1 Departamento de Química e Bioquímica, FCUL (PORTUGAL)
2 Unidade de Ciências Químicas e Radiofarmaceuticas, ITN (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4019-4022
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
The disciplines of Physics and Chemistry in Portugal are frequently rejected by the students because of the alleged difficulty of the contents [1]. However, Physics and Chemistry are important disciplines to the construction of the scientific literacy knowledge of students and to their academic path in our technological society.
A study of 2006 [2] intended to analyse the perception both from students and teachers regarding organic chemistry subject in secondary Portuguese school education. It proposes some ways to improve the teaching/learning process in this area of chemistry, but applicable to general science education. Organic chemistry was chosen because this area of chemistry is undervalued in the teaching programmes proposed by the Portuguese Ministry of Education although being quite important in the every day life.
More than a simple analysis of the actual situation of the organic chemistry taught in secondary school, the study is a developing curricular project aimed to several persons: those from the Ministry of Education responsible for the elaboration and revision of the curricular programmes; authors of textbooks who use the programmes as a guideline to develop material supporting the teaching/learning process, and teachers of the secondary schools who shall provide to the students the necessary reasoning and promote the scientific literacy regarding the learning of organic chemistry.
The results of this study, point out the need of intervention regarding the amendment of the curricular programmes and textbooks in the secondary school in the educational areas in question. Moreover, the initial and continuous formation of the teachers at this level is a key point. For such, it is necessary to adopt teaching methodologies to new learning requirements regarding Science, Technology, and Environment and their inter-relations with the Society of Information we are living in nowadays [3]. Diversify classes with a greater laboratorial component and take advantage of the communication technologies available could be the solution. Like that, students are expected to apply their knowledge of scientific evidence to their decision-making, regardless of the action they choose to take.
Next step will be the production of pedagogical materials using new technologies of communication and information like online virtual laboratories, virtual learning environments, e-learning projects and experiences, computer software education, videos for learning, digital libraries or repositories, and e-portfolios in order to increase students motivation and interest in science, connecting the scientific knowledge with the day life, starting in primary school.
In a preliminary study we start working in a project, called eLab, which uses online virtual laboratories. The main advantage of an online virtual laboratory is the use by schools that doesn’t have other possibilities to achieve experimental work with students. Till now, the students interest to learn using eLab is clearly strong.

[1] Paiva, J. O fascínio de ser professor. Lisboa: Texto Editores, 2007.
[2] Leal, S. C. A química orgânica no ensino secundário: percepções e propostas. MsC. Thesis. Aveiro: Universidade de Aveiro, 2006.
[3] SEPUP. Science Education for Public Understanding Program. Recovered in 2008, August 21, of
innovation, technology, teaching/learning, science, motivation.