use of qualitative data about science teaching and its practice and to construct pedagogical proposals to improve their own practicers.
It supports and helps teachers to be able to disseminate their own research by providing spaces such as workshops and conferences. Ondas also aims at allowing teachers to share and understand the challenges of science teaching and learning.
As a result, Ondas teachers have been nominated to Compartir prize (a Colombian prize for outstanding teachers, nominated by the community) in several occasions wining the price of most outstanding teacher in 2010.
Ondas projects have participated in the Colombian national technology and sciences fairs Expociencia in 2005, 2006 and 2009. In 2009 with147 research groups from all over the country.
Moreover, in 2008 , Ondas won the UNESCO - RedpPop prize for sciences popularization as a recognition of its effort to make sciences teaching and learning close to the concerns of teachers and students. It has also received several local prizes for its contribution to enhance sciences teaching and learning.
Ondas is also part of the several international networks that promote the popularization of science teaching and learning, such as Unesco Innovations network, Pentic Network and it is a permanent member of RedPop, the Latin American Network for the popularization of science.
At Ondas, we believe that sciences teaching and learning provides a framework to enhance sciences understanding. But Ondas goes beyond the merely academic, Ondas provides a framework for teachers to become better practitioners and for students to be better citizens of the world.
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