OPEN SCIENCE SCHOOLING – RETHINKING SCIENCE LEARNING
1 University of Eastern Finland (FINLAND)
2 Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University (POLAND)
3 Working with Europe (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:An ongoing trend shows young students in K12 develop resistance towards science learning and science careers. Tackling this issue to bring back the interest and motivation of students in science and technology learning, we present here the progress of the open science schooling project. The project proposes that science-learning processes should be strongly linked to the students’ participation in real-life science challenges in society and to participation in real research and innovation circles. We present here the results of the 1st year deployment of these ideas with students in Poland as well as how this hands-on science learning could further benefit from the integration with digital fabrication and making activities.
Constructivism is based on the proposition that knowledge is generated from the interplay between ideas and experience and on the reflections on this process . This puts the learner in the centre of the learning experience as an active information and knowledge constructor instead of a passive recipient of knowledge. Based on these ideas, Constructionism as an educational theory is inspired by the Constructivist ideas of learning. Hence, Constructionism argues that learning is most effective when people are involved in the making of tangible objects in the real world [2, 3].
In our work, the concept of open science schooling tries to contextualise science meaningfully for students, using experiential learning (ideas of constructivism) and practical, hands-on activities with the aim of building or manipulating actual objects in order to generate knowledge (constructionism). The aim is to bridge science learning and students through the practical identification of science as it is used in the students’ environment (e.g., local community). To achieve this end, open science schooling is envisioned to engage students in real-life science challenges in society and create a solid link between schools and the community. With that in mind, open science schooling engages students into cross-subject immersive mission-style learning activities, so that personalised learning is attainable through a variety of practice-oriented work.
In this paper, we present our development in the deployment of the open science schooling approach to science learning through the preliminary experimentation bringing this concept to the school curriculum in a junior high school in Poland.
As early as a decade ago reports started to show the decline of students’ interest in science and technical subjects in Europe  and elsewhere . An identified problem has been the gap between what is taught in the science and its relevance to students’ lives, which makes their motivation diminish. Key global stakeholders, such as the OECD  and the European Commission , jointly agree that the disengagement in science takes place in secondary school and typically when the students are from 12 to 15 years old, indicating that science resistance is strongly linked to the development of the students’ identity and personality. Therefore, the call is for a re-thinking and development of new science learning didactics. This context brings to live the open science schooling approach, in which science learning processes are strongly linked to the students’ participation in real-life science challenges in society and to participation in real research and innovation circles.
Keywords: K-12 education, pedagogy, hands-on learning.