INNOVATIVE LEARNING METHODOLOGIES FOR THE STUDIES ON FORENSIC SCIENCES
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Studies on Forensic Sciences, particularly Forensic Chemistry, have been traditionally suffering of lack of space in many Chemistry studies, both at the Degree and Master/Bachelor levels. The University of Alicante (UA) offers this optional subject to Chemistry Degree students in their fourth year when they have been already trained in many analytical and instrumental skills. However, these students show some lack of previous knowledge in the basis of Forensic Sciences although they show great interest in the resolution of practical cases, joining all the theoretical and practical background in Analytical Chemistry and the main concepts in Forensic Chemistry for such purpose.
The development of new methodologies for the learning/teaching process is broadly accepted as a direct way to improve student’s skills while permitting teachers to widen possibilities to offer students a different learning framework. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have resulted in adequate tools for this purpose (Alejandre Marco, 2018) and their application to Forensic Sciences has been recently reported (Dror, 2018). In this study we propose the use of innovative tools to increase student’s competencies while getting the most important theoretical contents of Forensic Chemistry. The proposed methodologies are based on the use of interactive games where students should answer a series of questions related to Forensic Sciences through the KAHOOT platform (https://kahoot.com/), where questions raise sequentially and students should answer them by using their own mobile devices. Additionally, a series of practical cases are suggested to students to allow them the implementation of theoretical concepts into practice. This methodology is based on the creation of small teams of students where each student plays a different role working in collaboration in an Aronson puzzle strategy to solve the case study; including the formulation of an initial hypothesis and the preparation of a short report with their main findings to be further discussed in the classroom with all students and teachers.
On the other hand, laboratory tools have been developed to improve teamwork and collaborative competencies as well as to create a practical “forensic simulated scenario”. In this group dynamics, students work in small groups to study the “simulated crime scene” by using different analytical techniques to obtain laboratory results to be further put in common with all other groups to get the necessary data to draw the hypothesis for the case solution. Students should also use specialized web sites, social networks, interactive programs and other on-line tools to get their conclusions. A collaborative interaction between groups of students was observed and they showed a very positive attitude to these learning methodologies to permit the acquisition of the necessary concepts in Forensic Science.
In summary, innovative methodologies with the use of ICTs and presentation of practical cases to be solved by students either in the classroom and laboratory can be considered as adequate tools to train undergraduates in getting competencies in Forensic Sciences. Results have shown that most of the students participated actively in these activities, resulting in groups of highly motivated individuals with a clear picture of their goals and tangible evidence of their achievements.
Keywords: Forensic sciences, gamification, team work, ICTs, competition.